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The Gesualdo Six

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The Gesualdo Six – Directed by Owain Park

 

It has been almost two years since I last performed in Dursley Parish Church with The Gesualdo Six. At that point the group was just a year and a half old, and our first Summer Tour in late August 2015 was our most ambitious project to date: Performing 10 concerts in 9 days, we toured around the South and West England, visiting places that had particular resonance for the members of the group. It was a wonderful opportunity to share our music with those who had been so instrumental in our musical development, guiding us as musicians along the difficult path to the threshold of professional careers in music. The group line-up had at that point been unchanged for over a year when we toured that summer and was made up of some of my best friends and the best choral scholars from all across my time at Cambridge University.

 

I’m very happy to say that, two years on, the group is in rude health and I’m delighted that we shall be returning to St. James The Great Parish Church Dursley to perform on the afternoon of Sunday the 3rd of September at 3 p.m. the final concert of our (3rd!) Summer Tour. [For those that do not know of me, it was here I had my first and highly influential experiences of singing excellent church music repertoire with Nigel Davies as Director of Music, and later as a college student I was also very fortunate to be a beneficiary of the North Nibley Arts Bursary.] While there have been many changes in those two years, I’m even more excited about the work of the group now than I was in August 2015. The members of the group are now professional musicians based in London and the group itself has taken on a much more professional standing. This May we were signed to the artist management company Hazard Chase, with whom we are enjoying establishing a firm partnership. Hazard Chase represent many musicians of whom I am personally much in awe: The Tallis Scholars, Stephen Layton, The Bach Collegium Japan, Vox Luminis and until recently The Hilliard Ensemble. Our CD of English renaissance polyphony is in the second stages of editing after a hugely successful crowd-funding campaign in the spring and this June the group were honoured to perform Arvo Pärt’s Passio in St. John’s Smith Square alongside the Holst Singers and Stephen Layton, in the presence of Arvo Pärt himself! Plans are in various stages of development for several further recordings, a second composition competition (after our first international competition received almost 180 entries!) and several tours abroad.

 

For those who came to our concert in 2015 there will be some new faces this September: Alex Chance has joined me at the top of the group as 2nd Countertenor, Josh Cooter is now our 2nd Tenor and Sam Mitchell is our low Bass. We have been performing with the entire new line up for almost exactly a year now and we couldn’t be more happy with the appointments that we’ve made. Summer always proves to be a time of transition for young musicians and we’re very proud of our 1st Tenor Joseph Wicks, who has been appointed to be assistant director of music at Truro Cathedral from this autumn. We hope to still see Joseph in London regularly and wish him all the best with his new endeavours in the South West. Of the members of the group who have left since that first Summer Tour, Pat Dunachie has just finished his first season as the top countertenor with the King’s Singers, Hiroshi Amako is furthering his studies and his interest in the performance of Bach, winning countless prizes for performance in London, and Jonny Pacey has just finished a second season performing concerts across the globe with the renowned vocal ensemble Voces8.

 

Owain’s directing is going from strength to strength alongside his composing, and it was great to also feature his singing on several pieces on our forthcoming CD, some of which will no doubt be featuring in the programmes for our Tour. Owain was also independently signed to Hazard Chase as a conductor and choir director in May and his compositions continue to be performed around the world, including an ongoing, prestigious tour of his work ‘Footsteps’ alongside Joby Talbot’s ‘Path of Miracles’ performed by Tenebrae, and directed by Nigel Short. 

 

I’m so pleased that the group has retained the friendly and relaxed atmosphere we enjoyed while performing in England and abroad (often involving cricket breaks between rehearsals!) and remained in close contact with the many people and institutions whose help, enthusiasm and support have been so vital in enabling us to achieve what we have done, and to be able to look forward to much more. I can’t wait to return to St. James the Great to perform with The Gesualdo Six again. The programme will include music from the whole range of our repertoire, from renaissance polyphony right through to lighter arrangements of modern songs and so there should be something to suit everyone’s musical tastes!

 

Look us up on our website (www.thegesualdosix.co.uk) to keep right up to date with the work and progress of the group, and find videos of performances on our tours and several Lenten recordings in the beautiful Ely Lady Chapel. You can also follow our travels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!