7.30pm, Saturday 19 May 2018
Pre-concert talk at 7pm
St Pancras Parish Church, NW1 2BA


The Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford

The Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford
Owen Rees Director


This year’s gala concert presents a gorgeous programme of music exploring composers’ responses to loss and the need for remembrance: remembrance of World War I as well as the marking of personal loss in texts dating back to Biblical times.

The Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford

The Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford The Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford is among the finest and most active university choirs in the United Kingdom. Its extensive concert schedule involves appearances across the UK and abroad, including work with such professional ensembles as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Brook Street Band, and the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra. It regularly tours abroad, and recent concert tours have included Taiwan, China, the USA, Sri Lanka, Italy, Sardinia, Portugal, Spain, France, the Low Countries, and Germany.

The choir’s wide-ranging repertory, on recordings and in concerts and services, includes a rich array of Renaissance and Baroque music and contemporary works, including annual commissions. The group broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio, and during the academic year it provides the music for regular services in the splendid Baroque chapel of The Queen’s College. The choir’s recent CD releases are on the Signum and Avie labels. 2013 saw the release of a CD of Dixit Dominus settings by Handel and Alessandro Scarlatti, which was hailed as “a disc of unusually high calibre” by Early Music Review and awarded five stars by Choir and Organ. “Carols from Queen’s” enjoyed nine weeks in the Specialist Classical Charts, was “Drive Featured Album of the Week” on Classic FM, and was a Telegraph Christmas pick. The choir’s lastest disc, “A New Heaven”, released 2017 and including several premiere recordings, went straight to number one in its first week of sales, and BBC Music Magazine commented that the recording shows “the singers at their radiant best”. The choir has also recorded for film at the famous Abbey Road Studios, and appears on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack of the Warner-Brothers film “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”.

Owen Rees

Owen Rees is Professor of Music at the University of Oxford, and Fellow in Music and Organist (Director of Music) at The Queen’s College. He directs the Choir of The Queen’s College and also conducts the professional early music choir Contrapunctus. His work as a conductor has taken him to many parts of the world, including the USA, China, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Norway, and the Netherlands, and he is much in demand internationally as a leader of choral workshops.

His recordings have three times been shortlisted for the Gramophone Early Music Award, have been selected as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone and Choral and Song Choice in BBC Music Magazine, and featured in the “20 Classical Recordings of the Year” 2015 in The Sunday Times. His recordings with Queen’s and other choirs, on the Signum, Hyperion, and Avie labels, encompass a remarkably wide variety of choral repertory from the Renaissance to contemporary works. BBC Music Magazine recently hailed his interpretations of choral music as “revelatory and even visionary”. He has brought to the concert hall and recording studio substantial repertories of magnificent Renaissance music, particularly from Portugal, Spain, and England, including many previously unknown or little-known works which he himself has discovered and edited. His interpretations of these repertories have been acclaimed as “rare examples of scholarship and musicianship combining to result in performances that are both impressive and immediately attractive to the listener”, and he has been described as “one of the most energetic and persuasive voices” in this field.

As a scholar, Owen has published widely on many of the foremost Renaissance composers, including Josquin, Morales, Guerrero, Victoria, and Byrd. He is renowned as one of the world’s foremost authorities on Portuguese Renaissance music, and appears regularly on BBC Radio 3 in discussions of early music. His next major book, to be published by Cambridge University Press, is a study of Victoria’s famous Requiem of 1603 and of the whole genre of polyphonic Requiem music in the late Renaissance and early Baroque.