A tiny soundbite of heaven
The Sixteen is recognised as one of the world’s greatest ensembles. Comprising both choir and period-instrument orchestra, The Sixteen’s total commitment to the music it performs is its greatest distinction. A special reputation for performing early English polyphony and masterpieces of the Renaissance, bringing fresh insights into Baroque and early Classical music and a diversity of 20th- and 21st-century music, is drawn from the passions of Founder and Conductor Harry Christophers CBE.
At home in the UK The Sixteen are ‘The Voices of Classic FM’, Associate Artists of The Bridgewater Hall, Artistic Associates of Kings Place, and have a 2016-2017 Artist Residency at Wigmore Hall. The group promotes the Choral Pilgrimage, an annual tour of the UK’s finest cathedrals, which aims to bring music back to the buildings for which it was written. The Sixteen features in the highly successful BBC television series Sacred Music, presented by actor Simon Russell Beale – the latest hour-long programme entitled Monteverdi in Mantua: The Genius of the Vespers was aired in April 2015.
The Sixteen tours throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas and has given regular performances at major concert halls and festivals worldwide, including the Barbican (London), The Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), Cité de la musique (Paris), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) and Sydney Opera House. Festival appearances include the BBC Proms, Hong Kong, Wellington, Granada, Lucerne, Edinburgh, Istanbul, Prague, Bremen, La Chaise-Dieu and Salzburg.
The Sixteen’s period-instrument orchestra has taken part in acclaimed semi-staged performances of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen in Tel Aviv and London, a fully staged production of Purcell’s King Arthur in Lisbon’s Belém Centre, and new productions of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse at Lisbon Opera House and The Coronation of Poppea at English National Opera.
Over 140 recordings reflect The Sixteen’s quality in a range of work spanning the music of 500 years, winning many awards including the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music and the prestigious Classical Brit Award for Renaissance, which was recorded as part of the group’s contract with Universal Classics and Jazz. In 2009 The Sixteen was given the accolade of Classic FM Gramophone Artist of the Year as well as Best Baroque Vocal for its recording of Handel’s Coronation Anthems.
Since 2001 The Sixteen has been building its own record label, CORO, which has released 142 titles to date. Recent releases include The Deer’s Cry featuring music by William Byrd and Arvo Pärt which will accompany the Choral Pilgrimage 2016, Purcell’s The Indian Queen and Poetry in Music, a programme that encapsulates the fascinating collaboration between poet and composer.
In 2011 the group launched Genesis Sixteen, a new training programme for young singers. Aimed at 18- to 23-year-olds, this is the UK’s first fully funded choral programme for young singers designed specifically to bridge the gap from student to professional practitioner.