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The Commotio choir has the goal of promoting neglected contemporary choral repertory. Within this sphere, the group has pursued diverse programming ranging from newly commissioned works to crossover pieces. Commotio was formed in Oxford, England, in August of 1999 and comprises about 30 singers. A smaller offshoot, Commotissimo, was founded in 2012 in order to allow the performance of smaller works for six to eight singers. The group's co-founder was Oxford graduate Matthew Berry, who remains its conductor. Commotio's membership includes students and residents of the Oxford area; the choir has no formal association with Oxford University but schedules its activities to conform to the university's calendar, performing about five concerts a year. Membership is by audition, held once annually, and many members have sung with the choir for some years. Commotio's focus on contemporary music has been exclusive. The choir has commissioned new works from Francis Pott, Edward Cowie, and John Duggan, among others, and it has championed the work of younger composers, not all British, such as Anna Thorvaldsdottir even when not giving premieres. Commotio has also performed landmarks of the modern choral repertory, including Paul Hindemith's Mass and the Requiem of Alfred Schnittke. The choir was scheduled to tour Japan in 2020. On recordings, Commotio has been mostly associated with the Naxos label. The choir's debut recording, an album of contemporary South African music, appeared in 2006. Its Naxos debut featured two works by composer James Whitbourn, the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis and Luminosity, following that up with In the Heart of Things: Choral Music by Francis Pott. Since then, the group has released six more albums on Naxos, including a pair covering music by the prominent choral composer Bob Chilcott. Many of the choir's albums have reached the top levels of Britain's Specialist Classical Chart, with The Rose in the Middle of Winter: Carols by Bob Chilcott, ascending to the No. 1 position. In 2020, Commotio released a second Pott album, At First Light and Word.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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