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The Gesualdo Six to Join St Salvator’s Chapel Choir

The Gesualdo Six, a vocal ensemble made up of six voices, will join the University of St An- drews’ St Salvator’s Chapel Choir for a concert on 9 April, 2022.

Presented jointly by the St Andrews Concert Series and St Andrews Voices, the performance will include Renaissance polyphony by Tallis and Gombert, Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir and world premieres by Paul Mealor and Owain Park, the director of the Gesualdo Six.

On the upcoming concert, Rebekah Loughran, a 4th-year student and choral scholar of St Salvator’s Chapel Choir said, “It’s really exciting to have the Gesualdo Six back in St Andrews again, especially to perform in the incredible acoustics of the McPherson Room. Performing with them is always a very valuable experience. I’m particularly looking forward to Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir (arguably one of the best choral works around!) and am delighted we have the privilege of premier ing works by Park and Mealor.”

The Gesualdo Six formed in 2014 for a performance of Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsories in Cambridge. Since then, it has gone on to perform worldwide at major festivals. The group has previously collaborated with the Brodsky Quartet, London Mozart Players, Luxmuralis, William Barton and Matilda Lloyd.

Directed by Owain Park, the Gesualdo Six consists of countertenor Guy James, tenor Joseph Wicks, tenor Josh Cooter, baritone Michael Craddock, and bass Sam Mitchell.

On the group’s website, Director Owain Park explains that what makes the group special is its unique energy, “I felt something click when we came together to rehearse for the first time, and I don’t think we’ve looked back since then! The special feeling of hyper-engaged music-making, coupled with a good deal of enjoyment in each other’s company, has meant that this group has stuck together and embarked on an exciting journey.”

The concert will be held in the McPherson Recital Room in the Laidlaw Music Centre. The Music Centre opened in 2020 and houses rehearsal, recording and tuition spaces.

Christopher Bragg, Head of Programming at the Music Centre, said, “When we first conceived the McPherson Recital Room with our design team, we wanted to create a world-class space for group singing, which historically has played such a deeply embedded role in the University’s musical culture.

“The results have been beyond anything we imagined possible in such an intimate room and this concert, bringing together our own choral scholars with such a pre-eminent group, will show why.”

The Gesualdo Six has previously performed as part of St Andrews Voices Festival in 2019, when they collaborated with Luxmuralis in Holy Trinity Church and performed alongside St Salvator’s Chapel Choir. They also ran two workshops with a group formed from St Salvator’s Choir and Scottish consort Cantus Firmus. This formed part of their wider educational work in which they hold workshops for young musicians.

The ensemble released their debut recording English Motets on Hyperion Records in 2018. This was followed by a festive album, Christmas, released in late 2019 and including seasonal favourites. In 2020, they released an album of compline-themed music titled Fading. This recording was awarded Vocal & Choral Recording of the Year 2020 by Limelight.

Its Composition Competition attracted entries from over 300 composers around the world. The group has recently commissioned original works from Joanna Ward, Kerensa Briggs, Deborah Pritchard, Joanna Marsh, and Richard Barnard alongside co-ronasolfège for 6 by Héloïse Werner.

St Salvator’s Chapel Choir is the flagship choir of the University of St Andrews. Directed by Claire Innes-Hopkins, around 30 students sing in the choir. Its repertoire spans six centuries. Its history goes back to the founding of the University when students were obliged to sing in the University’s chapel and were referred to as the ‘Choristi Sanctiandree’.

Tickets for the event may be pur- chased on the Byre Theatre Website.

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