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.