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Vasari Singers

The Vasari Singers are among Britain's leading small choirs, with a busy schedule of performances in British cathedrals and concert venues and on broadcast media. The group has a large repertory but is particularly recognized for its commissioning and performance of contemporary music. The Vasari Singers were founded in 1980 by Jeremy Backhouse, a former Canterbury Cathedral boy chorister who had worked as an editor for the EMI Classics label and the Boosey & Hawkes publishing firm. Backhouse has remained the group's director, and his consistent presence has been a factor in creating its unusually close ensemble sound. A 1988 Choir of the Year honor in a competition sponsored by the grocery chain Sainsbury's brought the choir's talents to new audiences. In addition to performances at the BBC Proms and other major concert venues, the Vasari Singers have appeared at many of Britain's large cathedrals, including Canterbury, Gloucester, Liverpool, and Ripon, and it has held cathedral residencies at Canterbury Cathedral and elsewhere. The group also appears on the BBC 3 and Classic FM radio networks and performs for charitable events, including an annual concert benefiting the Michael Varah Foundation. From the beginning, new music was heard at the Vasari Singers' concerts, and the group's pace in commissioning new works has picked up. The Singers have commissioned more than 20 new pieces from British composers since the year 2000, among them the Requiem of Gabriel Jackson (2008); ten of these were placed in 2005 when the group offered a concert of world premieres at St. John's, Smith Square in London. The Vasari Singers have a catalog of some 30 recordings dating back to the early 1990s. They have recorded for the Guild, Signum, and Naxos labels, among others, recording a range of music from Renaissance to contemporary works. Some, such as 2003's Deep Purple: Close Harmony Arrangements, are designed to showcase the choir's virtuoso singing. The 2005 album Anthems for the 21st Century included selections from the group's large repertory of new British music. The Singers released Heaven Full of Stars in observance of its 40th anniversary in 2020; the album, which focused on sacred music with celestial imagery, was one of several thematic releases the group has issued.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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Discography

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