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Countertop Ensemble
The District Eight (Vocal Ensemble)

Founded: Washington, D.C., USA

The Countertop Ensemble = The Distict Eight is a a distinguished small vocal ensemble based in Washington, D.C.,

The eight-member Countertop Ensemble takes its name from its original interest in three-part repertoire with an alto line, sung by male counter-tenors, as the top voice. Hence, the “countertop” ensemble. The ensemble continues to explore literature composed for unusual groupings of voices, often upper voices with two soprano and two male alto parts.

The District Eight has been acclaimed by The Washington Post for its "fine singers who blend and balance" and its "consistently beautiful performances." The District Eight brings a lucid and colorful sound to a wide and fascinating repertoire, ranging from renaissance polyphony and English church anthems to modern American compositions and contemporary spirituals. Their sensitive and evocative interpretations of choral music have captivated audiences since 2010, "because of their exotic inscrutability..."

The District Eight has appeared at the Washington Early Music Festival, with the Norfolk Chamber Consort, The College of William and Mary, and the University of Tampa; as well as at St. James Methodist Church, Greenville, NC, St. John's Cathedral in Jacksonville, Christ Church in Bradenton, Sarasota, FL, and St. Mary Mother of God in Washington, DC. In 2010 the ensemble joined forces with The Orchestra of the Seventeenth Century to present the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610.

The District Eight's first CD was released in January 2014, and features repertoire chosen by the singers themselves. The 2015-2016 season includes a Popular American & English Songs, Barbershop, and Spirituals, and the other concerts include both modern and early, secular and sacred works. Our final concert of the season, in May 2016, will be the Gesualdo Responsories.

Source: The Distict Eight Website; Bits & pieces from other sources
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (March 2016)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Allen Shaffer

Vocal Ensemble

Video: BWV 106 [2010]

Links to other Sites

The District Eight (Official Website)
The District Eight on Facebook


Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 01:37