High-quality singing, innovative programmes and communicative performances are the hallmarks of Nonsuch Singers. The choir has gained a reputation for stylistic versatility in a cappella and accompanied works ranging from the Renaissance to the present day. It has frequently sought to make less familiar music accessible by exploring connections between works by established composers and lesser- known contemporary works. Concerts have featured a great many works by living British composers.
The choir of some 40 members typically gives six or seven concerts a year, regularly performing with some of the UK’s leading instrumental ensembles and nest young vocal soloists.
Founded in 1977, Nonsuch Singers owes its name to the location of its first—informal —rehearsal which was held on the site of Nonsuch Palace.
The choir has had four Music Directors over the course of its history: Garrett O’Brien, Michael Hodges (from 1981 to 1996), Graham Caldbeck (1996 to 2012) and
Tom Bullard, appointed in January 2013. Highlights have included Monteverdi’s Vespers with His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts at St Martin-in-the-Fields (recommended as ‘Critic’s Choice’ in e Times); a critically acclaimed concert of French Baroque works, edited by Lionel Sawkins, with an orchestra led by Catherine Mackintosh and soloists including Andrew Kennedy and Emma Kirkby; and the rst complete modern performance of Joseph- Nicolas-Pancrace Royer’s opera, Zaïde, Reine de Grenade, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
Nonsuch Singers has given a number of world premieres, including John Tavener’s Exhortation and Kohima in the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall (televised) and Wild Ways, Roxanna Panufnik’s setting of Zen poems for double choir and shakuhachi (a Japanese flute).
In October 2013 the choir was privileged to give the first UK performance of To the Field of Stars by Gabriel Jackson.