Performance Friday, April 17, 2015 | 8 PM

The Tallis Scholars: Spem in alium Project

Church of St. Ignatius Loyola
Magnificently constructed, richly sonorous, and breathlessly beautiful, Tallis’s 40-voice motet “Spem in alium” is one of the towering masterpieces of Renaissance sacred vocal music. Thirty young choral singers will be coached by and perform with Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars, the preeminent a cappella vocal ensemble, in this concert that also features Brumel’s Missa Et ecce terrae motus and Victoria’s Missa Salve regina, as well as motets by Gibbons, Sheppard, Weelkes, and Cowper.

Church of St. Ignatius Loyola
980 Park Avenue at 84th Street


  • The Tallis Scholars
    Carnegie Hall Chamber Chorus
    Peter Phillips, Conductor


  • DE VICTORIA Kyrie: Missa Salve regina
  • BRUMEL Gloria: Missa Et ecce terrae motus
  • DE VICTORIA Credo: Missa Salve regina
  • BRUMEL Sanctus: Missa Et ecce terrae motus
  • BRUMEL Benedictus: Missa Et ecce terrae motus
  • DE VICTORIA Agnus Dei: Missa Salve regina
  • GIBBONS "O clap your hands"
  • WEELKES "Gloria in Excelsis Deo"
  • TALLIS "Audivi vocem"
  • COWPER “Hodie, nobis caelorum rex”
  • TALLIS "If ye love me"
  • SHEPPARD "Libera nos, salva nos," I, II
  • TALLIS "Spem in alium"

  • Encore:
  • CLEMENT Ego flos campi

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • The Tallis Scholars 

    The Tallis Scholars were founded in 1973 by director Peter Phillips. Through its recordings and concert performances, the ensemble has established itself as the leading exponent of Renaissance sacred music throughout the world. Mr. Phillips has worked with the ensemble to create the purity and clarity of sound that best serves the Renaissance repertoire, allowing every detail of the musical lines to be heard. The Tallis Scholars perform in both sacred and secular venues, usually giving approximately 70 concerts around the globe each year. During the 2014-2015 season, the ensemble tours the US, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Europe, and the UK.

    The Tallis Scholars' career highlights have included a tour of China in 1999, including two concerts in Beijing, and the privilege of performing in the Sistine Chapel in April 1994 to mark the final stage of the complete restoration of the Michelangelo frescoes. The ensemble has commissioned many contemporary composers during its history: In 1998, it celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special concert in London's National Gallery, premiering a Sir John Tavener work written for the group and narrated by Sting. An additional performance of the piece was given with Sir Paul McCartney in New York in 2000.

    Recordings by The Tallis Scholars have received many awards throughout the world. In 1987, the group's recording of Josquin's Missa La sol fa re mi and Missa Pange lingua received Gramophone magazine's Record of the Year honor-the first recording of early music ever to win this coveted award. In 1989, the ensemble won two Diapason d'Or awards for its recordings of a mass and motets by Lassus and of two masses by Josquin. A recording of Palestrina's Missa Assumpta est Maria and Missa Sicut lilium was awarded Gramophone's Early Music Award in 1991. The Scholars received the 1994 Early Music Award for a recording of music by Cipriano de Rore and the same distinction again in 2005 for a disc of music by John Browne. The group was nominated for Grammy Awards in 2001, 2009, and 2010, and in November 2012, a recording of Josquin's Missa De beata virgine and Missa Ave maris stella received a Diapason d'Or. In 2013, The Tallis Scholars were welcomed into the Gramophone Hall of Fame by public vote.

    Peter Phillips  

    Peter Phillips has dedicated his life's work to the research and performance of Renaissance polyphony. Having won a scholarship to Oxford in 1972, Mr. Phillips studied Renaissance music with David Wulstan and Denis Arnold, and gained experience in conducting small vocal ensembles. He founded The Tallis Scholars in 1973 and has now appeared in almost 2,000 concerts and made more than 60 recordings with the ensemble, encouraging interest in polyphony all over the world.

    Apart from his appearances with The Tallis Scholars, Mr. Phillips continues to work with other specialist ensembles. He has appeared with the BBC Singers, Collegium Vocale Gent, and Netherlands Chamber Choir. He is currently working with Belgium's Namur Chamber Choir, Moscow's Intrada vocal ensemble, Musica Reservata of Barcelona, and Oviedo's El León de Oro. Mr. Phillips gives numerous master classes and choral workshops around the world each year and is also artistic director of the Tallis Scholars Summer Schools, annual choral courses based in Uppingham (UK), Seattle, and Sydney that are dedicated to exploring the heritage of Renaissance choral music and developing an appropriate performance style. In 2014, he launched the London International A Cappella Choir Competition at St John's Smith Square, attracting choirs from all over the world.

    In addition to conducting, Mr. Phillips is well known as a writer. For 32 years, he has contributed a regular music column (as well as one, more briefly, on cricket) to The Spectator. In 1995, he became owner and publisher of The Musical Times, the oldest continuously published music journal in the world. His first book, English Sacred Music 1549-1649, was published by Gimell Records in 1991, while his second, What We Really Do: The Tallis Scholars, an unblinking account of what touring is like alongside insights about the make-up and performance of polyphony, was published in 2003 and revised in 2013.

    Mr. Phillips has recently been appointed a Reed Rubin Director of Music and a Bodley Fellow at Merton College, University of Oxford. In 2005, he was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French minister 
    of culture. 

    More Info


Tallis's "Spem in alium"
The Tallis Scholars | Peter Phillips, Conductor
Gimell Records

At a Glance

This evening’s performance is the capstone to an intensive week of rehearsals within a workshop for pre-professional singers offered by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. The 37 participating choristers were selected through an international audition process to prepare this repertoire under the guidance of Peter Phillips for performance alongside The Tallis Scholars. The workshop participants and The Tallis Scholars are heard together in both the composite mass on the first half of the program and in the final work, the extraordinary 40-part motet “Spem in alium.” The balance of the program showcases the workshop singers in a range of smaller works, which were prepared this week by Peter Phillips and George Steel, founder and conductor of the Vox Vocal Ensemble.
Program Notes


Before Bach
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