High-quality singing, innovative programmes and communicative performances are the hallmarks of Nonsuch Singers. The choir has gained a reputation for stylistic versatility in a cappella and accompanied works ranging from the Renaissance to the present day. It has frequently sought to make less familiar music accessible by exploring connections between works by established composers and lesser-known contemporary works. The choir of some 40 members typically gives six or seven concerts a year, mostly in prominent London venues but also further afield, regularly performing with some of the UK’s leading instrumental ensembles and finest young vocal soloists.
Founded in 1977, the choir owes its name to the location of its first informal
rehearsal held on the site of Henry VIII’s long since demolished Nonsuch Palace in Surrey. The choir has had four Music Directors over the course of its history: Garrett O'Brien (1977 to 1981), Michael Hodges (1981 to 1996), Graham Caldbeck (1996 to 2012) and Tom Bullard, appointed in January 2013.
Concerts have featured more than eighty works by living British composers, some of whom - Diana Burrell, Gabriel Jackson, Roxanna Panufnik and Judith Weir - have attended rehearsals of their music.
Highlights have included Monteverdi’s Vespers with His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts at St Martin-in-the-Fields (recommended as ‘Critic’s Choice’ in The Times); a critically acclaimed concert of French Baroque works, edited by Lionel Sawkins, with an orchestra led by Catherine Mackintosh and soloists including Andrew Kennedy and Emma Kirkby; and the first complete modern performance of Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer’s opera, Zaïde, Reine de Grenade, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
In 2017 the choir celebrated its 40th anniversary with a baroque
performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion in Southwark Cathedral with
Nicholas Mullroy singing the Evangelist. In October 2014 the choir was privileged to give the first UK performance of To the Field of Stars by Gabriel Jackson and in 2016 released its first commercial recording with
Following a hugely successful performance of Will Todd's Mass in Blue in 2015 the choir decided to embark upon a second recording project of the trio version of the Mass alongside some of our other favourite jazz standards. Our new recording was launched on 18th June 2019, also on the Convivium label.
You can hear samples from both recordings using the Hear Us tab above.