THE Gesualdo Six will lead the National Centre for Early Music’s celebrations for Early Music Day 2021 on March 21 by embarking on an online whistle-stop musical tour of York.
The Cambridge vocal consort’s concert will be a streamed at 3pm as part of a day when musical organisations throughout Europe will come together for a joyful programme of events to mark JS Bach’s birthday.
During its residency – an alternative G6 summit – The Gesualdo Six will spend almost a week in York performing in a variety of locations on a musical trek around the city that will be filmed and shared in March.
The film is designed to celebrate the beauty of this historic city and its musical influences, showcasing many of York’s venues that have been unable to open their doors since last March.
Directed by Owain Park, The Gesualdo Six brings together some of Britain’s finest young consort singers: countertenors Guy James and Andrew Leslie Cooper; tenors Josh Cooter and Joseph Wicks; baritone Michael Craddock and bass Sam Mitchell.
Formed in March 2014 for a performance of Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday in the chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge, the ensemble gave more than 150 performances at major festivals in the UK and abroad in its first five years.
The Gesualdo Six has been awarded the Choir of the Year prize at the Classical Music Digital Awards and its album Fading was awarded Vocal Recording of the Year by Limelight.
Looking forward to the March residency, NCEM director Delma Tomlin says: “We are delighted to welcome our good friends The Gesualdo Six, who will be spending time in York, taking advantage of some of the atmospheric acoustics within the city walls and performing a concert, a very special treat for Early Music Day.
“The concert will be shared with our friends and colleagues in Europe and beyond, as we join together for this wonderful annual celebration.”
Against the backdrop of the Brexit severance from Europe, Delma says: “I’d also like to say a special thank-you to REMA, the Early Music Network in Europe, for their hard work helping to make sure the celebrations continue.”
She adds: “Other delights in store in March include performances by many artists who have supported us over this difficult year, recording behind closed doors at St Margaret’s Church [the NCEM’s home in Walmgate, York]. You might not be able to be with us in person, but we hope you can still join us for a feast of fabulous music.”
Director Owain Park welcomes the chance for The Gesualdo Six to undertake a residency in York. “After a challenging year, it has been a delight to put our minds to this incredibly exciting project,” he says.
“We have long admired the work of the NCEM in York and so it has been an immense privilege to curate a musical journey that weaves through the city’s historic venues. Chiming with the NCEM’s spring celebrations, we aim to highlight the extraordinary power of collaboration and unity in a world where the seeds of division are increasingly sown.”
Delma concludes: “Venues for the filming in York will be confirmed very soon. Please check our website, ncem.co.uk, and social media platforms for regular updates and more details of this year’s programme of Early Music Day celebrations.
“The NCEM has put in place many changes to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the artists, audience and staff. All performances and filming will take place following current Government Covid-19 guidelines.”