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Holst Singers (Choir)

Founded: 1978 - England

The Holst Singers were founded un 1978 by Hilary Davan Wetton. In 1993 they appointed Stephen Layton as the Musical Director. The Holst Singers are one of Britain's foremost choirs, described by the BBC as "a leading chorus on the international stage". Based in London, in addition to their busy concert diary they frequently broadcast on Classic FM and BBC Radio 3, and regularly record for leading classical labels. With the support of their President, James Bowman, and Musical Director, Stephen Layton, the choir has developed an interest in exploring new and neglected works as well as core choral repertoire. In concert the choir is renowned for dramatic and engaging performances, described by The Times as “interactive concert-going at its most revelatory”.

Recent CD releases include “A Ceremony of Carols & Saint Nicolas” with Allan Clayton, City of London Sinfonia, and the Trinity College Choir of Cambridge; and “Ikon II”, the long awaited sequel to “Ikon” (1997), a disc that immediately became a cult classic and a best-seller. “Ikon II” brings together a selection of Russian choral masterpieces in an extraordinary disc which is immediately enthralling. Recently reviewed on BBC Radio 3 Record Review, the disc was described as "impeccable... so, so well-conceived" and Jeremy Summerly, the guest-reviewer, commented on the choir's "phenomenal sound".

Other notable recordings include “Veljo Tormis” (Hyperion); “The Tavener Collection” (Decca) - which followed the critically acclaimed performances of which the Times commented "I don't think I shall hear singing this year more thrilling"; Schnittke's Choir Concerto (Hyperion); Ikon - including music by Arvo Pärt, Sviridov, Gorecki and Tchaikovsky; Gretchaninov's Vespers; and Over Hill, Over Dale - Vaughan Williams’ settings of Shakespeare songs and English folk songs (all Hyperion).

Recent concert highlights include the Scott Centenary Concert Tour with the City of London Sinfonia; performances celebrating Gabrieli’s 400th anniversary at Temple Church and Trinity College, Cambridge; collaboration with Imogen Heap on her highly acclaimed soundtrack to The Seashell and the Clergyman; and performances in the CLoSer concert series at Village Underground and the Reverb Festival at the Roundhouse. Recent touring includes Santiago da Compostela with the Hilliard Ensemble in Easter 2011 and Estonia in 2009. Future engagements include Christmas concerts in Cambridge and London; Francis Poulenc, Benjamin Britten and Esenvalds in March 2013; and Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and F. Poulenc’s Gloria with City of London Sinfonia at the Cheltenham Festival in July 2013.

"The Holst Singers sing with a spellbinding sense of atmosphere and crystal-clear textures . . . supremely musical" - BBC Music Magazine

Source: Holst Singers Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (February 2013)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Stephen Layton


Knut Nystedt: Immortal Bach (Sacred Song Komm, süsser Tod, BWV 478)

Links to other Sites

Holst Singers (Official Website)


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Last update: ýFebruary 28, 2013 ý20:48:29