Formed in 1988 by the Early Music Network of Great Britain, the Orlando Consort rapidly achieved a reputation as one of Europe’s most expert and consistently challenging groups performing repertoire from the years 1050 to 1550. Their work successfully combines captivating entertainment and fresh scholarly insight; the unique imagination and originality of their programming together with their superb vocal skills has marked the Consort out as the outstanding leaders of their field. The Consort has performed at many of Britain’s top festivals (including the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival) and has in recent years made visits to France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, the USA and Canada, South America, Singapore, Japan, Greece, Russia, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Portugal and Spain.
The Consort’s impressive discography for Saydisc, Metronome, Linn, Deutsche Grammophon and Harmonia Mundi USA includes a collection of music by John Dunstaple and ‘The Call of the Phoenix’, which were selected as Early Music CDs of the Year by Gramophone Magazine in 1996 and 2003 respectively; their CDs of music by CompÃ¨re, Machaut, Ockeghem, Josquin, ‘Popes and Anti-Popes’, ‘Saracen and Dove’ and ‘Passion’ have also all been short-listed. Their 2008 release of Machaut’s ‘Messe de Notre Dame’ and ‘Scattered Rhymes’, an outstanding new work by the young British composer Tarik O’Regan and featuring the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, was short-listed for a BBC Music Magazine Award. The ‘Dart of Love’ (January 2015) is their second recording in a series for Hyperion exploring the polyphonic songs of Guillaume de Machaut; the first release (‘Le Voir Dit’) was selected by New York Times critics as one of their favourite classical CD releases of 2013. Their most recent releases are a second anthology of music by Loyset CompÃ¨re – shortlisted for a Gramophone Magazine Early Music Award, Volumes 3 and 4 of the Machaut Edition, ‘A Burning Heart’, and ‘Sovereign Beauty’, the latter an Editor’s Choice for The Gramophone.
The Consort’s performances also embrace the spheres of contemporary music and improvisation: to date they have performed over thirty world premières and they have created striking collaborations with the jazz group Perfect Houseplants and, for a project exploring historic Portuguese and Goan music, with the brilliant tabla player, Kuljit Bhamra. The Consort currently holds a residency at Nottingham University and recent concert highlights include a return visit to New York’s Carnegie Hall, a performance for the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and numerous performances in North America of the ‘Voices Appeared’ project. The coming season sees them touring the UK, Europe and North America, including a performance of ‘Voices Appeared’ at the Salzburg Festival.