A look back on 2015…

We’ve had a brilliant year – here are some of our highlights from 2015.

A series of concerts to start the year 

We began the year with four concerts in Cambridge Colleges, performing in the chapels of Jesus, Caius, St John’s and King’s. Our one-year anniversary concert of Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responses for Maundy Thursday in King’s Chapel was given a five-star review:

“…what Owain Park and the singers have managed to achieve is an ensemble with extraordinary potential, who stand head and shoulders above any other vocal group in Cambridge, and who surely have a promising future ahead.”

It was a rather lovely experience to perform in Kingston Parish Church, the first concert in living memory for the audience! This varied programme inspired our tour concerts later in the year. We then returned to Trinity College Chapel for a ‘Nachtmusik’ concert, performing madrigals and motets by candlelight to a late-night audience.

Mid-rehearsal in King's College Chapel

Mid-rehearsal in King’s College Chapel

SJSS Young Artists

In May, it was revealed that we were to be St John’s Smith Square Young Artists for the 2015-16 season. Richard Heason, the director of SJSS said that “as a concert hall it is crucial that we don’t just give voice to established artists but that we also invest in future talent. Through our Young Artists’ Scheme we are able to select musicians who have shown themselves to have enormous talent and energy and help them as they shape their careers.”

 

Summer 2015

Last summer was a fantastic time for the group, first appearing on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune programme with Sean Rafferty, talking about our tour and recording, and singing three pieces live on air. We then gathered in the Chapel of Trinity College Cambridge to record our first disc. It was very exciting to be working with John Rutter, who produced our recording, and David Hinitt, who was engineering – our sincerest thanks to them. Our debut CD featuring Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday will hit the shelves next year, so watch this space! We then immediately headed to London for the first of ten concerts of a Summer Tour, which took us all across England (read more here).

After-concert photo on tour in Salisbury

After-concert photo on tour in Salisbury

LIACC Competition

We were delighted to make the final of the London International A Cappella Choir Competition in September. Comments from the judges included:

“The Jackson, with the soloist stood above and behind the group, was confident with a lovely sense of style. The Gesualdo had great beauty of tone with a nice fluidity, whilst the Clemens Non Papa had great control and shape. The Claude le Jeune was vivid, and the Harold Arlen had some lovely close harmonies.”

“The Gesualdo Six had impressive ensemble, and he felt they were a mix of the Hilliard Ensemble and the King’s Singers” – high praise indeed!

 

Final concerts to round off the year 

It was a real treat to perform our Madrigals Old & New programme in St James’ Piccadilly in October, before trying out a new programme of Schütz Italian Madrigals and Flemish sacred renaissance works in Cambridge’s West Road Concert Hall.

Our last concert with Jonny as our resident bass was in the intimate setting of Grange Wellington Chapel in Vincent Square. We were performing as part of the Brandenburg Choral Festival of London’s 2015 season to a sell-out crowd. It is always sad when a member leaves, but we wish Jonny well in his exciting new post, and know that we’ll see more of him yet!

Post-concert high

Post-concert high

Our new bass 

Right at the end of the year, it was announced that we had appointed Sam Mitchell to take over from Jonny. Sam gave an outstanding audition, and we can’t wait to get to work with him. It was a nice coincidence that we announced his appointment on his birthday!

 

* * * * *

 

Plans for 2016

We will perform three times in St John’s Smith Square as their Young Artists, and also appear as part of the Cambridge Early Music Festival of the Voice. Other plans are still in the making, but include several performances abroad, as well as more closer to home. Concert dates will be announced on our website.

 

Favourite performances

Particular highlights from this year include performing Joanna Marsh’s captivating work, Fading. We are looking forward to programming this work, as well as others by Marsh in 2016 and beyond. We have also explored the work of other contemporary composers this year, including Gabriel Jackson, Paweł Łukaszewski and of course, György Ligeti. As ever, we have enjoyed performing works by Owain, including his Fantasia on English Children’s Songs, an absolute audience favourite!

 

Final thought: a numbers game? 

This year we have appeared as a five-, six- and at times seven-part ensemble. Mark Williams came up with a memorable suggestion as to why this could be…

“After the interval there was another vocal ensemble, the all-male group The Gesualdo Six, director Owain Park; though there were only five of them, and afterwards Mark Williams suggested that in true Gesualdo fashion they had murdered their sixth member.” [Planet Hugill]

We hope 2016 brings you health and happiness!

We hope 2016 brings you health and happiness!

 

Latest Appointment: Sam Mitchell

We are delighted to have appointed Sam Mitchell as our new bass. Sam begins working with us in the New Year, as we say a fond farewell to Jonny. We offer our warmest congratulations to Sam who gave an outstanding audition. Here are a few words from him:
 
“I’m incredibly excited to be joining G6. Since they started making a name for themselves last year I’ve always been struck by the incredible amount of character, flair and dynamism in their performances. I can’t wait until the first rehearsal!”
 
We’d also like to wish Sam a very happy birthday!
Sam Mitchell

Live on BBC In Tune

The Gesualdo Six will be appearing on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune programme on Thursday 13th August at 4.30pm. Tune in to hear three pieces of Renaissance music that will be included in the tour programme across parts of the UK this summer. Visit the In Tune website here.

Joseph Wicks: Bringing The Gesualdo Six to Salisbury

Tenor Joseph Wicks writes about returning to Salisbury with us this summer:

“Ever since the group performed its first concert 18 months ago, I’ve wanted to bring them down from Cambridge to Salisbury, and in particular to the glorious acoustic of St Martin’s. It will suit the size and sound of The Gesualdo Six absolutely perfectly, and this concert will be a good opportunity to say thank you for the help that Salisbury’s musical scene gave me for so many years.” 

Tickets are available from our Box Office, can be reserved in advance or bought on the door. 
Online booking: Salisbury Concert
Email: info@thegesualdosix.co.uk


Joseph Wicks Tenor JW

Joseph Wicks is currently studying for a degree in Music at Cambridge University whilst being Junior Organ Scholar at St John’s College. He spent a gap year as Organ Scholar of Hereford Cathedral, and before this was the Sixth Form Organ Scholar at Lancing College. He began his musical education as a Chorister, later Bishop’s (Head) Chorister of Salisbury Cathedral, singing there for six years where he first enjoyed the daily round of evensong and the rich repertoire of an English Cathedral Choir.

Joseph is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists (ARCO) and twice won the Lancing College music competition on the organ. Recent recital venues include Hereford Cathedral, St John’s College, Cambridge and St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol. Joseph’s ultimate ambition is to be a Cathedral organist and Director of Music.

In addition, Joseph has remained a keen singer, now being taught by David Lowe in Cambridge. He is a graduate of the prestigious Genesis Sixteen, a training scheme for talented young singers run by internationally renowned choir The Sixteen and its director Harry Christophers.

Guy James: Thoughts on returning home

Countertenor Guy James writes about returning to Dursley with The Gesualdo Six this summer:

One of my earliest musical memories is of standing next to my mum, Lynn James, singing with the Parish choir of St. James the Great in the parish centre in Dursley. I was effectively on probation with the choir and despite this I was applying myself with some gusto when a sudden drop in dynamics left me performing my very first (totally unintentional) solo. Thankfully this oversight didn’t prevent me from joining the choir properly when I was 7 and I then enjoyed the best part of 10 years with the choir before a change of schools prevented any more weekly contributions. I continue to be humbled that my 10 years singing at St. James constitute barely a fraction of the service of the more venerable members of the choir. During my time I was extremely lucky to benefit from the enthusiasm and talents of everyone in the choir and especially it’s director and organist Nigel Davies. Not only did I receive much of the most formative years of my musical education for free but also access to innumerable opportunities for performance and the concerts and tours that the choir provides, not to mention a little pocket-money. Undoubtedly however, the most valuable gift I received over my time with the choir is a love for the music and heritage of the English choral tradition.

Continue reading

SJSS Young Artists 2015/16

We are delighted to announce that we will be St John’s Smith Square Young Artists for the 2015/16 season! Here’s a note from Richard Heason, the director of SJSS:

‘As a concert hall it is crucial that we don’t just give voice to established artists but that we also invest in future talent. Through our Young Artists’ Scheme we are able to select musicians who have shown themselves to have enormous talent and energy and help them as they shape their careers.’

Read more here: http://www.earlymusictoday.com/slider/sjss-2015-16-young-artists-announced/

May 2015 1

 

★★★★★ Five-star review for King’s concert

We’re delighted to end the term with a five-star review for our one-year anniversary concert of Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responses for Maundy Thursday in King’s Chapel.

“…what Owain Park and the singers have managed to achieve is an ensemble with extraordinary potential, who stand head and shoulders above any other vocal group in Cambridge, and who surely have a promising future ahead.”

Read the full review here: http://www.varsity.co.uk/reviews/8454

The team are looking forward to returning to Cambridge for the summer term and for a concert in Kingston in Cambridgeshire on 1st May. Keep an eye out on our website, facebook and twitter for the latest details. We’re also busy preparing for the summer and beyond!

Update: January 2015

A big “hello” to 2015 from everyone in Team G6! We hope you all had a lovely Christmas and enjoyed wonderful New Year celebrations. We’re here with exciting news about plans for 2015, which include four concerts in the next three months, at home in Cambridge.

First, we travel to Jesus College Chapel on Saturday 17th January, to perform English masterpieces by composers including Byrd, Sheppard (who [probably] celebrates his 500th anniversary this year) and Cornysh, before visiting St John’s College Chapel on 13th February with a juxtaposition of Madrigals by Ligeti and Monteverdi. We then bring music of the Italian masters to Caius College Chapel on 21st February, before finishing in the majestic setting of King’s College Chapel on 11th March to perform Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday. Phew!

We’re really looking forward to welcoming you to one or more of our concerts, and we’ll also be adding clips and tracks to our YouTube and Soundcloud accounts over the coming months. Happy 2015!