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Robert Harre-Jones (Counter-tenor)

Born: Corydon, England

The English counter-tenor, Robert Harre-Jones [Robert Jones], was born in Croydon of Welsh parentage, and educated at Trinity School, where he gained the FRCO diploma and ran his own parish choir while still at school. There, as a member of Trinity Boys Choir, he sang in a number of concerts and recordings with the Accademia Monteverdiana under Dennis Stevens, including several pieces which are now in the Orlando Consort’s repertoire. Also a fairly serious pianist and organist in those days, winning a scholarship to the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music in London, where his harmony tutor was Robert Langston, organist of St. Bride’s church, Fleet Street, in the City of London. He gave a lunchtime organ recital in the church in 1974 and had the ambition to become Director of Music from that time onwards.

In 1975 Robert Harre-Jones became a Music Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford, where he sang in the Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford under Simon Preston, studying singing with David Johnston and organ with the late Nicholas Danby. Following graduation, he held posts as Lay Clerk at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle r and Westminster Cathedral before embarking on a career as one of Britain's leading consort singers, featuring on award-winning recordings with the The Tallis Scholars (Director: Peter Phillips), the Orlando Consort and the Gabrieli Consort (Director: Paul McCreesh). He sang regularly with The Tallis Scholars until 1998 (and continue to be wheeled out for the occasional performance of Tallis’s 40-part “Spem in alium”). He still enjoys working with the Gabrieli Consort, featuring as a consort soloist on recordings ranging from their debut disc, "A Venetian Coronation", dating from 1990, to "Music for the Duke of Lerma", released in 2003. In 1988, he became a founder member of the Orlando Consort.

Robert Harre-Jones maintains a lifelong interest in piano and organ playing and choral directing,. Despite the lack of a serious musical background (although there have always been good amateur singers in his family and his father continues to sing in a choir at the age of 80), he found himself at the age of 17 with the somewhat eccentric ambition of holding a London church post in conjunction with a career as a singer of early music. This ambition was spectacularly realised in 1988, when he succeeded his former tutor at St. Bride’s (a post which he still holds). Since then he has directed the choir for numerous services, concerts and recordings, the high point probably being the service attended by Her Majesty the Queen in November 1997 to mark the 50th anniversary of the church's post-war re-dedication.,

As a soloist, Robert Harre-Jones particularly enjoys singing J.S. Bach, but has also featured in a few world premieres, notably Jonathan Dove’s The Far Theatricals of Day, for soloists, choir and brass quintet, in 2003.

Robert Harre-Jones also holds a number of teaching posts and has been an examiner for the Associated Board since 2004, working in the Far East as well as in the UK. He has been associated with many leading British choral societies and has been conductor of the Eastcote Choral Society since January 2009.

Married since 1981 to Eleanor, a music teacher whom Robert Harre-Jones met at Oxford. They have four sons; one a promising baritone, who also shares his father's love of cricket and Indian food, a second who is a budding counter-tenor and rugby forward, a third who is a former chorister of St. John’s, Cambridge and a fourth, named after Orlando Gibbons.

Source: Orlando Consort Website; St Bride's Church, Fleet Street Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (March 2017)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Peter Phillips


Member of The Tallis Scholars:
V-1 (1986): Chorale

Links to other Sites

Orlando Consort: Old Boys Biographies

St Bride's Church, Fleet Street: Music Staff

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 06:30