Gabrieli History

Our Roots

Gabrieli are world-renowned interpreters of great vocal and instrumental repertoire spanning from the renaissance to the present day.  Formed as an early music ensemble by Paul McCreesh in 1982, we have both outgrown and remained true to our original identity. Over thirty-five years, our repertoire has expanded beyond any expectation, but McCreesh’s ever-questioning spirit and expressive musicianship, together with a healthy degree of iconoclasm, remain constant features and are continually reflected in dynamic performances. Our repertoire includes major works of the oratorio tradition, virtuosic a cappella programmes of music from many centuries and mould-breaking reconstructions of music for historical events.

Our Reputation

Gabrieli are acclaimed interpreters of Handel oratorios and Bach Passions and our recordings have garnered numerous international awards, including Gramophone Awards for recordings of Haydn The Creation (2008 Choral Award) and A New Venetian Coronation (2012 Early Music Award), BBC Music Magazine Awards for Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts and Britten War Requiem, and a Grammy nomination in 2010 for the a cappella disc A Spotless Rose.

Our Partnerships

A number of strong relationships have defined our international profile over many years and such partnerships remain at the heart of our activities. For nearly 15 years, in conjunction with Martin Randall Travel, we have pioneered new areas of ‘cultural tourism’ in creating festivals of music in European historic centres, developing new programmes specifically inspired by the exquisite buildings and cities in which they are performed. We were resident artists at Brinkburn Music in Northumberland, with whom we developed some of our most exciting projects, for 17 years. From 2006 to 2012 we were associate artists of the Wratislavia Cantans Festival, and embarked on an exciting partnership with the Wrocław Philharmonic Choir, a collaboration which features strongly in some of our critically-acclaimed recent oratorio recordings. 2014 saw the inception of a new partnership with Historic Royal Palaces, with further performances at Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace taking place throughout the current and forthcoming seasons.

Reaching Out, Looking Forward

Today, at the heart of our activities is the development of a pioneering education scheme, Gabrieli Roar, an audacious choral training programme that takes a bold stance on the abilities of teenage singers. Previously known as the Gabrieli Young Singers Scheme, this ambitious partnership with a network of leading UK youth choirs offers intensive training and mentoring to the young singers to prepare them for unrivalled performance and recording opportunities alongside Gabrieli’s professional musicians. Early successes in this scheme include a BBC Proms performance of Mendelssohn Elijah and studio recordings of both Elijah and Britten War Requiem. Subsequent projects have included the re-launch of the scheme in February 2016 at Southwark Cathedral, a three-day residential course culminating in a massed-choral performance at Ely Cathedral in July 2016, and regional projects with partners in Bradford, London and St Alban’s.

Our Recordings

With Paul McCreesh, we aim to create inspirational and thought-provoking performances that stand out from the crowd. In 2010, Paul McCreesh established his own record label Winged Lion which, in its first year alone, released four extremely diverse recordings, underlining Gabrieli’s versatility and McCreesh’s breadth of vision. The focal point of Winged Lion’s output is the Wratislavia Cantans Oratorio Series, spectacular large-scale oratorio recordings made in conjunction with the Wrocław Philharmonic Choir with the kind support of the National Forum of Music, Wroclaw.

There are now four recordings in this series: Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts, Mendelssohn Elijah , Britten War Requiem and Haydn The Seasons. The Winged Lion catalogue also includes recordings of two of Gabrieli’s renowned a cappella programmes, A Song of Farewell (English choral repertoire from Morley and Sheppard to Howells and MacMillan), Incarnation (an inspiring sequence of less well-known Christmas repertoire), A New Venetian Coronation 1595, a much-anticipated re-recording of the ensemble’s famed 1990 reconstruction featuring music by Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, and Handel L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato with a cast of soloists led by Gillian Webster and Jeremy Ovenden. Future Winged Lion releases include Silence & Music (an elegiac survey of English part-song in the 20th century) and A Rose Magnificat (great Marian motets from the renaissance to the present day).

Gabrieli’s reputation for award-winning recordings was established during a fifteen year association with Deutsche Grammophon. Our current Winged Lion releases are equally regarded as benchmark recordings, receiving accolades that include BBC Music Magazine Awards (Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts, Britten War Requiem), Gramophone Award (A New Venetian Coronation 1595) and a Diapason d’Or de l’Année (Mendelssohn Elijah).

“May the Gabrieli Consort & Players live forever in health and glory”  The Times