Formed in 1988 by the Early Music Network of Great Britain, the Orlando Consort rapidly achieved a reputation as one of Europe’s most expert and consistently challenging groups performing repertoire from the years 1050 to 1550. Their work successfully combines captivating entertainment and fresh scholarly insight; the unique imagination and originality of their programming together with their superb vocal skills has marked the Consort out as the outstanding leaders of their field. The Consort has performed at many of Britain’s top festivals (including the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival) and has in recent years made visits to France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, the USA and Canada, South America, Singapore, Japan, Greece, Russia, Austria, Slovenia, Portugal, and Spain.
The Consort’s impressive discography for Saydisc, Metronome, Linn, Deutsche Grammophon, and Harmonia Mundi USA includes a collection of music by John Dunstaple and The Call of the Phoenix, which were selected as Early Music CDs of the Year by Gramophone; their CDs of music by Compère, Machaut, Ockeghem, Josquin, Popes and Anti-Popes, Saracen and Dove, and Passion have also all been short-listed. Machaut’s Messe de Notre Dame and Scattered Rhymes, an outstanding new work by British composer Tarik O’Regan and featuring the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, was short-listed for a BBC Music Magazine Award. The Consort is currently pursuing an epic project to record all the songs of Guillaume de Machaut for Hyperion; the first release (Le Voir Dit) was selected by New York Times critics as one of their favorite classical CD releases of 2013 and has since been followed by five much-praised recordings. Also on the Hyperion label are an anthology of music by Loyset Compère and a survey of 14th-century English music, Beneath the Northern Star.
The Consort’s performances also embrace the spheres of contemporary music and improvisation: to-date they have performed over 30 world premières and they have created striking collaborations with the jazz group Perfect Houseplants and, for a project exploring historic Portuguese and Goan music, the brilliant tabla player Kuljit Bhamra. Recent concert highlights include a return visit to New York’s Carnegie Hall, the new Boulezsaal in Berlin, and a debut at the Salzburg Festival. The group continues to tour internationally with its grand new project presenting Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent masterpiece La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc with a soundscape of music from the period in which the film is set, namely the early 15th century.