“At times you felt like there were a hundred voices; at others, only one.” – Varsity
The Gesualdo Six are a vocal consort specialising in the performance of renaissance polyphony, directed by Owain Park. Formed in March 2014 for a performance of Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday, the ensemble has since gone on to perform over sixty concerts around the UK, including several tours.
Whilst focusing on early music, the group often programmes modern works, including pieces by Joanna Marsh, Sarah Rimkus and Paweł Łukaszewski in their recent concerts. Other programmes have included sacred and secular renaissance works by the English and Italian masters, combined with modern works by György Ligeti, Francis Poulenc and Gabriel Jackson.
The group were St John’s Smith Square Young Artists 2015-2016, following a highly competitive audition process. The scheme invests in promising artists who show “enormous talent and energy”, endeavouring to help shape their futures. The ensemble has since appeared at the 2016 Christmas Festival and the inaugural Holy Week Festival 2017, and will return for more concerts in the 2018 season.
In 2016, the group successfully curated their first Composition Competition, supported by St John’s Smith Square and the Music Sales group of companies. The judges (John Rutter, Stephen Layton, Kate Johnson and Owain Park) were amazed by the number of entries and the extremely high standard of work; in the end there were over 170 entries spanning six continents.
The group’s first recording will be an album of English renaissance polyphony, due for release in spring 2018.
Owain Park Director
Owain Park, born in 1993, is a composer, conductor, singer and organist. As well as directing The Gesualdo Six, he maintains a busy schedule of conducting projects, working with ensembles including Cappella Cracoviensis and the BBC Singers. Recent projects include four series of Bach Cantatas, Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu nostri, Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas and Bach’s St John Passion. Owain was a Senior Scholar on the Conducting Programme of Queens’, working with internationally-renowned conductors including Natalia Luis-Bassa and Paul Brough. Owain also directs Cambridge Chorale, a dynamic vocal ensemble with an exciting programme of recordings, tours and concerts.
Owain’s compositions are published by Novello and have been performed internationally by ensembles including the Tallis Scholars, the Aurora Ensemble and the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir. Recordings of his work have been made by Tenebrae (Nigel Short), ORA (Suzi Digby), the Choir of Wells Cathedral (Matthew Owens), and The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge (Stephen Layton). His chamber opera, The Snow Child, was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in summer 2016, and his compositions have been broadcast on stations including BBC Radios 3 and 4, Classic FM, and around the world.
Owain is a prize-winning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO), and was formerly Senior Organ Scholar at Wells Cathedral and Trinity College Cambridge. He is part of the quartet of Tenebrae Associate Artists, and has worked with ensembles including Polyphony, the Dunedin Consort and Alamire. www.owainpark.co.uk
Guy James Countertenor
Guy James is a London-based countertenor and a founding member of The Gesualdo Six. He performs, records and tours with a wide selection of choirs and smaller ensembles including Polyphony, the Amici Voices and the Italian Ensemble Odhecaton and has now appeared on over 20 commercial CDs of choral music.
Raised in Dursley in Gloucestershire, Guy received academic and music scholarships to study in the VIth form at Cheltenham College and went on to read Natural Sciences (Physical) at St. John’s College in Cambridge, graduating with an MSci and a speciality in Organic Chemistry for Drug Discovery in 2013. During his undergraduacy Guy was a choral scholar in the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, directed by Stephen Layton. In his time at Trinity the choir was voted ‘5th Best Choir in the World’ by Gramophone magazine, won a Gramophone award and was received an American Grammy award nomination. The choir also toured across Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia.
Recent solo appearances have included Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions, and the Weihnacht’s-Oratorium with the Amici Voices and also Cantata 170 ‘Vergnügte Rüh’ and Mozart’s Requiem in Trinity College chapel.
Continuing his interest in Science and Science Policy, Guy has written for The Observer and the Cambridge Globalist as a Science Policy writer. In his spare time he enjoys playing Table Tennis, Badminton and Cricket.
Alex Chance Countertenor
Alex graduated in 2015 having read Classics at New College, Oxford, where he was a choral scholar under the direction of Edward Higginbottom for three years, and then of Robert Quinney for one. Many opportunities for solo performances came his way all over the world, most notably in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco where he sang the alto arias in Bach’s St John Passion. He also made a number of recordings with the New College Choir, including a recent CD of John Blow symphony anthems, on which he features heavily as a soloist.
More recent appearances have included a joint recital with his father, Michael Chance, in the Stour Festival, Handel’s ‘Saul’ with the the Choir of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest, solo appearances in Handel’s Messiah with Richard Cooke at Canterbury Cathedral, Bach’s St John Passion with Mark Deller at St Mary’s Ashford, Christmas Oratorio with Robert Quinney at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, Magnificat with Edward Higginbottom at King’s Place in London, and regularly with Tom Hammond-Davies and the Oxford Bach Soloists. Upcoming solo highlights include the role of Micah in Handel’s Samson at the Stour Festival, and Bach’s B Minor Mass with Vox Luminis in Utrecht. He also works frequently with ensembles such as The Tallis Scholars, Tenebrae, Vox Luminis, and the Marian Consort.
He is also a keen sportsman, and represented New College in both football and cricket, despite, in the case of the latter, often having to leave after the first innings to go and sing.
Joseph Wicks Tenor
Joseph Wicks is Assistant Director of Music at Truro Cathedral, a post that he took up in September 2017. He is also Musical Director of St Mary’s Singers, the cathedral’s voluntary choir, sings tenor in The Gesualdo Six and has founded his own chamber choir, The Beaufort Singers. Joseph’s duties at Truro include assisting the Director of Music Christopher Gray in the training of the boy and girl choristers, conducting services and mentoring of the choral and organ scholars, as well as playing the world-famous Father Willis organ for the majority of daily sung services. Prior to this Joseph was Assistant Organist of St John’s College, Cambridge, having been its Herbert Howells Organ Scholar. While at St John’s, Joseph played the organ for a large proportion of the daily services sung by the world-famous Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge and also accompanied them on their busy broadcast, recording and international tour schedules to countries across the world. Joseph appears as accompanist to the choir on three CDs all on the Signum Classics label, including a disc of Vaughan Williams’s choral music to be released in May 2018. Joseph also recorded a CD of Christmas music with The Gentlemen of St John’s entitled ‘White Christmas’.
Joseph is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO) winning the Limpus, Shinn and Durrant prize for the highest mark in the practical examination. Joseph has given recitals in Westminster Abbey, King’s College Cambridge, as well as several other Cambridge colleges, municipal halls, and several cathedrals and churches across the UK. In addition, Joseph maintains a freelance career as a singer. He is a graduate of Genesis Sixteen, a training scheme for young singers run by The Sixteen and its director Harry Christophers. Joseph has sung with groups such as Alamire and Polyphony, and is a founding member of The Gesualdo Six.
Josh Cooter Tenor
Josh began his musical studies as a chorister at Chichester Cathedral before accepting a music scholarship to Eton College. Having finished his degree at King’s College London, where he sang in the chapel choir under the late David Trendell, he began work as a freelance singer and now pursues a busy ensemble career, enjoying singing for some of the UK’s most prestigious consorts such as The Sixteen, Tenebrae and Britten Sinfonia Voices as well as other upcoming groups such as Siglo de Oro and The Fieri Consort. Recent soloist highlights include singing the role of Evangelist in Bach’s ‘St. John Passion’, Jupiter in Handel’s ‘Semele’ and solos in Schutz’s ‘Christmas Story’ and Handel’s ‘Israel in Egypt’. Not just content with singing, Josh also teaches the trombone and aims to teach himself the harmonica in order to ultimately become the one man band he’s always dreamed of…
Michael Craddock Baritone
Michael is a London-based freelance singer, who started his musical education with the choir of Trinity College Cambridge, whom he sung with for four years. Whilst studying Mathematics, he found himself in many university productions, including Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona (Uberto), Milhaud Le Pauvre Matelot L’Ami and Bernstein Trouble in Tahiti (Sam), and was invited back in 2014 to the university to sing the title role in Don Giovanni. His student days now behind him, Michael appears regularly as a soloist, and with choirs such as Polyphony and the Choir of the Enlightenment, and is currently learning with Gary Coward. In 2013 he undertook a tour of cathedrals with the City of London Sinfonia singing the baritone solos in the Fauré Requiem, broadcast live on Radio 3. In addition to performing with the Gesualdo Six, he is a founder member of the consort group Amici Voices, with whom he regularly performs the works of JS Bach one-to-a-part.
Recent operatic performances include Walton “The Bear” (Smirnov) for Opera Minima and Opera Anywhere, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bottom) in Aldeburgh, sharing the role with Matthew Rose, Donizetti Don Pasquale (Dr. Malatesta) for Opera Minima, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (Yamidori) for Opera A La Carte and Verdi’s La Traviata (Marchese) for Regent’s Opera at the Bermuda Festival. He will be singing the dual roles of Alfio/Tonio in Hampstead Garden Opera’s Spring 2016 performances of Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci. Michael is a regular with the choir of the London Oratory, and in between his vocal engagements he works for a very accommodating barristers chambers as an accountant. In his spare time he enjoys moving pictures, hopped beverages and cricket, a venn diagram of interests which intersects perfectly with his colleagues in The Gesualdo Six.
Samuel Mitchell Bass
Sam is currently living in Oxford, where he balances his life singing at Christ Church Cathedral and teaching music academic music at a sixth form college. After finishing his A levels at Oundle School where he was a music scholar, Sam spent a gap year in Truro, singing with the very well respected Cathedral Choir. Sam went on to read music at the University of Manchester. During his three years in Manchester Sam performed regularly as a pianist as well as a singer, becoming heavily involved in many ensembles across the city.
Upon leaving university, Sam decided to embark upon a singing career and has since performed as a soloist and with many leading ensembles across the country. Sam sings regularly with groups such as The Sixteen, Siglo de Oro and Britten Sinfonia Voices. Like Joe, Sam is also a graduate of the same vintage of the Genesis Sixteen programme, a series of courses for talented young singers run by The Sixteen and Harry Christophers.
As a soloist Sam has performed works from Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs to arias Handel’s Messiah and Saul and scenes from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro to Ades’ The Tempest. Sam is a keen recitalist and his currently developing a strong passion for lieder, particularly of Schubert and Schumann.
In his spare time, Sam likes to keep his piano skills to a reasonable standard, collecting vinyls and cooking.
Hiroshi Amako Tenor (Sept 2014 – June 2016)
Hiroshi Amako was a Choral Scholar in Trinity College Choir, and is an avid singer of Bach, often appearing as the Evangelist in performances of Christmas Oratorio and the St John Passion. In his spare time, Hiroshi enjoys cooking and fiddling with computers – though both aren’t always successful.
Pat Dunachie Countertenor (May 2014 – May 2016)
Pat started singing as a chorister at Hereford Cathedral and was later a Choral Scholar in the Choir of King’s College. He enjoys editing and typesetting early music, with his editions used by performers including Carolyn Sampson, His Majesty’s Sackbutts and Cornetts and Ex Cathedra. To relax, Patrick enjoys performing magic tricks, drinking real ale, and attempting to ascend climbing walls – though not usually in that order. Pat is now a member of The King’s Singers.
Jonathan Pacey Bass (March 2014 – Sept 2015)
Jonny started out as a chorister at Winchester Cathedral and was a founding member of The Gesualdo Six. He later read music at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar under Stephen Layton, and is now a member of VOCES8.