About Andrew Kirkman
The Binchois Consort is a small vocal group specializing in music of the English Renaissance. The group is named for the composer Gilles Binchois but is unconnected with the Ensemble Gilles Binchois.
Formed in 1995, the Binchois Consort is one of those groups that grew from a single performance that went well and inspired the performers to continue. On the feast day of St. Anthony, July 13, the singers performed Dufay's Mass for St. Anthony of Padua. They were invited to record the obscure work for the Hyperion label, with which they have been associated ever since. Andrew Kirkman has served as conductor since the consort's inception. Although the word "consort" may signify an instrumental group, the recordings of the Binchois Consort have been exclusively vocal; their generally stable membership of male singers includes three altos, four tenors, and a bass, as well as Kirkman. The group recorded another Dufay mass, the Missa Sancti Jacobi, and that release was named Recording of the Month by Gramophone magazine and, more unusually for an English group, received the Diapason d'Or from the magazine Diapason. The Binchois Consort's Music for Henry V and the House of Lancaster was chosen as Gramophone Critics' Choice in 2011.
The Binchois Consort has gone on to record not only further works by Dufay, but also music by other composers of the Renaissance, including Josquin Desprez. The group's 2000 album The Marriage of England and Burgundy featured music by Walter Frye and Antoine Busnois. As their career has proceeded, they have tended to perform programs dedicated to the re-creation of specific events and milieux, rather than core repertory presented as such. In 2017, for example, the group released Music for the 100 Years' War. The consort's 2019 release Music for Saint Katherine of Alexandria covered, in the group's words, "[s]eemingly ... the only female saint apart from the Virgin Mary to have generated sufficient music in England during the fifteenth century to fill a compact disc"; it included music by the rarely performed Robert Dryffelde as well as Frye and John Dunstaple.
The Binchois Consort has toured the U.S. multiple times in addition to performing in major British cities. ~ James Manheim