Artists

Oxford Camerata

1984
Voice/Instrument:

Biography

Oxford Camerata was founded by Jeremy Summerly, David Hurley, and Henrietta Cowling and gave its first concert at the Maison Francaise in Oxford on 22 May 1984. Since then the choir has given concerts throughout Europe and has made almost thirty CD recordings. The core group comprises twelve singers with or without keyboard accompaniment, but for certain projects the choir has been made up of as few as four singers and as many as twenty. After a performance of Bach's St Matthew Passion in the Snape Maltings on Good Friday 1986, Sir Peter Pears, who was at the performance, agreed to become the Oxford Camerata's first patron: sadly Sir Peter died within days but his place was immediately taken by Philip Ledger. Not long afterwards Lord Bullock also agreed to become patron to the choir; the Camerata was saddened to learn of Lord Bullock's death on 2 February 2004.

While the Camerata was initially recognised as a specifically early-music group, since the early 1990s the choir has expanded its repertory to include music from Gregorian chant to the present day. Hand in hand with this went the formation of the Oxford Camerata Instrumental Ensemble in 1992 and the Oxford Camerata Baroque Orchestra in 2007. Like the choir itself, the instrumental ensembles are of flexible size and can comprise from 4 to 20 players working with either modern or period instruments. The Oxford Camerata is regarded as one of the finest ensembles of its type in Europe, and in recognition of this the Camerata was awarded a European Cultural Prize by the Fördergemeinschaft der Europäischen Wirtschaft in 1995 (see picture below).

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