Ensemble photos by Nick Rutter

The Marian Consort

Acclaimed British vocal ensemble will perform at several events on campus in February

Acclaimed British vocal ensemble The Marian Consort, currently artists-in-residence at Boston College, will perform at several events on campus in February, hosted by the BC Music Department.

Led by founder and director Rory McCleery, the group performs music from the 12th century to the present, and champions marginalized and lesser-known composers. It also creates and commissions new music, and has premiered more than 30 works.

The Marian Consort

The award-winning ensemble will offer two free, public concerts, and perform pieces related to Music Department Chairman and Professor Noone's recent research—including a project he spearheaded to digitize music preserved in the only surviving copy of a choirbook printed in 1620 by Susana Muñoz, the most prolific printer of sacred music in 17th-century Spain.

On February 13 at 7:30 p.m., St Mary's Chapel will be the venue for a concert (“Vicente Lusitano: The Forgotten Portuguese Motets”) of vocal music by the first published composer of African descent: Vicente Lusitano, the name given him by his Roman publisher in 1551 as a descriptor, which means “Portuguese.” Despite the quality of his music and importance as a music theorist and composer, he remains largely unknown to modern audiences.

Their February 14 recital in Gasson 100 at 12:30 p.m. —"The African composer, the Spanish widow, and St Ignatius's cousin: an Ash Wednesday celebration of new discoveries in Iberian Renaissance vocal music"—will showcase selections from a recent acquistion by BC's Burns Library: arare copy of an atlas-sized choirbook containing the sacred compositions of Tomás Luis de Victoria, the first great composer to be associated with the Jesuit order. A masterpiece of the art of Renaissance music typography and book making, according to Noone, the choirbook will be on hand for viewing by concert attendees, and lunch will be provided.

sheet music

A "Salve Regina" composed by a cousin of St. Ignatius, Juan de Achieta.

The group also will sing a work recently discovered by Noone in the archive of Segovia Cathedral in Spain: a "Salve Regina" composed by Juan de Achieta, a cousin of Society of Jesus founder St. Ignatius of Loyala. The music manuscript had been used as binding material for a 16-century account book at the cathedral, Noone said; its performance at the BC concert will be the first since then.

"The young British singers of The Marian Consort bring an extraordinary combination of lightning energy, astonishing skill, and polished ease to their performances of the lesser known masterworks of the Renaissance,” Noone said. “In particular, their exploration of the compositions of the first composer of African descent, the works of composers who were published by Spain's most prodigious music printer Susana Muñoz, and their performance of a newly discovered 'Salve Regina' composed by a cousin of St Ignatius of Loyola, reveal a rare commitment to relating the music of the past to audiences of the 21st century.”

During the group's time at BC, The Marian Consort also will provide private coaching sessions for members of the University Chorale and other BC student ensembles.

In addition to the Music Department, The Marian Consort appearances are sponsored by the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Office, African and African Diaspora Studies, the University Chorale, BC libraries, and the Jesuit Institute.

For more on these concerts and others presented by the Music Department, visit the department website or email concerts@bc.edu.