The Sixteen is one of the jewels in the musical crown of Britain. Internationally recognised as one of the finest choirs of our time, it is admired for performances combining clarity and precision with beauty and dramatic intensity. It concentrates on the heritage of early English polyphony, masterpieces of the Renaissance and Baroque, and a diversity of twentieth century choral work. The choir is complimented for larger scale works by its orchestra, The Symphony of Harmony and Invention, and through it Harry Christophers brings fresh insights to the music of Purcell, Monteverdi, J.S. Bach and Georg Frideric Handel. Many prize-winning recordings reflect the quality and inspiration of the group's work.
Recent years have seen the group's debuts at the Vienna Musikverein, the Brisbane, Covent Garden, Halle, Istanbul and Lucerne festivals, and at the Lisbon Opera in a new production of Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse. In 2000 The Sixteen made a Choral Pilgrimage to the finest English cathedrals, returning pre-reformation music written for these buildings to its home. This met with a huge public response. In coming months the group makes major tours of Japan and the USA, returns to the Covent Garden Festival, New York's Lincoln Center, Manchester's Bridgewater Hall and London's Barbican Centre, and makes debuts at the Scarlatti Festival, Italy, Theatre des Champs-Elysees, Paris, and the Belfast, Brighton, Chicester, Norwich and Three Choirs festivals.
The Sixteen's seventy CD recordings have won many accolades, including two Grands Prix du Disque, two Deutsche Schallplatten prizes and the 1992 Gramophone Early Music Award for the first of the five volume series Music from the Eton Choirbook. Their Igor Stravinsky and Francis Poulenc disc with the BBC Philharmonic and Frank Martin disc won Diapason d'Or awards in 1995 and 1996. Recordings span music over six centuries, from simple plainchant to the most virtuosic 20th century choral writing: medieval English music, Robert Carver, Sheppard, Taverner, Tallis, Byrd, the Portuguese 17th century composers Melgas and Rebelo, Purcell, J.S. Bach, G.F. Handel's oratorios, F. Poulenc, Benjamin Britten, I. Stravinsky, Messiaen, Lesur, Leonard Bernstein and Tavener.