Performance Saturday, April 18, 2015 | 7:30 PM

The Tallis Scholars

Weill Recital Hall
Touchstones of Franco-Flemish and English Renaissance sacred music are heard on this concert. Renowned throughout Renaissance Europe, Josquin des Prez’s fame grew so much that eventually he was simply referred to by his first name. Josquin’s Missa Pange lingua, one of his last Mass settings, was built upon a chant melody that evolves into richly sonorous sound. Byrd’s brilliant Latin motets display his tremendous inventiveness and superb gift for setting text.

Part of Salon Encores.


  • The Tallis Scholars
    Peter Phillips, Conductor


  • JOSQUIN "Gaude virgo"
  • JOSQUIN Missa Pange lingua
  • BYRD "Cunctis diebus"
  • BYRD "Gaudeamus omnes"
  • BYRD "Timete Dominum"
  • BYRD "Iustorum animae"
  • BYRD "Beati mundo corde"
  • BYRD "Diliges Dominum"
  • BYRD "Tribue Domine"

  • Encore:
  • GUTIÉRREZ DE PADILLA Deus in adiutorium meum

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


"Agnus Dei" from Josquin Des Prez's Missa Pange Lingua
The Tallis Scholars | Peter Phillips, Conductor
Gimell Records

At a Glance

The 16th century was a time of change for Europe. The seeds of the Italian Renaissance were beginning to spread across the continent, carried on the breeze of the printing press. Ideas, philosophies, and artistic movements were succored by this new public dialogue, creating an unprecedented outpouring of creative innovation in literature, visual arts, and music. Yet while culture was drawing Europe’s nations ever closer, the Reformation was driving them apart, splitting the continent irrevocably down the fault line between Catholicism and Protestantism.

Tonight’s concert showcases music from thegolden ages of England and the Netherlands. Works by William Byrd and Josquin des Prez might be divided by religion, but each represents the pinnacle of creative achievement within two very different schools of composition.
Program Notes




Before Bach
This performance is part of Before Bach, and Early Music Vocal.

Part of