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February 24 , 2004

THIRTY YEARS HILLIARD ENSEMBLE!

The Hilliard Ensemble celebrates its 30th birthday with a series of three concerts at London’s Wigmore Hall, two on April 30, and one on May 1. The concerts follow the ECM New Series release of the group’s riveting interpretation of the Motets of Guillaume de Machaut.

Machaut’s music is also incorporated in the Wigmore celebrations. The first concert is subtitled “A Hilliard Songbook” and looks at the range of music, both early and contemporary, that the group has addressed in its long career. Featured composers are Piers Hellawell, Robert Fyrfax, the ubiquitous Anon (“Remember Me My Dear” - see “Mnemosyne”), William Cornysh, Stephen Hartke, Machaut, Jonathan Wild, Sheryngham, and James MacMillan.

The second concert is devoted to Gesulado’s “Tenebrae Responsories”, which the Hilliard Ensemble recorded in 1990 for ECM New Series.

The third concert juxtaposes music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Arvo Pärt.

The group played its first ever concert at All Souls Church, Langham Place, London early in 1974, when the line-up already included David James’ highly distinctive countertenor. The other original founder-members were Paul Elliott, Paul Hillier and Errol Girdlestone.

The Hilliard Ensemble today features David James (countertenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor), Steven Harrold (tenor), and Gordon Jones (baritone). Covey-Crump joined the group in 1984, Jones in 1990. Steven Harrold, the newest recruit, already has six years of Hilliard singing behind him, having joined the ranks in Spring 1998.

The Machaut “Motets” disc, the 20th ECM CD with the Hilliard Ensemble, is released in Europe and the USA in March.