The Tallis Scholars

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About The Tallis Scholars

Purity of blend and balance, ensemble precision, and pinpoint intonation all seamlessly merge to form the unmistakable sound of The Tallis Scholars. Those ideals were shared with the world’s finest instrumental chamber groups and directly influenced by the groundbreaking example of The Clerkes of Oxenford; they have been further cultivated by the British professional vocal ensemble ever since its creation in 1973 by Peter Phillips, who was at the time the organ scholar at Merton College, Oxford. They were soon raised to an unprecedented level in their performances of Renaissance and late-medieval unaccompanied sacred music. Loyalty and continuity have been significant in the group’s development and longevity, with many among its core of eight to 10 singers remaining with The Tallis Scholars for decades. Phillips proved resolute in pursuit of a style of singing free from vibrato-tinged expression yet extraordinarily intense in its cumulative power and emotional impact. The outcome was channeled to spellbinding effect in the ensemble’s debut 1980 disc of Allegri’s Miserere, William Mundy’s Vox Patris caelestis, and Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli, originally released on EMI’s budget Classics for Pleasure label and subsequently added to The Tallis Scholars’ pioneering own-brand label, Gimell. The recording, graced by Alison Stamp’s crystalline soprano high-Cs in the Allegri, reached far beyond the small tribe of early vocal music connoisseurs to top the UK classical album chart. It prepared the ground for regular international tours and a series of critically acclaimed albums, among them discs devoted to masses and motets by Josquin, Taverner, and Tallis, programmes of pre-Reformation English chant and music from the Eton Choirbook, and recordings of works by contemporary composers, including Pärt, Tavener, and Whitacre.

Oxford, England
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