About the ensemble

Ensemble Pro Victoria were founded at the University of Cambridge in early 2015 for the performance of early music. Largely performing one-to-a-part, the group focusses on Iberian polyphony and pre-reformation English music, with a recent focus on choirbook performance from a replica Eton choirbook lectern, using high definition choirbook facsimiles.

The group is heavily involved in the ARHC-funded Tudor Partbooks research project, led by Professor Magnus Williamson. Current work for the project includes researching the effects of singing in choirbook formation as opposed to modern practice, and road-testing and premiering reconstructions of incomplete works from the pre-reformation period.

Under the direction of Toby Ward, the group has enjoyed being ensemble-in-residence at the Newcastle Early Music Festival for two years, involving collaborations with Newcastle University’s chamber choir, New Vocal Ensemble and the Choir of Hexham Abbey to deliver Early Music, reimagined, Continental polychoral music, and Music of the Abbey Church, the latter exploring space in liturgical pre-reformation musical practice with the choirbook lectern.

In an effort to emerge from lockdown performing and in good form, EPV launched ‘Live from St. Mary’s, London’, a four-concert live-streamed series freely available to watch on Facebook and their website. The first concert of the series, ‘A return to performance’ is available to watch now. Their first album, Victoria from Castle Howard, recorded on one chilly January day in 2019 from the private chapel of Castle Howard, represents their first serious exploration into one-to-a-part singing in a building of similar size to the royal and private chapels in which the repertoire was conceived and performed.

Since the group’s debut in 2015, they have expanded their forces twice for large-scale performances, including Monteverdi Vespers and Bach Christmas Oratorio 1-3, with guest conductors Adam Hickox and Richard Gowers, and period instrumentalists from the Royal Academy of Music and the RWCMD, led by Professor Margaret Faultless (Cambridge University, RAM, OAE) and Jeremy West (HMSC, RWCMD). Upcoming concerts in 2021 include three such expansions; secular Monteverdi with instruments in the Early Music at Hexham series in February, Bach St John Passion with Endelienta Baroque in March conducted by Seb Gillot, and Pärt Passio, welcoming Richard Gowers back as our guest conductor, at his church, St Saviour’s, Pimlico.

The ensemble benefits from a close relationship with artist Gabriella Morris, who has created stunning pieces of art and design since 2015. Each project sees a new commission inspired by the programme and repertoire. Her commissions can be viewed on our previous events page.

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