Taverner Consort (Vocal & Instrumental Ensemble)
Founded: 1973 - England
Andrew Parrott and Malcolm Bruno - The Taverner Team
Artistic Director: Andrew Parrott
Andrew Parrott is perhaps best known as director of the Taverner Choir which he formed at the invitation of Sir Michael Tippett for a Bath Festival concert in 1973. Through some thirty gramophone recordings with the Taverner Choir, Consort and Players (mostly for EMI) and through many festival appearances, he has established an outstanding international reputation in pre-nineteenth century music, notably in Monteverdi, Purcell, Bach and Handel. As a specialist in the performance practice of early music, he combines his conducting career with research, writing and lecturing.
An involvement with later music too, especially with that of the twentieth century, has always occupied an important place in Andrew Parrott's life: as musical assistant to Tippett, as a member of Electric Phoenix, and as a conductor of major works by Britten, Henze, Nono, Stravinsky, Tippett, Varese, and premieres of works by Vladimir Godar and Judith Weir. He is increasingly in demand as an interpreter of opera, working at La Scala, Milan, and with Kent Opera, Oslo Sommeropera, Opera North and Opera Atelier in Toronto, the Royal Swedish Opera (at Drottningholm) and the Royal Opera House (London).
Much sought-after as a mainstream orchestral conductor, Andrew Parrott has worked with many of Europe's leading chamber and symphony orchestras, forging strong links especially with the Residentie in the Hague and the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava. Since his USA debut in 1987, Andrew Parrott has become a frequent visitor to North America, working in Canada and in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and St Paul. In 1990 he introduced Tanglewood audiences to Mozart on 'period' instruments and a subsequent 'live' recording released by Denon has been met with great acclaim.
Associate Director: Malcolm Bruno
A native American, Malcolm Bruno left New York University in 1974 to pursue post-graduate research and a doctorate at King's College London, after which he remained in London as a composer at the Royal College of Music. He studied composition there with Jeremy Dale Roberts and Max Deutsch in Paris. His work includes two chamber operas, a chamber symphony and numerous piano pieces and songs, which have been performed in Britain and broadcast by BBC Radio 3. In the last few years he has been specialising in writing for period instruments and voices.
After leaving the Royal College in 1983 he became General Administrator of Riverside Studios where he was executive producer for a variety of theatrical work including plays directed by Albert Finney, Lindsay Anderson, Dario Fo and Samuel Beckett. In 1984 he co-founded the Piccadilly Film Festival with Mark Finch. In the same year he became involved in the early music world, establishing the Lufthansa Festival with Ivor Bolton, and in 1985 the Historic Arts Trust with Roger Norrington for whose Orfeo production he was executive producer.
Since 1986 he has been Andrew Parrott's associate at Taverner developing future programming, recording and television work. During this same period he has been associate producer/music consultant for a number of programmes for Central Independent Television and Channel 4, including Unia Stravaganza dei Medici (1990) and a documentary about Nicholas Maw's Odyssey (1991). He now produces a series for BBC Radio 3 called Intersections which combines pre-baroque and twentieth-century music.
2003 marks the thirtieth anniversary of one of the world's most interestingly comprehensive musical organisations, the Taverner Choir, Consort and Players, whose pioneering work in authentic performance practice has achieved a fuller understanding of Europe's vast musical literature. Under the leadership of their founder and director, Andrew Parrott, the ensembles have established a worldwide reputation for first-rate performances based on adventurous and uncompromising scholarship.
Taverner's range of activity, (concerts, recordings, films and publications), encompasses repertoire from over seven centuries - from early medieval music to new commissions, from intimate chamber music to large-scale choral and orchestral works. Yet it pursues each of its musical projects with the same, precise objectives, assembling whatever forces are necessary to reflect the 'sound world' and conventions within which the composer was working.
Though broad in its reach, the Taverner enterprise has remained small-scale, thereby retaining the flexibility and versatility which plays such a key role in its continuing success and evolution. Recent seasons have featured collaborations with other ensembles (the Norwegian Baroque Orchestra, Concerto Palatino, the London Mozart Players and, this year, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment), a trend which Taverner is keen to explore and develop further.
Source: Sony Classical Website; Taverner Consort Website
Contributed by Aryeh Oron (August 2001, June 2003)