The Sixteen

Latest Release

Essential Albums

  • Handel: Messiah, HWV 56

Artist Playlists

About The Sixteen

When The Sixteen debuted in 1979, its clear, ringing sound, with its laser-like accuracy and vibrant blend, was a refreshing counterblast to the UK’s generally staid concert hall choirs. Founder and conductor Harry Christophers shrewdly recruited members from Oxbridge choral scholars and young singers on London’s professional choir circuit, and it wasn’t long before its first show in the chapel of Magdalen College, Oxford, where it performed sacred music by Mundy, Purcell, Schütz and Pelham Humfrey. It bagged a cult following with two recordings of flowing polyphony from the 15th-century Eton Choirbook and an impressive series of albums for the Hyperion label. Christophers naturally attracted those who liked his genial yet highly effective work ethic and capacity for finding fresh things to say about landmarks of the choral repertory such as Handel’s Messiah (1741), J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (1724) and Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. The Sixteen confirmed its status as one of Britain’s greatest cultural exports with debuts at the Salzburg and Lucerne Festivals, as well as dates at the Sydney Opera House, Vienna’s Musikverein, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and New York’s Lincoln Center. It has also helped to nurture the next generation of choristers with innovative education projects and a fruitful collaboration with philanthropist John Studzinski’s Genesis Foundation. The choir’s reputation has been bolstered with releases on its own Coro label, and high-profile 21st-century commissions such as Scottish composer James MacMillan’s Stabat Mater (2015) and Symphony No. 5 (2020).


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