The Tudor Consort
The Tudor Consort is a specialist early choral group based in Wellington, New Zealand, and is made up of the region’s finest choral singers. The group was formed in 1986 by Simon Ravens with the intention of performing lesser-known choral music from the late Medieval and Renaissance periods, laying special emphasis on English sixteenth century music. The repertoire performed by the Consort made it, in the words of the local media of the time, “a unique group in New Zealand”.
Authentic performance practice is a major aim of The Tudor Consort, and consideration of ensemble size, pronunciation, pitch, vocal style and ornamentation feature strongly in the work of the group. Under Simon Ravens the group often performed original editions, reflecting Simon’s own study in Britain under David Wulstan. Simon, with The Tudor Consort, pioneered the use of liturgical reconstruction as a method of presenting early sacred music. Media and critical reaction was immediate and overwhelmingly positive.
Succeeding directors substantially developed both the repertoire and audience base of The Tudor Consort. Peter Walls directed performances from the early baroque through to Mozart orchestral masses, and also directed the choir in its first commercial recording of Peter Philips motets for the Naxos label. Alastair Carey led the choir to international acclaim, claiming silver and bronze awards at the prestigious 35th International Choral Competition in Tolosa, Spain in 2003, and again at the 37th International Choral Competition two years later.
Michael Stewart became Music Director in 2008, bringing his passion for 20th-century choral music as well as exploring the works of the early Tudor composers. Highlights include critically acclaimed performances of Handel's Messiah and Israel in Egypt, JS Bach's Christmas Oratorio, and Haydn’s Nelson Mass.
As a result of this continuing evolution The Tudor Consort continues to be admired both locally and nationally as one of New Zealand’s finest and most innovative early choral ensembles.