Diva Opera

Now in its 23rd year, Diva Opera has earned an unrivalled reputation within the operatic world and beyond. Giving around 40 performances annually, they are now ambassadors for chamber opera internationally. Their acclaimed productions tour throughout the United Kingdom and Europe and have been seen as far afield as Slovenia, Russia, Japan and South Africa. All works are presented in spectacular period costume and sung in their original language. For 2019 Diva Opera’s two new productions are Madama Butterfly (Puccini) and L’italiana in Algeri (Rossini), along with an increasingly popular Christmas Show in December.

Highlights for the company include a performance of La Cenerentola at La Fenice Opera House in Venice in 2004, A series of performances with the internationally renowned tenor José Carreras, The party scene from Die Fledermaus at the Royal Albert Hall, with José Carreras and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as special guests and a charity gala at the Prime Minister’s residence Chequers.

Calmus Ensemble

A perfect blend of sound, precision, lightness and wit. These are the hallmarks of Calmus, now one of the most successful vocal groups in Germany. The ensemble has forged a refined sound which few groups achieve. The wide range of sound colors, the joy in performing that musicians convey on the concert platform, and their varied and imaginative programs are praised by the press time and time again. These five Leipzig musicians have won a whole string of international prizes and competitions, including the ECHO Klassik and Supersonic Award, and the reach of their activities is constantly expanding, taking them throughout Europe as well as to North and South America. In 2010 the quintet made its debut at Carnegie Hall, New York.

The musicians are tireless in their quest to discover new repertoire. Shaped by the centuries-old tradition of great German boys’ choirs, they are naturally at home in the vocal music of the Renaissance, the Baroque and the Romantic. The music of our own time is also a real passion. In all their ventures, there are frequently interesting partnerships with musicians such as the Lautten Compagney Berlin, the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, Hamburger Ratsmusik and the Frankfurt Radio Bigband. As this often means totally new repertoire in the area of contemporary music, over the years Calmus has commissioned numerous new works from composers including Bernd Franke, Steffen Schleiermacher, Wolfram Buchenberg, Mathew Rosenblum, Bill Dobbins, Michael Denhoff and Harald Banter, and the group has given many world premieres. It goes without saying that they revel in singing pop, folk and jazz, as well as chansons and golden oldies from the 1920s.

Part of their work is devoted to encouraging the up-and-coming generation, so teaching and workshops are part of their regular schedule, both at home in Leipzig and on their travels. It’s no wonder that Calmus, with its unique line-up of soprano, countertenor, tenor, baritone and bass, is gaining more and more fans worldwide.

Barbara Hendricks

Barbara Hendricks was born in Arkansas, USA and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Chemistry at the University of Lincoln, NE at the age of 20. She later studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York with Jennie Tourel. In 1974 she made her operatic debut at the San Francisco Opera and the Glyndebourne Festival as well as her recital debut in New York City’s Town Hall.

Since that moment, Barbara Hendricks’ career and artistry has never ceased to grow and she has become one of the world’s most loved and admired musicians. She has sung on all the major opera stages in the world including the Paris Opera, the MET in New York, Covent Garden in London and La Scala in Milano. She has sung under the direction of the greatest conductors of our time such as Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Karl Böhm, Sir Colin Davis, Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Herbert von Karajan, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Sir Georg Solti. She has always performed recitals with pianists such as Dmitri Alexeev, Michel Béroff, Yefim Bronfman, Michel Dalberto, Love Derwinger, Youri Egorov, Ralf Gothoni, Radu Lupu, Maria Joao Pires, Roland Pöntinen, Andras Schiff and Peter Serkin.

She has been acclaimed as one of the most active recitalists of her generation and in addition to her vast repertoire of German Lieder she is also known as a leading interpreter and staunch promoter of French, American and Scandinavian music. Barbara Hendricks also made numerous world creations of composers such as Gilbert Amy, David Del Tredici, Tobias Picker, Mari Takano, Bruno Mantovani, Krzysztof Penderecki, Arvo Pärt and Sven-David Sandström, and most recently in 2004 in Paris, the role of The Angel in Peter Eötvös’opera Angels in America.

She made her jazz debut at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1994 and has since then performed regularly in renowned jazz festivals throughout the world with the Magnus Lindgren Quartet. She is still very active, performing orchestra, chamber music, recitals and jazz concerts.

She starred as Mimi in the film La Bohème, directed by Luigi Comencini and Anne Truelove in 1994 in an international prize-winning film production of The Rake’s Progress conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. She was a member of the jury at the International Film Festival in Cannes 1999, presided by David Cronenberg.

Barbara Hendricks is one of today’s best-selling recording artists and has made more than 100 recordings for Sony, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Philips, Erato and EMI. From 1983 to 2004 she made nearly 50 recordings exclusively for EMI Classics. In 2006, she launched her own record label, Arte Verum, for which she is now recording exclusively. Her memoirs, Lifting My Voice, have been published in 2014 by Chicago Review Press, and translated in French, Spanish and Swedish.

After nearly 20 years of untiring service to the cause of refugees in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency she has been named the only Honorary Ambassador for Life by the UNHCR and is given special tasks that demand her long unparalleled experience and commitment. At the end of 1991 and 1993, she gave two solidarity concerts in war-ridden former Yugoslavia (Dubrovnik and Sarajevo). In 1998 she founded the Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation to personalise her struggle for the prevention of conflicts in the world and to facilitate reconciliation and enduring peace where conflicts have already occurred.

Barbara Hendricks has received numerous awards for her artistic achievements and humanitarian work: Doctor Honoris Causa from the Universities of Louvain (Belgium) and Grenoble (France), Doctor in Law from the University of Dundee (Scotland), Doctor of Music from the Nebraska Wesleyan University, Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and Honorary Doctor of Music from the Juilliard School of Music in New York. She is a Member of the Swedish Academy of Music, was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award (Spain), was made “Commandeur des Arts et Lettres” by the French Government and was awarded the rank of “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur” by François Mitterrand.

She has lived in Europe since 1977, is a Swedish citizen, she and her husband are the proud parents of three children.

VOCES8

The British vocal ensemble VOCES8 is proud to inspire people through music and share the joy of singing. Touring globally, the group performs an extensive repertory both in its a cappella concerts and in collaborations with leading orchestras, conductors and soloists. Versatility and a celebration of diverse musical expression are central to the ensemble’s performance and education ethos.

VOCES8 has performed at many notable venues including Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Elbphilharmonie, Cité de la Musique, Vienna Konzerthaus, Tokyo Opera City, NCPA Beijing, Sydney Opera House, Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall, Victoria Concert Hall Singapore, Palacio de Bellas Artes Mexico City and many others. As the group celebrates its 15th season they will perform in fourteen countries in the UK and across Europe, in Russia, in the USA and Japan, as well as make its debut visit to New Zealand. Keen musical collaborators, this season will see concerts with the Academy of Ancient Music, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and with baroque violinist Rachel Podger, with whom the critically acclaimed ‘Guardian Angel’ project will continue.

With an on-going programme of recordings, videos and live broadcasts, VOCES8 is heard regularly on albums, international television and radio, as well as maintaining a vibrant web performance presence. The ensemble is a Decca Classics artist and has released acclaimed recordings that have all reached the top of the classical charts. Their latest release is ‘Enchanted Isle’, released in January 2019. This season sees planned releases with Decca Classics as well as a series of 4 EP releases joining together into an album called ‘After Silence’ on the group’s own label.

VOCES8 is passionate about music education and is the flagship ensemble of the music charity the VOCES8 Foundation. Engaging in a broad range of outreach work that reaches up to 40,000 people a year, the group runs an annual programme of workshops and masterclasses at the Foundation’s home in London, the VOCES8 Centre at St Anne & St Agnes Church. Dedicated to supporting promising young singers, the group awards eight annual choral scholarships through the VOCES8 Scholars initiative. These scholarships are linked to the annual Milton Abbey Summer School at which amateur singers of all ages are invited to work and perform with VOCES8. Through the separate VOCES8 USA Foundation there is another set of 8 talented Scholars. The ensemble is proud to be the Associate Ensemble for Cambridge University and delivers a Masters programme in choral studies.

VOCES8 has premiered commissions from Jonathan Dove, Roxanna Panufnik, Alexander Levine, Alec Roth, Ben Parry, Ola Gjeilo, Philip Stopford, Graham Lack, Thomas Hewitt Jones and Owain Park. 2019 will see Roxanna Panufnik as the group’s Composer-in-Residence, and Jim Clements as Arranger-in-Residence. As ambassadors for Edition Peters the ensemble publishes educational material including the ‘VOCES8 Method’. Developed by Paul Smith, co-founder of VOCES8, this renowned and unique teaching tool is available in four languages and adopts music to enhance development in numeracy, literacy and linguistics. Also available are two anthologies of its arrangements, and an ever-expanding ‘VOCES8 Singles’ range.

For more information about the music education programmes offered by VOCES8 and the VOCES8 Foundation please visit www.voces8.foundation.

APOLLO5

The international award-winning British vocal ensemble Apollo5 delights audiences with versatile and engaging performances on the concert platform, singing repertoire ranging from renaissance, classical and contemporary choral music to folk, jazz and pop.

Frequently performing in their home city of London they have sung in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Kings Place (London A Cappella Festival), the Barbican, the Houses of Parliament and Wembley Arena. They regularly give concerts at their home in the heart of the City of London, the Gresham Centre.

As well as concerts across the UK Apollo5 has enjoyed giving performances internationally. Last season the five outstanding vocalists undertook a month-long debut tour of the USA and in 2016 they made their south Asian debut, taking part in the Taipei International Choral Festival. Over the last two years they have given performances in Italy, Germany, Holland and France. This season includes international performances in France (Via Aeterna Music Festival), Poland (for La Folle Journée) and a collaboration with the Academy of Ancient Music.

Apollo5 is part of the VCM Foundation, and leads its innovative education programme aiming to inspire creativity through music. Working alongside vocal ensemble VOCES8 and Paul Smith the programme reaches 40,000 young people annually in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, the USA and Asia. The Foundation has its home at the Gresham Centre, at St Anne and St Agnes Church. In partnership with the Diocese of London, VCM has established a hub for excellence in education, outreach and the performance of vocal music. Last season saw the first Gresham Centre Festival in which the group performed with VOCES8 and the VOCES8 Scholars.

Apollo5 leads regular workshops, masterclasses, and a children’s concert series at the Gresham Centre, as well as longer term projects and residency programmes. The group oversees an extensive outreach project called the Open Mind Programme in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham. Now in its third year, the Open Mind Programme has received support from Arts Council England, The Merchant Taylors’ Company and the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers. The education programme is also supported by Holman Fenwick Willan and the Ernest Cook Trust.

Apollo5 has released albums with VCM Records, including “The Spirit Like a Dove”, music by Josquin des Prez performed with the Ingenium Ensemble which was Number 4 in the UK Classical Chart, and “With a Song in my Heart”, an album of folk, jazz and pop. Also released is “Journey” on the Edition Peters Sounds label featuring the group with former King’s Singer Paul Phoenix. A new album of music which explores the human journey through birth, love, struggle, the end of life and reflection will be released during the 2019 season. The disc is entitled “O Radiant Dawn”.

Apollo5 will start to publish its musical arrangements with Edition Peters this year.

For more information about the music education programmes offered by Apollo5 and VCM Foundation please visit www.vcm.foundation or email info@vcm.foundation.

www.apollo5.co.uk

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