The Tallis Scholars celebrate 40th anniversary in St Paul’s Cathedral

Charlotte Smith28th Nov 2012
The Tallis Scholars celebrate 40th anniversary in St Paul’s CathedralThe Tallis Scholars celebrate their 40th anniversary next year (photo: Eric Richmond)

The Tallis Scholars are to celebrate four decades of music making next year with a special concert in St Paul’s Cathedral to launch their 40th Anniversary World Tour. Founded by director Peter Phillips in 1973, the Renaissance vocal ensemble have found particular success in recent months with their recording of Thomas Tallis’s 40-part Spem in alium. The work has topped classical charts worldwide due to phenomenal sales of EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey novel, which features the composition.

The St Paul’s concert will take place on March 7, 2013 and include a live performance of Spem in alium, alongside Arvo Pärt’s Nunc Dimittis, William Byrd's Tribue Domine and Allegri’s Miserere. Also featured will be world premieres of works written especially for the anniversary tour by Eric Whitacre and Gabriel Jackson, and the London premiere of Robin Walker’s 40-part tribute to Spem in alium, I have thee by the hand O Man, written 10 years ago for the ensemble to perform in Manchester. 

‘I am delighted that Spem in alium has found such a large new audience and that this 40-part tour de force will feature in our 40th anniversary celebrations,’ said Peter Phillips. ‘It is one of the most remarkable achievements of the human mind, an extraordinary and moving piece written over 400 years ago for 40 individual singers. After performing Spem in alium for nearly 40 years I still cannot conceive how Tallis set about writing it. For me it confirms him as England's greatest composer.’

The Tallis Scholars will tour to the USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and many festivals and concerts across Europe next year. They will mark the exact anniversary of their first performance with a concert in Canterbury Cathedral on November 3. For full details of their performance in St Paul’s Cathedral visit the Barbican website.

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