Ensemble Pro Victoria is established as one of the Britain’s finest young early music ensembles (Early Music Review). Founded at Cambridge University in 2015 by Humphrey Thompson (baritone, early music editor) and Toby Ward (artistic director), the ensemble put down roots in the rich tradition of combined historical research and high-level performance, in partnership with their academic adviser, professor Magnus Williamson (Newcastle University).
Ensemble Pro Victoria was awarded joint-first prize in the London International Festival of Early Music Young Ensemble Competition 2020, catapulting them to recognition and subsequent signing with Scotland’s Gramophone award-winning classical label, Delphian Records. Their first professional album, ‘Robert Fayrfax, Music for Tudor Kings and Queens’ was released exactly 500 years since Robert Fayrfax’s death in 2021. Music for Tudor Kings and Queens was critically acclaimed, with reviews in Gramophone magazine, Early Music Review and on Radio 3’s Early Music Show with the great accolade of five stars and the front cover feature of Choir and Organ magazine.
The ensemble made a celebrated Radio 3 debut in 2021 with a reconstruction of Vespers as Fayrfax would have heard it in 1521, broadcast live from the chapel of Hampton Court Palace, and repeated on the day of Fayrfax’s quincentenary.
Recent concerts have included Vocal Music of the English Baroque to the London International Early Music Festival, Fayrfax and his Tudor contemporaries to the Cambridge Early Music Festival and New College, Oxford, and Buxtehude Membra Jesu Nostri to St John’s, Holland Park. The group has expanded forces with instruments a number of times previously to perform Pärt Passio and Bach St John Passion in St Mary’s, Bourne St, Belgravia, and Bach Christmas Oratorio/Monteverdi 1610 Vespers in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge.
In 2021 Ensemble Pro Victoria founded the Harrogate Advent Festival in partnership with Anthony Gray and the church of St Wilfrid, Harrogate. It is hoped the Advent Festival will be a flagship choral festival for the North of England, centred around a programme for young singers and organists in Harrogate and the surrounding area. The 2022 festival falls 24-27th November and includes a number of concerts, recitals, Advent services and workshops for singers.
Ensemble Pro Victoria’s second album with Delphian Records, ‘Tudor Music Afterlives’ follows the posthumous traces and remains of great Catholic music after the Reformation, and will be released in October 2022.
Young classical ensembles receive little central financial support and rely on the generosity of supporters to continue engaging young professionals and developing projects. If you would like to support the work of the ensemble by becoming a Friend of EPV, please visit www.ensembleprovictoria.com/friends.
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.