Choral Inspirations Sonoro, Michael Higgins & Neil Ferris
- Charles Villiers Stanford (1852 - 1924):
- 1Beati quorum via03:36
- Janet Wheeler (b. 1957):
- 2Beati quorum via (Homage to Stanford)04:20
- Anton Bruckner (1824 - 1896:
- 3Locus iste, a Deo factus est02:34
- Will Todd (b. 1970):
- 4Locus iste03:19
- Sergei Rachmaninov (1873 - 1943):
- 5Bogoróditse Dévo02:29
- Cheryl Frances-Hoad (b. 1980):
- 6Bogoróditse Dévo, rádusiya03:32
- Johannes Brahms (1833 - 1897):
- 7Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen04:50
- Russell Hepplewhite:
- 8How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings Fair04:02
- Thomas Tallis (1505 - 1585):
- 9If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments01:56
- James McCarthy (b. 1979):
- 10If Ye Love Me04:23
- Josef Rheinberger (1839 - 1901):
- Joanna Marsh (b. 1970):
- 12Evening Prayer04:11
Info for Choral Inspirations
Sonoro has commissioned six new choral works by six British composers as part of its new Choral Inspirations project for 2019.
The project aims to encourage amateur and community choirs to have the confidence to sing more ambitious and contemporary music. The new pieces by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Russell Hepplewhite, Joanna Marsh, James McCarthy, Will Todd and Janet Wheeler, have been inspired by ‘choral classics’ by Brahms, Bruckner, Stanford, Rachmaninov, Rheinberger and Tallis.
Each new work and its classic partner-piece has been recorded by Sonoro, conducted by Neil Ferris, with Michael Higgins, piano.
Artistic directors Neil Ferris and Michael Higgins say: ‘As well as introducing six new works into the choral repertoire, we wanted to put together a collection of 12 pieces that could work as half a concert programme, or a basis for a full programme where the contemporary pieces became a natural and easy part. The new commissions have all been written at a suitable level for amateur choirs, without being simplistic.’
Sonoro will run a series of Choral Inspirations workshops and concerts in Cardiff, Birmingham, Newcastle and London from June to October 2019, open to all and led by Ferris and Sonoro’s professional singers. Workshop days are followed by public performances of the new works and the choral classics.
The local choirs hosting the workshops and joining singers for the concerts are Cardiff Polyphonic Choir and Roath Community Chorus in Cardiff, Voices of Hope and Quay Voices in Newcastle and the Birmingham Bach Choir.
“Outstandingly refreshing.” (BBC Music Magazine)
Voices of Hope
Michael Higgins, piano
Neil Ferris, conductor
founded in 2016 by Neil Ferris and Michael Higgins, has attracted attention for its warm tone, rich blend of colours and vibrancy in performance. ‘Sonoro’ in Italian means ‘sonorous, voices that are rich and full’ and Sonoro lives up to that name as a choir with a distinctive and perfectly blended sound.
“A rich, robust texture, abundant in vibrant colour and undoubted excitement.” The Guardian
Sonoro have performed at major national and international festivals and venues including the London Chamber Music Society series at Kings Place, the Wimbledon International Music Festival, the St Magnus International Festival, Orkney and in St Gallen, Switzerland.
“A huge dynamic and expressive range.” Gramophone
Sonoro’s debut album Passion and Polyphony featuring works of James MacMillan and Frank Martin was released in March 2018 to critical acclaim. Their recent album Christmas with Sonoro was named BBC Music Magazine’s 2018 ‘Christmas Choice’.
“Classical concerts seldom feel so downright uplifting.” The Scotsman
Upcoming plans include their Choral Inspirations project, with a major tour of workshops and concerts around the UK. Sonoro has commissioned six composers to each write a new work based on a ‘choral classic’. These pieces, written at a level that choirs everywhere will be able to sing, will be recorded alongside their ‘choral classic’ and released online.
is a pianist, composer and arranger, and Artistic Director of the professional chamber choir Sonoro.
With a special interest in choral accompaniment, Michael is in demand with some of the leading choirs in the country and works with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, London Voices, Wimbledon Choral Society and the BBC Singers. In 2012 Michael spent six months travelling across the USA filming a series for American television with popular choir master Gareth Malone, and also appeared on the Queen’s Christmas Message accompanying the Military Wives Choir at Buckingham Palace.
Michael has performed throughout the UK at venues including the Royal Festival Hall, London, Symphony Hall, Birmingham and Usher Hall, Edinburgh, as well as across Europe and further afield in Australia and New Zealand. As a rehearsal pianist, he has worked with conductors Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel, Jiří Bělohlávek, and Sakari Oramo.
As a composer and arranger he has written for Farnham Youth Choir, the National Children's Choir of Great Britain, as well as music for television, corporate films and commercials. Many of his works are published by the Royal School of Church Music, Novello, and Oxford University Press.
Michael studied piano with Margaret Newman at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and at the Royal Academy of Music, London, with Iain Ledingham and Julius Drake. He was awarded the Joseph Weingarten Memorial Trust Scholarship and continued his studies with Kálmán Dráfi at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest.
This album contains no booklet.