“The singing of VOCES8 is impeccable in its quality of tone and balance. They bring a new dimension to the word‘ensemble’ with meticulous timing and tuning.” (Gramophone)
VOCES8 is one of the most exciting and versatile vocal groups currently performing. Founded in 2005, the multi award-winning ensemble now tours extensively across Europe, North America and Asia.
In January 2014 the group released Eventide, its debut recording for Decca, a series of seductive arrangements for eight voices given a contemporary edge with the addition of solo cello, harp and saxophone. The album went straight to the top of the classical charts, and won enthusiastic reviews for the group’s intimate, perfectly blended sound, with BBC Music Magazine praising “pitch-perfect harmonies, in dreamily sumptuous sonics,” and Australia’s Limelight Magazine saying: “Thankfully, Eventide not only features some of the finest choral singing you’ll hear anywhere; as far as chill albums go, it’s one of the best I’ve heard . . . [all the performances] are without exception impeccable.”
As part of the group's tenth anniversary celebrations, VOCES8 follows up the success of Eventide with the February 2015 release of Lux, spreading light through a radiant selection of music spanning 400 years: from Thomas Tallis to Massive Attack and Ben Folds Five, as well as popular classics such as Allegri’s Miserere and Elgar’s Nimrod. The album also features Paul Mealor’s Ubi Caritas, commissioned for the wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011, and works by two of today's most exciting young composers: the US/Norwegian Ola Gjeilo and the UK’s Will Todd.
The programmes on these Decca releases reflect the versatility of a group which, while specialising in classical choral music, has made its mark in the widest possible repertoire, ranging from Renaissance polyphony through to jazz and pop arrangements. The ensemble also regularly commissions and collaborates with world-renowned contemporary composers including Ola Gjeilo, Roxanna Panufnik, Jim Clements, Alexander Levine and Ben Parry. The ensemble’s next commission, from Alec Roth, will be premiered at the 2015 Three Choirs Festival.
Highlights of the 2014/2015 season include tours of the USA and Japan plus an extensive run of concerts in the UK and Germany. The season also sees VOCES8 perform at Bozar in Brussels, Berliner Dom, Hamburg's Laeiszhalle, Canterbury Cathedral, Three Choirs Festival and Lund Festival, give its debut tour of Canada, and return to Tokyo Opera City, Wigmore Hall, Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall, La Folle Journée in France.
The group’s many broadcasts include appearances on MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) Deutschlandradio Kultur, ARTE TV, Radio France Musique, BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM (which named Eventide disc of the week on its release), and it has enjoyed artistic collaborations with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and period ensemble Les Inventions. In 2005, the group launched its career by taking first prize and the audience vote for best performance at the International Choral Competition in Gorizia, Italy, and the following year it won two first prizes at the international choral competition in Tolosa, Spain. In 2013, it was nominated for seven CARA awards, winning in the categories for Best Classical Album and Best Classical Song.
Wherever the eight singers travel, they win glowing reviews. According to London's Evening Standard, “the searing chromatic harmonies of Lotti’s glorious Crucifixus stunned everybody into appreciative silence", while International Record Review praised their “exhilarating freshness of sound, unanimity of ensemble and superb diction.”
Outreach and education are central to the work of VOCES8. The group leads an innovative series of music education workshops reaching some 20,000 people across the world each year. Much of this work takes place at the group's home, the Gresham Centre, a newly opened centre for vocal excellence in the heart of the City of London. This education work has received praise from UNESCO and since 2005 the group has raised £1 million towards music education in the UK. This season VOCES8 continues as resident ensemble at Bedford School, Ardingly College, Bradfield College and The Grey Coat Hospital, and begins a new relationship with Birmingham University. It also leads the Milton Abbey Summer School.
VOCES8 publishes both its own arrangements and education materials with Edition Peters. This includes the VOCES8 Songbook and the VOCES8 Method, which is translated into French and German, and will be released in Japanese and Chinese this season.
With a growing reputation for stunning concerts and innovative education work, VOCES8's charismatic music-making is winning plaudits wherever it is heard. “Radiant and luminous are adjectives that are perhaps overused in describing choral sound, but in this case they are fully deserved.” (Stephen Eddins, AllMusic).