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Wellington singers represent New Zealand

9 December 2005

Wellington singers represent New Zealand, win awards in Europe

* The Tudor Consort competes in Spain and sings at St Peters in Rome * Next concert in Wellington celebrates 500th anniversary of Thomas Tallis

Wellington's specialist early music choir, The Tudor Consort, has won two awards at to the Tolosa International Choral Competition in Spain. The European competition is one of six that together make up the prestigious Grand Prix circuit of choral singing.

In addition to winning the awards, one for Sacred Music Performance and the other for Secular Music Performance, the choir performed to standing ovations in concerts sung in Spain and Italy.

The choir sang Mass at St Peters Basilica in the Vatican, the heart of the Catholic Church. "It's a rare privilege for musicians from outside of Vatican to be permitted to perform there and the experience was very special," says the group's director, Alastair Carey.

New Zealand music featured prominently in the choir's performances in Europe, including a new piece by Victoria University composer James Gardner that was written especially for the tour.

Wellington audiences have an opportunity to hear The Tudor Consort perform live on Sunday 18 December. The choir sings works by Thomas Tallis, the most important English composer of the 16th century. The programme includes works by Tallis never performed before in New Zealand.

2005 marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of Tallis. He was so influential because he shaped the music-making of England during a time of enormous religious and political change. "This makes him a figure of key importance in Western music," says Carey.

For a composer's to still be performed widely after five centuries is extremely rare.

"How much of today's music will be remembered in 500 years? Probably not a lot ... for a composer's works to still be widely performed after five centuries years is an incredible achievement - Tallis's music has such emotional power and beauty that it has survived the centuries and still speaks to us today," says Carey.


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