May 1st, 2009 sees the launch of the eagerly awaited Retrospect Ensemble, the new identity of the leading period instrument orchestra and choir previously known as The King’s Consort.
The King’s Consort presented an adventurous variety of repertoire since its formation in 1980 by Robert King. It toured in five continents and appeared in almost every European country, in Japan, Hong Kong and the Far East, as well as in North and South America. Its ninety-five highly-acclaimed recordings with Hyperion have won many international awards and sold over one million copies.
Matthew Halls was appointed Associate Director of The King’s Consort in 2005 and Artistic Director in 2007. Under his direction the ensemble has continued an extensive touring programme, and produced the world premiere recording of Georg Frideric Handel's Parnasso in Festa which received critical acclaim.
Now, under its new name, Retrospect Ensemble intends to take its musicians and audiences on a fresh journey - exploring the repertoire of four centuries, embracing the practices, styles and aesthetics of former ages with renewed vigour and a fresh approach. The choice of name ensures that the group will not be identified with one particular area of music or historical period, an approach typical of the ensemble's inquisitive and energetic musicians.
Following its debut concert at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival - appropriately a festival with a long established reputation for early performances of Handel oratorio - the Ensemble's engagements include a concert of J.S. Bach's Cantatas at the Edinburgh International Festival with Carolyn Sampson, performances of an all-Vivaldi programme with Robin Blaze at the Chelsea Festival and, further afield, tours to Korea, Israel, Portugal and Switzerland.
The arrival of Retrospect Ensemble has been warmly received by the British music establishment. Forming the backbone of Retrospect’s UK concert season will be a series at Wigmore Hall--in 2009-2010 this will include performances of G.F. Handel's Apollo e Dafne, a programme of J.S. Bach's Cantatas with Robin Blaze and a performance of Purcell's Fairy Queen featuring Retrospect's important Young Artist Programme.
Retrospect Ensemble has signed an arrangement with Linn Records to bring its performances to a worldwide audience. The first recording under this new arrangement is by Retrospect Trio - a chamber group formed under the umbrella of the Retrospect Ensemble in order to focus specifically on the rich and varied 17th/18th century trio sonata repertoire. The Ensemble will be announcing further exciting recording plans in the near future - more information about Retrospect Trio.