“There are some performances that you know will be etched on your memory forever, such is their intensity and power. The EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble, a group of young singers conducted by their founder James Weeks, sang Brian Ferneyhough's 1969 Missa Brevis with thrilling commitment and immediacy, revealing this masterpiece of modernism to be among the great settings of these archetypal texts.
“...Weeks and the EXAUDI singers somehow alchemised all this ferocious technical difficulty into music of shattering directness." Tom Service, The Guardian, 14 June 2006
Since its debut in 2002, EXAUDI has emerged as one of Britain’s leading young contemporary music ensembles. With a repertoire that encompasses Ockeghem and Ferneyhough, Tallis and Xenakis, EXAUDI has performed to great acclaim throughout the UK and in Europe, and established a ground-breaking and much-praised discography on the British label NMC.
Founded by James Weeks (director) and Juliet Fraser (soprano), EXAUDI is based in London and draws its singers from among the UK’s brightest new vocal talents. The ensemble typically works as a consort rather than a choir – usually one voice to a part, ranging from three to sixteen voices – and draws inspiration for its sound from that of early music ensembles, a strong but focused tone that is ideal for the performance of harmonically intricate contemporary music. Many EXAUDI programmes combine the new with the old, and the ensemble is equally in demand for its performances of music of the High Renaissance and early Baroque.
The newest new music is at the heart of EXAUDI’s repertoire, and it has given UK and world premières of Sciarrino, Rihm, Finnissy, Skempton, Richard Ayres, Christopher Fox and James Saunders among many others. EXAUDI is particularly committed to the younger generation of composers currently in their twenties and early thirties, and is proud to champion the work of major emerging voices including Evan Johnson, John Habron, Chung Shih Hoh, James Weeks and Claudia Molitor.
Collaboration with other leading soloists and ensembles is an increasing feature of EXAUDI’s schedule, including recent appearances with ASKO Ensemble, Apartment House, Anton Lukoszevieze, Rohan de Saram, Mieko Kanno, Irvine Arditti and Fretwork. In 2008 they will take part in performances of Birtwistle’s Opera The Last Supper at ‘Settembre Musica’ in Milan and Torino.
EXAUDI has appeared at many leading UK venues and festivals, including Aldeburgh, Spitalfields, Petworth, Soundwaves Brighton, City of London, Vale of Glamorgan and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festivals, Dartington International Summer School and London’s South Bank (Fresh series) and National Portrait Gallery. Recently the ensemble has developed particularly strong links with Aldeburgh Music, resulting in a number of concert appearances, broadcasts and residencies since 2006. EXAUDI broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 3, and has released critically acclaimed recordings of Michael Finnissy, Elisabeth Lutyens, Christopher Fox and Howard Skempton on NMC. EXAUDI is in increasing demand throughout Europe; recent engagements include a performance of Ferneyhough’s Missa Brevis and Stelae for Failed Time in the Pompidou Centre, Paris for IRCAM, and in 2007 mixed contemporary programmes for CDMC Madrid and ConTmpo Girona. EXAUDI has twice been shortlisted in the Ensemble category of the RPS Awards, Britain’s leading awards for live classical performance, in 2006 and 2007.
Future plans include new recordings of Skempton and Rihm, a third Aldeburgh Residency to work on three new commissions, and a 70-minute new work by Christopher Fox, commissioned by the BBC for Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2008.
Click here for biography in PDF format
Click here for selected repertoire: Medieval, Renaissance, early Baroque and Contemporary music
Click here for Concerts 2009
Click here for Concerts 2008
Click here for Concerts 2007
Michael Finnissy: Maldon and other choral works
Maldon; Anima Christi; Palm Sunday; Descriptive Jottings of London; Forget-me-not; Vertue
NMC D110 (released April 2005)
Christopher Fox: A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory
A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory; Open the Gate; Rendered Account; The Missouri Harmony; American Choruses
NMC D114 (released November 2005)
Elisabeth Lutyens: choral and chamber works
The Country of the Stars; Wittgenstein Motet; Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis; Verses of Love, and chamber works performed by the Endymion Ensemble
NMC D124 (released September 2006)
Howard Skempton: Ben Somewhen - vocal and chamber music
Chamber Concerto*; Clarinet Quintet*; The Voice of the Spirits; The Bridge of Fire; Suite from Delicate*; Roundels of the Year; Rise Up, My Love; Ben Somewhen*.
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group conducted by James Weeks*
For programme proposals, full details of forthcoming concerts and educational activities, and reviews, see www.exaudi.org.uk