London’s premier historically informed solo voice consort.
Founded in January 2022 by Artistic Director Matthew Brown, The Queenes Chappell aims to re-engage audiences with the exciting consort and solo vocal repertoire of the 16th and 17th centuries, by providing a fresh, vivid, dramatic, and historically informed approach.
Its members are drawn from the very best of young solo and consort singers in London and beyond. The singers of The Queenes Chappell can also be heard with other premier groups such as the Monteverdi Choir, the Amsterdam Baroque Choir, Tenebrae, the Gabrieli Consort, Opera Atelier, and many others. Every member is a current or past student of the Royal College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music, or Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and they now bring their virtuosic expertise to this repertoire.
We believe that there is a different approach to be explored when it comes to the performance of late Renaissance and Baroque repertoire. Important elements of performance aesthetic are often left behind in modern-day performances: historical ornamentation, pronunciation, different approaches to voice type distribution, and many more considerations, are sadly under-explored. The information about the original performance conditions for much of this repertoire is readily available, and now we must make an effort to bridge the gap between this information and the performers who will share it with the rest of the world.
This music is full of life and emotion. We aim to share that excitement, vividness, and drama with our audiences through our use of bold vocal style, colour, and ornamentation.
Our repertoire is mainly drawn from the 16th and 17th centuries; an exciting transitional period in the story of western musical history. It was a time of great upheaval in Europe, from a political, religious and social point of view. The turn of the 17th century saw some of the biggest and most deliberate shifts in musical practice that western music had ever seen: shifting political and religious powers demanded new and challenging approaches to music in order to achieve their theological aims, on both sides of the Reformation. A generation of Italian composers rose to this challenge, giving us some of the most loved and most influential music in the canon.
The music of Italy is the spiritual home of The Queenes Chappell; in our performances, we aim to imbue the music with the fire, excitement and freshness that the performers of Rome and Venice espoused. Italy's influence was vast, and we feel there is no better source of inspiration from which we can explore and share some of the best music of this era.
St Mary le Strand
We are extremely fortunate to be Artist-in-Residence at the beautiful, historic and centrally located St Mary le Strand Church. Consecrated in 1724, the building is the work of the architect James Gibbs, and provides a visually stunning, acoustically generous and historically fascinating venue.
As well as our regular concerts, The Queenes Chappell provides the music for special services, most often the divine office of Compline. Information about our Complines can be found here, and more information about the church can be found on their own website here.
The Queenes Chappell operates as a collective, drawing on a pool of highly talented and experienced musicians to create the optimal lineup for each individual concert. The musical environments of differing regions and eras can vary drastically, and it is important to us to use the most applicable format of singers and accompaniment to the repertoire we are performing. This allows for the most engaged, effective and comfortable performances possible, without the common hindrance of singers having to sing parts unsuited to their voice type.
Examples of this in our practice include; the use of high tenors to sing Altus/Contratenor lines in polyphony, certainly the most common practice in the 16th and 17th centuries; using countertenors to sing the top (Cantus, Superius or Mean) part in sacred polyphony; adult sopranos singing complex and virtuosic solo repertoire as is documented across Italy and France in the 17th and 18th centuries, and much more.