Vasari Singers was founded 40 years ago this year and is among the leading chamber choirs in Britain. Under the direction of its founder conductor Jeremy Backhouse, the chamber choir performs a wide range of repertoire from Renaissance to contemporary music.
The choir is recognised widely for its Virtuosity, Versatility and Variety, performing with passion and sensitivity to exacting standards and considerable acclaim.
Barry Millington of the London Evening Standard rated our recent concert at St Peter’s Eaton Square at four stars, describing the Bach motets as “well-disciplined, tautly rhythmic performances” and Handel’s Dixit Dominus as “projected…with exhilarating verve and brio”.
The choir performs regularly at major concert venues and other locations in London and elsewhere, including abroad. We enjoy our involvement in various charitable, corporate and similar events, including annual performances in aid of the Michael Varah Foundation.
Cathedral residencies are an important part of the choir’s year, with regular visits to Canterbury and other cities performing the music for services and other occasions. The choir is heard frequently on Classic FM and BBC Radio 3, including live appearances on In Tune with Sean Rafferty.
“This talented and versatile choir deserves praise not only for its skilful singing but also for commissioning work that refreshes the British choral repertoire.”
Stephen PritchardThe Guardian
New music is central to the choir’s activities and since 2000 Vasari has commissioned over 25 works from British composers. Our most recent commission, Under the shadow of His wing by Jonathan Rathbone, is a substantial work which derives its structure from the vespers service. We first performed the Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis in a liturgical setting at choral evensong in Lincoln Cathedral in April 2014 and our world premiere performance of the full work was extremely well received by a capacity audience in St Alban’s Church, Holborn, London in October 2014.
This Vasari commissioned work was the first to be recorded and released under our own label, VasariMedia, and joins a large collection of premiere recordings in our extensive discography, many of which are also Vasari commissions.
Our world premiere recording of our 2008 commission of a Requiem by Gabriel Jackson reached number 5 in the specialist classical charts and our world premiere recording of our commission of the oratorio The Cloud of Unknowing by Francis Pott was MusicWeb International’s CD of the Year in 2007. In Gramophone Magazine’s November 2005 review of Anthems for the 21st Century (a compilation recording of works mainly commissioned by Vasari for our 25th anniversary), Vasari was described as “a consistently outstanding choir” and “one of the most accomplished small choral groups of our time”.
Many of our other recordings have also received high acclaim. Our 2012 release of a new collection of Christmas works, A Winter’s Light, achieved chart success and our 2007 Noel Nouvelet was MusicWeb International’s Recording of the Month. MusicWeb International’s review of our recording of Will Todd’s Mass in Blue described Vasari as “one of the world’s finest choirs”; our two CDs of works by the French composer Marcel Dupré both received Gramophone’s ‘Editor’s Choice’ and our Requiem Aeternam CD was Gramophone Award-nominated.