Auckland Scoop

Rock Stars of Renaissance Vocal Music Perform in NZ

Press Release – Chamber Music New Zealand

MEDIA RELEASE: For Immediate Release
Rock Stars of Renaissance Vocal Music Perform in New Zealand in October

“The rock stars of Renaissance vocal music” – New York Times

Internationally-acclaimed Renaissance choir The Tallis Scholars tour to New Zealand for the first time in October performing in four cathedrals, as part of the Chamber Music New Zealand 2013 ‘Kaleidoscopes’ season. .

The Tallis Scholars begin their tour performing at Christchurch’s Cardboard Cathedral on Saturday 19 October before concerts in Wellington’s St Paul’s Cathedral, St John’s Cathedral in Napier and Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell. The vocal ensemble regularly tours the world, but their October visit is their first to New Zealand.

Celebrating 40 years since their formation, The Tallis Scholars have more than 70 award-winning recordings and are acknowledged as having done more than any other vocal group to establish sacred vocal music in the Western classical repertoire.

The vocal ensemble recently shot to popular public attention after their famous work Spem in alium featured in the controversial literary sensation Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James. So many readers of the book downloaded The Tallis Scholars’ recording that it rose to Number One in the UK’s Classical Singles Chart.

Composed around 1570 in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Spem in alium is written for eight unaccompanied choirs of five voices each, and is one of the most remarkable choral works ever written.

The 10 members of The Tallis Scholars will be joined 30 New Zealand singers to perform the 40-part work in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. The New Zealand Choral Federation held auditions for singers from around New Zealand to be part of the local choirs and choristers hail from Auckland, Hamilton, Hawkes Bay, Wellington and Christchurch.

The Tallis Scholars musical director and founder Peter Phillips said he was thrilled Spem in alium had attracted a large new audience. “It is one of the most remarkable achievements of the human brain, an extraordinary and moving piece written for 40 individual singers. After performing Spem in alium for nearly 40 years I still cannot conceive how Thomas Tallis set about writing it.”

As well as this stunning piece, the programme for the New Zealand tour also includes other works made famous by The Tallis Scholars: Allegri’s Miserere and Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli; Elizabethan motets by William Byrd; and works from two of the most beautiful contemporary composers for voices, John Tavener and Arvo Pärt.

The Tallis Scholars perform in Christchurch, Wellington, Napier and Auckland from 19-23 October. Tickets for concerts in Christchurch, Wellington and Napier are available through Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) or at Tickets for the Auckland concert at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell are available by phoning 0800 BUY TICKETS (289 842) or at For more information visit

Chamber Music New Zealand acknowledges major funding from Creative New Zealand.



Thomas Tallis | Loquebantur variis linguis

Palestrina | Missa Papae Marcelli

Allegri | Miserere

John Tavener | The Lamb

Arvo Pärt | Magnificat

Josquin | Absalon fili mi

William Byrd | Laudibus in sanctis

Thomas Tallis | Spem in alium performed with New Zealand choristers (Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland only)

William Byrd | Tribue Domine (Napier only)

Content Sourced from
Original url