Armonico Consort is a British company founded in 2001 by conductor and organist Christopher Monks. Armonico Consort is the largest arts organisation of its type in the UK, with its choir, orchestra and opera company performing unique programmes and finding new ways to bring classical music to modern audiences through projects such as Supersize Polyphony, Naked Byrd, Too Hot to Handel, Baroque Around the Block and Monteverdi’s Flying Circus (written by Kit Hesketh Harvey).
The group prides itself on working with only the finest talent, and its original (and occasionally unusual) approach to performing almost 50 concerts every year has earned it two 5 star reviews in The Times and The Independent in the last year.
The proudest achievement of Armonico Consort in the last 12 years is the foundation of AC Academy - a fully accessible and interactive education programme which has benefited over 100,000 young people, and currently sees over 800 children sing in an AC Academy Choir every week across the UK. The specialist leaders of AC Academy now work in partnership with the Royal Albert Hall, in a relationship which saw almost 1,500AC Academy members perform in a gala concert in March 2013. In projects which see teachers trained as choir leaders, and choir creation programmes in school - the intention of AC Academy is to create new choirs with sustainable leadership consisting of over 50,000 over the next 5 years.
In its first 12 years, the achievements of Armonico Consort have been stratospheric - and highlights have included: Magic Flute at the Barbican in London, Antonio Vivaldi’s Violin Concertos at the Hampton Court Palace Festival with Nicola Benedetti, Carmina Burana at the RSC new Theatre with 350 AC Academy children, and amongst the many inspirational names to have worked with the group are Jeremy Irons, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Willard White, Dame Emma Kirkby, Russell Watson and Dame Evelyn Glennie – the final four also being artistic patrons of Armonico Consort.
Future plans of Armonico Consort include a tour of J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with Sir Willard White in 2014, the continued tour of their recent recording with Elin Manahan Thomas including the group’s debut at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, a concert version of Magic Flute at Warwick Castle, a week run of Too Hot to Handel at Windsor Theatre Royal and a new debut recording of folk song arrangements ‘Greensleeves - That’s All Folks’.
Armonico Consort is grateful to many funders for making these ventures possible. Arts Council England, Youth Music and many regional authorities across the UK are just some of the statutory funders who invest in our work. The considerable achievements however would not be possible without the generous support of many charitable trusts, businesses and private individuals we are enormously grateful to all of them.