Founded by Sir John Eliot Gardiner in the 1960s, the widely acclaimed Monteverdi Choir has always focused on bringing a new perspective to its repertoire, with a combination of consummate choral technique and historically-informed performance practice. The Choir goes beyond the music, seeking to make the visual impact of its performance enhance the experience, often exploiting the venues themselves in the search for immediacy and drama.
Amongst a number of trailblazing tours was the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000, during which the Choir performed all 198 of JS Bachâ€™s sacred cantatas in more than 60 churches throughout Europe and America. The entire project recorded by the companyâ€™s record label Soli Deo Gloria was hailed as â€˜one of the most ambitious musical projects of all timeâ€™ by Gramophone magazine. The Monteverdi Choir has over 150 recordings to its name and has won numerous prizes.
The Choir has participated in several staged opera productions, including Der FreischÃ¼tz (2010), Carmen (2009) at the OpÃ©ra Comique in Paris, and Les Troyens at the ThÃ©Ã¢tre du ChÃ¢telet. In 2015, the Choir performed Gluckâ€™s OrphÃ©e et Eurydice at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, working in collaboration with the Hofesh Shechter dance company.
In 2019, the Choir, alongside Gardiner and the EBS, showcased a new production of Handelâ€™s Semele, which toured to some of Europeâ€™s most celebrated concert halls including the Philharmonie de Paris, Barcelonaâ€™s Palau de la MÃºsica and Milanâ€™s Teatro alla Scala. The highlights continued into the summer as the Choir joined Gardiner, the ORR and an international cast of soloists for critically acclaimed performances of Berliozâ€™ Benvenuto Cellini at the Festival Berlioz, Berliner Festspiele, BBC Proms and Chateau de Versailles. The Choir rounds off the year with a series of debut performances in Russia and South America with the EBS, performing a programme of sacred music featuring works by Monteverdi, Carissimi, Purcell and Scarlatti.
Recent achievements include the award-winning Monteverdi 450 Trilogy tour, in which the Choir performed all three of Monteverdiâ€™s surviving operas across Europe and in the United States. In a reprise of its now iconic Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, 2018 saw the Choir perform several mixed programmes of the composerâ€™s sacred cantatas with the EBS across Europe, before giving a number of critically-acclaimed performances of Verdiâ€™s Requiem alongside the ORR – including a landmark concert at Westminster Cathedral in aid of Cancer Research UK.
English Baroque Soloists
Founded in 1978 by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the English Baroque Soloists have always sought to challenge preconceptions of Baroque and early Classical music, and have long been established as one of the worldâ€™s leading period instrument orchestras. Throughout their repertoire, ranging from Monteverdi to Mozart and Haydn, they are equally at home in chamber, symphonic and operatic performances and the distinctive sound of their warm and incisive playing is instantly recognisable. The ensemble has performed at many of the worldâ€™s most prestigious venues, including Teatro alla Scala, Milan, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Sydney Opera House.
The EBS are regularly involved in joint projects with the Monteverdi Choir, with whom they famously took part in the iconic Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000, performing all of Bachâ€™s sacred cantatas throughout Europe. The ensemble has also been involved in major opera productions alongside the Choir, in works by Handel, Purcell and Monteverdi, and recorded Mozartâ€™s greatest operas for Deutsche Grammophon in the 1990s. More recently they toured Gluckâ€™s OrphÃ©e et Eurydice to Hamburg and Versailles, following a staged production at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in collaboration with the Hofesh Shechter dance company.
2017 saw the EBS take part in the celebrated Monteverdi 450 tour, in which they performed all three of Monteverdiâ€™s surviving operas across Europe and in the USA, a project that was recognised by a Royal Philharmonic Society award in the Opera and Music Theatre category.
In 2018, the EBS performed in Salzburgâ€™s annual Mozartwoche, before embarking on a reprise of their landmark Bach Cantata Pilgrimage with the Monteverdi Choir in some of Europeâ€™s most famous concert halls and churches, culminating in a residency at Londonâ€™s Barbican Hall.
So far in 2019, the EBS has made its inaugural visit to South America for the Cartagena Festival, and undertook a tour of Handelâ€™s dramatic oratorio Semele â€“ visiting a series of iconic venues including the PhilharmonieÂ in Paris; Barcelonaâ€™sÂ Palau de la MÃºsica; theÂ Alexandra Palace TheatreÂ in London; Milanâ€™sÂ Teatro alla Scala; andÂ Sala Santa CeciliaÂ in Rome â€“ alongside the Monteverdi Choir. Later in the year, the EBS will make its debut in Russia and will then return to South America alongside the Monteverdi Choir with a programme of sacred music featuring works by Carissimi, Monteverdi, Purcell and Scarlatti.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Sir John Eliot Gardiner is revered as one of the worldâ€™s most innovative and dynamic musicians, constantly in the vanguard of enlightened interpretation and standing as a leader in contemporary musical life. His work, as founder and artistic director of the Monteverdi Choir (MC), English Baroque Soloists (EBS) and Orchestre RÃ©volutionnaire et Romantique (ORR), has marked him out as a key figure both in the early music revival and as a pioneer of historically informed performances.
As a regular guest of the worldâ€™s leading symphony orchestras, Gardiner conducts repertoire from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Gardiner has also conducted opera productions; at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, at the Vienna State Opera and at Teatro alla Scala, Milan. From 1983 to 1988 he was artistic director of OpÃ©ra de Lyon, where he founded its new orchestra. The extent of Gardinerâ€™s repertoire is illustrated in the extensive catalogue of award-winning recordings with his own ensembles and other leading orchestras. His many recording accolades include two GRAMMY awards and he has received more Gramophone Awards than any other living artist.
In 2017, Gardiner and the Monteverdi ensembles celebrated the 450th anniversary of Monteverdiâ€™s birth with staged performances of his three surviving operas across Europe and in the USA, a project that was recognised
by the RPS Music Award in the Opera and Music Theatre category. 2018 saw Gardiner – along with the Monteverdi Choir and EBS – embark on a reprise of the landmark Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, before giving a number of critically-acclaimed performances of Verdiâ€™s Requiem with the Monteverdi Choir and ORR. Gardiner went on to demonstrate a renewed commitment to Berliozâ€™s music with an extensive tour of his major symphonic works (includingÂ Harold in Italy,Â LÃ©lioÂ andÂ Symphonie Fantastique) across Europe and the United States. In the Spring of 2019, Gardiner conducted and directed the Monteverdi ensembles in a new production of Handelâ€™s Semele, which toured to the Philharmonie de Paris, Barcelonaâ€™s Palau de la MÃºsica and Milanâ€™s Teatro alla Scala.
An authority on the music of J. S. Bach, Gardinerâ€™s book, Music in the Castle of Heaven: A Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach, was published in October 2013 by Allen Lane, leading to the Prix des Muses award (Singer-Polignac). Among numerous awards in recognition of his work, Sir John Eliot Gardiner holds several honorary doctorates. He was awarded a knighthood for his services to music in the 1998 Queenâ€™s Birthday Honours List.