Hilliards to hang up vocal cords after 40th anniversary tour

Founding and former members join with current line-up for a final hurrah in 2014.

The Hilliard Ensemble are to launch their 40th anniversary season with a special reunion concert at the Spitalfields Music Winter Festival on December 11 – four decades to the day since their debut concert in 1973. The British vocal quartet – comprising countertenor David James, tenor Rogers Covey-Crump, baritone Gordon Jones and tenor Steven Harrold – will come together with original founding members tenor Paul Elliott and bass Errol Girdlestone, plus early members John Leigh-Nixon and John Potter to perform works by Byrd and Britten, and the premiere of a new work, Poor Yorick, specially commissioned from composer Roger Marsh for eight voices.

"As well as all the music that we have discovered and enjoyed performing over the years, we want to embrace the important relationships and people that have contributed to some of the remarkable landmarks and turning points in our career," said founding member David James.

The group’s 2014 season will include performances in Australia (including The Sydney Festival in January), America, Canada, Italy, France, Hungary, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and the UK. Programmes will continue to incorporate a mixture of old and new, sacred and secular music - from Renaissance and medieval to contemporary repertoire forged through the group’s relationships with such composers as Gavin Bryars, Unsuk Chin, Heinz Holliger, James MacMillan, Nico Muhly and Wolfgang Rihm. The ensemble will also team with saxophonist Jan Garbarek, who has a long history with the Hilliards, and perform a number of works by Arvo Pärt, which have been of particular significance throughout the group’s recorded and performing history.

ECM will launch the Hilliard’s 40th anniversary season with the release in November 2013 of new album Il Cor Tristo, which includes a premiere by Roger Marsh alongside madrigals by 16th-century composers Bernardo Pisano and Jacques Arcadelt. The Hilliards have released more than 30 albums on the ECM label.

The Hilliard Ensemble's final concert will be on December 20, 2014 in London, after which they will retire.

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Hilliards to hang up vocal cords after 40th anniversary tour
The Hilliard Ensemble will celebrate their 40th anniversary season next year (photo: Marco Borggreve)
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The Hilliard Ensemble will celebrate their 40th anniversary season next year (photo: Marco Borggreve)
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