THE TALLIS SCHOLARS
'Anyone familiar with Renaissance music knows that this group has attained superstardom among its ilk' Boston Globe
'The rock stars of Renaissance vocal music' New York Times
'one of the UK's greatest cultural exports' BBC Radio 3
The Tallis Scholars were founded in 1973 by their director, Peter Phillips. Through their recordings and nearly 2,500 concerts, they have established themselves throughout the world as the leading exponent of Renaissance sacred music. Peter Phillips has worked with the ensemble to create, through good tuning and blend, the purity and clarity of sound which he feels best serve the Renaissance repertoire, allowing every detail of the musical lines to be heard. It is the resulting beauty of sound for which The Tallis Scholars have become so widely renowned.
The Tallis Scholars perform in both sacred and secular venues, giving around eighty concerts each year across the globe. In February 1994 they performed on the 400th anniversary of the death of Palestrina in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, where Palestrina had trained as a choirboy and later worked as Maestro di Cappella. The concert was filmed by Gimell and is now available on DVD-Video. In April 1994 the group enjoyed the privilege of performing in the Sistine Chapel to mark the final stage of the complete restoration of the Michelangelo frescos, broadcast live on Italian television. In 1998 they celebrated their twenty-fifth Anniversary with a special concert in London's National Gallery, including a work by Sir John Tavener, In the Month of Athyr, written for the group and narrated by Sting. Further performances were given with Sir Paul McCartney in New York in 2000 and with Vanessa Redgrave in Birmingham's Symphony Hall in 2006. In 2013 the group celebrated their 40th anniversary with a World Tour performing 99 events in 80 venues in 16 countries and travelling sufficient air miles to circumnavigate the globe four times. They launched the year with a spectacular concert in St Paul's Cathedral in London including a performance of Thomas Tallis' 40-part motet Spem in alium and the world premieres of works written specially for them by Gabriel Jackson and Eric Whitacre. Their recording of the Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas, by the 16th Century Tudor composer John Taverner, was released in 2013 on the exact anniversary of their first concert in 1973 and enjoyed six weeks at number one in the UK Specialist Classical Album Chart. The Tallis Scholars are broadcast regularly on radio including performances from the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2014.
Much of The Tallis Scholars' reputation for their pioneering work has come from their association with Gimell Records, set up by Peter Phillips and producer Steve Smith. The first Gimell recording was made on 22 and 23 March 1980 featuring Allegri's Miserere, Mundy's Vox patris caelestis and Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli. It was recently described by BBC Music Magazine as one of the 50 Greatest Recordings of all time. Recordings by The Tallis Scholars have attracted many awards throughout the world. In 1987 their recording of Josquin's Missa La sol fa re mi and Missa Pange lingua received the Gramophone magazine Record of the Year award, the first recording of early music ever to win this coveted award. In 1989 the French magazine Diapason gave two of its ‘Diapason d'Or de l'Année' awards for recordings of a Mass and motets by Lassus and of Josquin's two Masses based on the chanson L'homme armé. Their recording of Palestrina's Missa Assumpta est Maria and Missa Sicut lilium was awarded Gramophone's Early Music Award in 1991; they also received the 1994 Early Music Award for their recording of music by Cipriano de Rore, and the same distinction again in 2005 for their disc of music by John Browne. In 2012 their recording of Josquin's Missa De beata virgine and Missa Ave maris stella received a ‘Diapason d'Or de l'Année'. Three recordings by The Tallis Scholars have been nominated for a Grammy Award. In 2013 they were welcomed into the Gramophone Hall of Fame by public vote. In 2020 they released the ninth and final album in their project to record all of Josquin's masses before the composer's 500th anniversary in 2021. Featuring Missa Hercules Dux Ferrarie, Missa D'ung aultre amer and Missa Faysant regretz, the album won the 2021 Gramophone Early Music Award and the BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Year Award.
These accolades are continuing evidence of the exceptionally high standard maintained by The Tallis Scholars, and of their dedication to one of the great repertoires in Western classical music.