The vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis – literally ‘Cappella des prés’ – champions the music of Josquin des Prez and the polyphonists of the 15th and 16th centuries. Based in the Dutch city of ’s-Hertogenbosch, the group combines historically informed performance practice with inventive programs and original interpretations based on scholarly research and artistic insight. As in Josquin’s time, the members of Cappella Pratensis perform from a central music stand, singing from the original mensural notation scored in a large choirbook. This approach, together with attention to such factors as the chant origins of the polyphonic repertoire, the modal system on which it is based, the influence of solmization, and the linguistic basis, creates an intense engagement with the music.
Besides regular appearances at concert venues in the Netherlands and Belgium, Cappella Pratensis has performed at leading international festivals and concert series throughout Europe, North America and Japan. The group has been ensemble-in-residence at Harvard University, the Fondation Royaumont (France), and Boston University, giving courses, presenting concerts and working with distinguished musicians. The group’s CD recordings have met with critical acclaim and distinctions from the press (including the Diapason d’Or and the Prix Choc).
Cappella Pratensis also passes on insights into vocal polyphony and performance from original notation – both among professionals and amateurs – through masterclasses, multi-media presentations, collaboration with institutions, an annual summer course as part of the Laus Polyphoniae festival in Antwerp, and training young singers within the group itself. The ensemble is a partner with the universities of Leuven and Oxford in the digitization and valorization of all the brilliant musical sources made in the workshops of the early sixteenth-century music scribe Petrus Alamire.