UNCG Campus Weekly

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Renaissance Music Masters the Tallis Scholars

031611EyeOnArts_TallisScholarsThe Tallis Scholars, a British vocal ensemble recognized worldwide for their performances of Renaissance sacred music, will sing in Greensboro Tuesday, March 29.

The performance is part of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance’s University Concert and Lecture Series “Spotlight on the Performing Arts.”

Curtain time will be 8 p.m. in First Presbyterian Church, 617 N. Elm Street in Greensboro. Seating is general admission and tickets cost $30, through the UNCG Box Office at 336-334-4849, boxoffice.uncg.edu.

Founded in 1973 by their director Peter Phillips, the Tallis Scholars specialize in a cappella performances of sacred vocal music written during the Renaissance by composers from all over Europe. They are currently recognized as one of the world-leaders in this field, having risen to a place of prominence among other professional ensembles.

They record on their own label, Gimell Records, which has world-wide distribution and some 50 releases, covering a repertoire from 1450-1600 AD in music history. They tour widely, including to America at least twice a year and Japan at least once every two years. The Scholars have paved the way for many younger groups such as The Sixteen, The Cardinall’s Musick, The Clerks, The Binchois Consort, Trinity Baroque and the Gabrieli Consort.

Members of the group also have scholarly interests. Phillips has published a scholarly text, “English Sacred Music 1549-1649.” Sally Dunkley, Francis Steele and Deborah Roberts are music editors and publishers with interests spanning the Renaissance and early Baroque. Andrew Gant is also organist at the Chapel Royal.

In 2000, the group established the Tallis Scholars Summer Schools, a program providing amateur singers and promising young professionals the opportunity to be coached by Phillips and other members of the ensemble. The program now includes three courses which take place in Seattle, Wash., the United Kingdom and Australia.

The Tallis Scholars perform in both sacred and secular venues, giving around 70 concerts each year across the globe. In 2011 the group will return to Japan and Australia. The Tallis Scholars team up with the National Centre for Early Music and the BBC in a now annual nation-wide composition competition, designed to encourage young people to write for unaccompanied voices.

The group is named for English composer Thomas Tallis (1505-1585), who flourished as a church musician in 16th century Tudor England. He occupies a primary place in anthologies of English church music, and is considered among the best of England’s early composers.

By Steve Gilliam