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The Morley Consort of Voices

Thu, 08 Apr 2010

A new musical ensemble named after one of the most prolific and versatile composers of his generation will give its first public concert in Norwich this month.

The Morley Consort of Voices is named after Thomas Morley, who was born in Norwich in 1557 and served as Master of the Choristers at Norwich Cathedral before he moved to London, soon becoming a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. Morley was one of the most prolific and versatile composers of his generation, exerting a powerful influence on his contemporaries and so shaping the course of English music during its golden age in the years around the turn of the 17th century.

The ensemble's six singers are all members of the University of East Anglia, as is their musical director Emeritus Professor Peter Aston, who was head of music at UEA from 1974 to 1998 and is acclaimed internationally as a composer and conductor.

The consort will perform at the Assembly House on Friday April 23, as part of the UEA Music at One series of lunchtime concerts. The programme includes madrigals by Morley, Gibbons and Wilbye, a group of 16th-century chansons, sacred pieces by William Byrd and Claudio Monteverdi, and partsongs by Mendelssohn and Prof Aston.

Commenting on the new ensemble, Prof Aston said: "I began my career directing The Tudor Consort, a group of six talented young solo singers. After almost 50 years of conducting amateur and professional choirs and orchestras throughout the world, it's a joy to be working here in Norwich with a new generation of young musician-singers, revisiting some of the music on which I cut my conducting teeth and exploring new repertoire."

The concert on April 23 begins at 1pm and will last for about 40 minutes. Admission is £4 on the door.