After 32 years of worldwide performance and recording, The Sixteen is recognised as one of the world’s greatest ensembles. Comprising both choir and period-instrument orchestra, The Sixteen’s total commitment to the music it performs is its greatest distinction. A special reputation for performing early English polyphony, masterpieces of the Renaissance, bringing fresh insights into Baroque and early Classical music and a diversity of 20th-century music, is drawn from the passions of conductor and founder Harry Christophers.
At home in the UK, The Sixteen are “The Voices of Classic FM” and Associate Artists of The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. The group promotes The Choral Pilgrimage, an annual tour of Britain's finest cathedrals bringing music back to the buildings for which it was written. The Sixteen has recently featured in the highly successful BBC television series, Sacred Music, presented by actor Simon Russell Beale - a second series which focused on the music of Brahms, Bruckner, Fauré, Pärt and Tavener was broadcast in spring 2010 on BBC Four and BBC Two.
The Sixteen tours throughout Europe, Japan, Australia and the Americas and has given regular performances at major concert halls and festivals worldwide, including the Barbican Centre, London, The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Cité de la musique, Paris, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Sydney Opera House, Tokyo Opera City and Vienna Musikverein and also at the BBC Proms, the festivals of Granada, Lucerne, Edinburgh, Istanbul, Prague, Bremen, La Chaise Dieu and Salzburg. In addition, The Sixteen’s period-instrument orchestra has taken part in highly acclaimed semi-staged performances of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen in Tel Aviv and London, a fully-staged production of Purcell’s King Arthur in Lisbon’s Belem Centre, followed by new productions of Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria at Lisbon Opera House and The Coronation of Poppea at English National Opera.
Over one hundred recordings reflect The Sixteen’s quality in a range of work spanning the music of five hundred years, winning many awards including Grand Prix du Disque, numerous Schallplattenkritik, the coveted Gramophone Award for “Early Music”, the prestigious Classical Brit Award in 2005 for Renaissance and IKON which was nominated for a Grammy Award and two Classical Brits. These latter two discs were recorded as part of the group’s contract with Universal Classics and Jazz. In 2009 The Sixteen were given the accolade of the Classic FM Gramophone “Artist of the Year” award [the only ensemble in the award’s history to ever win this category] as well as winning “Baroque Vocal” for their recording of Handel’s Coronation Anthems.
Since 2001 The Sixteen has been building its own record label, CORO, which has recently released its eightieth title. Recent recordings include Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Steffani’s Stabat Mater, Ceremony and Devotion - Music for the Tudors, which accompanies the tenth Choral Pilgrimage, and Handel’s celebrated oratorio, Messiah, with an all-star soloist line-up which was awarded the prestigious MIDEM Classical Award 2009. In 2010 CORO released the BBC’s groundbreaking first series of Sacred Music on DVD and The Sixteen’s award-winning recording of Handel’s Coronation Anthems was nominated for a Grammy. Bringing together live concerts and recording plans has allowed The Sixteen to develop a glittering catalogue of releases, containing music from the Renaissance and Baroque through to great works of our time. This year the group launches a new training programme for young singers called Genesis Sixteen. Aimed at 18 to 23 year-olds, this is the UK’s first fully-funded choral programme for young singers designed specifically to bridge the gap from student to professional practitioner.