Tudor City - the title's double meaning refers to the programme's sacred masterpieces of 16th-century England as well as the characterful 19th-century neighbourhood on Manhattan's East Side - was a breakthrough album for New York Polyphony. Widely praised by the classical press - "beautifully blended voices of individual distinction" according to The Independent - it was an airing on National Public Radio in the U.S. that caught the general public's imagination and propelled the album into the Top 10 of Billboard's Traditional Classical Chart. The ensemble's appeal broadened further when they made their television debut last December on The Martha Stewart Show.
Since its founding in 2006, New York Polyphony has maintained an active performance schedule, participating in major concert series and festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, including the Miller Theatre Music Series at Columbia University; Dallas Chamber Music Series; Ireland's Ardee Baroque Festival; Denmark's Vendsyssel Festival; Festival de Música de Morelia, Mexico; and the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center in New York.
With a "rich, natural sound that's larger and more complex than the sum of its parts" (National Public Radio), the four men of New York Polyphony - Geoffrey Williams, countertenor; Steven Caldicott Wilson, tenor; Christopher Dylan Herbert, baritone; and Craig Phillips, bass - seamlessly shift through the group's varied repertoire which ranges from austere medieval melodies to cutting-edge contemporary works. Making the most of modern media, recent projects include Missa Charles Darwin, a newly commissioned secular Mass setting celebrating the author of On the Origin of Species by composer Gregory Brown for a TEDx event in Woods Hole, Massachusetts; and Devices & Desires, an EP interspersing Gregorian chant with modern remixes by winners of New York Polyphony's Gregorian chant remix competition sponsored by collaborative music marketplace Indaba Music;
New York Polyphony's latest recording, endBeginning (BIS, scheduled for release 28 February) explores the themes of grief, loss and mortality, concluding with the words "My end is my beginning, and my beginning my end". Apart from this closing paraphrase by Jackson Hill (b. 1942) on Guillaume de Machaut's famous 14th century rondeau Ma fin est mon commencement and two examples of plainsong, all works included on endBeginning - already named CD of the Week by Alex Ross on his blog The Rest is Noise - were composed by masters of the Franco-Flemish school of polyphony active in the first half of the 16th century.
New York Polyphony's debut CD I Sing the Birth (AVIE), released in 2007, is an intimate meditation on the Christmas season and garnered universal praise. Gramophone named it "one of the season's best", BBC Music Magazine selected it as Editor's Christmas Choice CD, and Classic FM Magazine hailed it as "a disc for all seasons."
New York Polyphony's motto - "Early music. Modern sensibility." - neatly sums up the qualities of this superb, progressive all-male vocal quartet that looks forward to sharing their singular brand of music-making with UK audiences on the occasion of their London debut at Cadogan Hall on 21 March.
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For further information, image and interview requests, please contact Melanne Mueller, firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 8542 4866
Date : Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Venue : Cadogan Hall, London
Time : 7:30 pm
Andrew Smith : Surrexit Christus
Lionel Power : Beata progenies
John Dunstable : Speciosa facta es
Andrew Smith / Worcester fragments (1300) : Flos regalis
Willian Cornysh : Ave Maria Mater Dei
Andrew Smith : Ave Maris Stella
Walter Lambe : Stella caeli
Schubert : Vier gesange für Männerstimme, Op. 17
Gregory Brown : Abschied vom Leser (New York Polyphony commission) *
Gregory Brown : The Dying Californian *
Gerald Finzi : Thou didst delight my eyes, Op. 32
Clement Janequin : La guerre (La bataille de Marignan)
New York Polyphony
* UK premiere performances