I Fagiolini

United Kingdom

I Fagiolini is internationally renowned for its genuinely innovative productions. “The group are musical shapeshifters, following Hollingworth's giddy, eclectic imagination wherever it leads.” (The Spectator) Signature projects have included The Full Monteverdi by John La Bouchardière; Tallis in Wonderland, a new way of hearing polyphony with live and recorded voices; Simunye, the South African collaboration; How Like An Angel (HLAA), with Australian contemporary circus company C!RCA for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad and performed at the Perth International Arts Festival, New York and in cathedrals across Europe; and Betrayal: a polyphonic crime drama (with John La Bouchardière), an immersive theatre piece sung to the music of Gesualdo with dancers and singers set in 'crime scenes'.

Following on from art-inspired Leonardo – Shaping the Invisible, and looking to our changing world for inspiration,I Fagiolini presents two new touring programmes. I Fagiolini – Au Naturel is a rich choral calendar inspired by Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s The Seasons, particularly poignant in our changing climate. I Fagiolini – Au Naturel featured in I Fagiolini’s Moscow debut as part of the British Council’s ‘UK-Russia Year of Music’ and LIVE From London Summer 2021. Premiering in 2021, Re-Wilding The Waste Land is based around T.S. Eliot’s poem ‘The Waste Land’ and is inspired by our need to “Re-wild” (David Attenborough), both our world and our creativity post-pandemic. Re-Wilding The Waste Land begins in the dark-hewn depths of Victoria’s Tenebrae Responsories (lower pitch) and William Byrd’s setting of desolation inspired by the martyrdom of Edmund Campion. Growing out of this desolation is a celebration of the outpouring of creativity since lockdown featuring six commissions from Joanna Marsh, Shruthi Rajasekar and Ben Rowarth. These alongside Vaughan-Williams and Leighton, present a challenge for humanity, ‘The world is charged’. A new programme, Super Excellent, framed by early 17th century Venice features The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble and members of The University of York ‘The 24’ in a re-worked and earth-shaking experience of Giovanni Gabrieli’s In Ecclesiis alongside other choral monsters Joan Cererols and Edmund Hooper.

Recent projects include four performances in the VOCES8 Foundation’s online festival series LIVE From London: Monteverdi for which I Fagiolini is renowned(The Ache of Love), Long, Long, Ago - Messe De Minuit a joyous Christmas Eve programme of Charpentier, Howells and Dylan Thomas, Re-Wilding The Waste Land with Tamsin Greig narrating, and Au Naturel. A short series of three films for socially distanced chamber musicians, #NotInThisTogether (Le Zoom, Phone-y Canzone-y, and Cake Mix), and also a weekly educational and outreach series Sing The Score funded by ACE and University of York. New podcast ‘choral chat’ collaboration, Choral Chihuahua, with The Sixteen’s Harry Christophers and Eamonn Dougan has been winning admirers globally.

New short a cappella film THE STAG HUNT, a modern satire about aristocracy, extinction and the environment, based on La Chasse byRenaissance composer Clément Janequin and directed by John La Bouchardière. It was released on Boxing Day 2020 in association with the Born Free Foundation and won a Jarvis Award for Best Short Film at the 5th Annual Classical Arts Film Festival.

Other notable work includes a celebration of Monteverdi’s 450th anniversary featuring performances of The Other Vespers and L’Orfeo at venues including Glyndebourne, Cadogan Hall for the BBC Proms and Queen’s Hall as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. Monteverdi: The Other Vespers was released on Decca Classics to great acclaim and shortlisted for a Gramophone award; “achieving a thrilling synergy of articulate instrumental playing, fulsome choral ripienos and dexterous solo singing” (Gramophone). The celebrations continued in 2018 with performances of L’Orfeo in Antwerp (AMUZ) and further afield. In 2019 the production developed with director Thomas Guthrie’s use of masks with performances in Stour, York and London.

I Fagiolini explored ‘Art through the prism of Music’ with leading da Vinci expert Professor Martin Kemp in Leonardo: Shaping the Invisible. Touring extensively throughout 2019, the programme celebrated the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death in music and image. The album was released on CORO to high acclaim; “Yet again, the eight-strong vocal ensemble... has come up with an ingenious "concept" programme that stirs the mind and heart, illuminates the past, and ravishes the ear” (The Telegraph). Tracks were premiered at The National Gallery in its own da Vinci celebrations; films and further commentary feature in Apple Music, Gramophone Magazine and Classic FM’s online galleries. Following its success, Robert and music from the album appeared in Phil Grabsky’s new da Vinci film for Exhibition on Screen Leonardo: The Works. The film received its UK premiere at Chichester Film Festival and appeared in cinemas across the world including Dubai and Vancouver film festivals - it appeared in Exhibition on Screen’s ITV series.

Previous Decca Classics discs include Striggio Mass in 40 parts (2011 Early Music Gramophone and Diapason D’or Award), Amuse-Bouche - French Choral Delicacies, and 1612 Italian Vespers. The group is delighted to be Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of York. I Fagiolini is managed worldwide by Percius. www.percius.co.uk

Conductor: Robert Hollingworth

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