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CONTRAPUNCTUS

 
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Coupling powerful interpretations with path-breaking scholarship, Contrapunctus presents music by the best known composers as well as unfamiliar masterpieces.

The group’s repertoire is drawn from England, the Low Countries, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany, particularly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The scholarly facet of the group’s work – including the discovery of long-lost music and reconstructions of original performing contexts – allows audiences to experience the first performances of many works in modern times.

Since its foundation in 2010, the group has appeared in many of the world’s leading music festivals – the Utrecht Early Music Festival, the AMUZ Festival in Antwerp, the Festival van Vlaanderen in Mechelen, the Eboræ Musica Festival and Setúbal Festival in Portugal, the concert series at De Bijloke in Ghent and at the Fundación Juan March in Madrid, and in Martin Randall Travel festivals in Spain and the UK – and has performed alongside the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Contrapunctus is Vocal Consort in Residence at the University of Oxford.

Two of the group’s discs – Libera nos: The Cry of the Oppressed and In the Midst of Life – have been shortlisted for the Gramophone Early Music Award. ‘In the Midst of Life’ was also named Album of the Week in The Sunday Times, The Week, and on BBC Radio 3 CD Review.
It was Editor's Choice in Gramophone and Choral and Song Choice in BBC Music Magazine. The 2019 recording of music by John Taverner, including his Missa Gloria tibi trinitas was a joint project with the Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford: on Radio 3’s Record Review Andrew McGregor highlighted the ‘gloriously uplifting sound of the combined forces’ and the ‘beautifully moulded’ counterpoint, and this recording received a Diapason d’or.

2020

OWEN REES

owen ress

Owen Rees is both an acclaimed choral director and an internationally recognised scholar of Renaissance music, particularly from Spain, Portugal, and England. His scholarship consistently informs his performances in exciting and revelatory ways. He has brought to the concert hall and recording studio substantial repertories of magnificent Renaissance and Baroque music, including many previously unknown or little-known works, and he has played a leading role in revealing the glories of Portuguese Renaissance polyphony to an international audience. His interpretations have been acclaimed as ‘revelatory and even visionary’ (BBC Music Magazine) and as ‘rare examples of scholarship and musicianship combining to result in performances that are both impressive and immediately attractive to the listener’ (Gramophone).

He directs the professional vocal consort Contrapunctus, which he founded in 2010, and the Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford, which he has conducted since 1997. His academic posts are as Professor in Music at the University of Oxford and Fellow of The Queen’s College. He has conducted at festivals worldwide, and is in demand internationally as a leader of workshops on the performance of Renaissance polyphony. His numerous CD recordings encompass a wide variety of choral repertory from the Renaissance to contemporary music, and his work has three times been nominated for a Gramophone Award.

His published work as a scholar includes studies and editions of the principal Spanish composers of the ‘Golden Age’ (Morales, Guerrero, and Victoria), the Portuguese Renaissance masters Cardoso, Lobo, and Magalhães, and the great Tudor composers Tallis and Byrd. He has recently published a book about the Victoria Requiem for Cambridge University Press.

2020

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For further information please visit: Contrapunctus & Owen Rees