Sospiri is an Oxford-based amateur choir, formed in 2006 by composer John Duggan and singer Christopher Watson. They met singing in Magdala, David Skinner’s mixed voice choir at Magdalen College, and quickly discovered a shared passion for Gregorian Chant which had been kindled during their time in Westminster Cathedral Choir – John was a boy chorister there under Colin Mawby, and Christopher a lay clerk more recently under James O’Donnell and Martin Baker. The original members of the choir all came from within the ranks of Magdala. Some, like Susanna Fairbairn, have gone on to sing professionally, and the membership has gradually increased so that now people travel to Oxford from Birmingham, Edinburgh, London and Kent to take part in Sospiri projects.
Their discography includes A Multitude of Voices [CR026] and Gloria [cr033] for Convivium Records, a collection of Lamentations on the Naxos label and Requiem, a disc containing among other things John Duggan’s original set of six WWI pieces, which is available on The Gift of Music label. Sospiri has a particular focus on juxtaposing old pieces with newly written ones, with the unifying thread of texts connecting them. The choir performs concerts regularly in Oxford, has toured France and Italy, and for several years has sung a termly Latin Vespers in the chapel of Merton College, their service from January 2014 being broadcast worldwide by the European Broadcasting Union.