English Baroque Soloists
Founded in 1978 by John Eliot Gardiner, the English Baroque Soloists seek to challenge preconceptions of 200 years of music ranging from Monteverdi to Mozart and Haydn. Equally at home in chamber, symphonic and operatic performances, their distinctively warm and incisive playing is instantly recognisable. One of the world’s leading period instrument orchestras, the ensemble has performed at many of the world’s most prestigious venues including Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Sydney Opera House.
The ensemble regularly performs with the Monteverdi Choir, with whom they famously took part in the iconic Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000, performing all of Bach’s sacred cantatas throughout Europe. The ensemble has also participated in major opera productions alongside the Choir in works by Handel, Purcell and Monteverdi, and recorded Mozart’s greatest operas for Deutsche Grammophon in the 1990s. More recently they toured Gluck’s “Orphée et Eurydice” to Hamburg and Versailles, following a staged production at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in collaboration with the Hofesh Shechter Company.
2017 saw the English Baroque Soloists take part in the celebrated Monteverdi 450 tour, in which they performed all three of Monteverdi’s surviving operas across Europe and in the USA, a project that was recognised by a Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Opera and Music Theatre category.
In 2018, the English Baroque Soloists performed in Salzburg’s annual Mozartwoche, reprising the landmark Bach Cantata Pilgrimage alongside the Monteverdi Choir in some of Europe’s most famous concert halls and churches, culminating in a residency at London’s Barbican Hall.
The ensemble began 2019 with its inaugural visit to South America for the Cartagena International Music Festival, and subsequently undertook a tour of Handel’s dramatic oratorio “Semele” with the Monteverdi Choir, visiting a series of iconic venues including the Philharmonie in Paris, Barcelona’s Palau de la Música, the Alexandra Palace Theatre in London, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and Sala Santa Cecilia in Rome. The ensemble then gave its debut performances in Russia alongside the Monteverdi Choir with a programme of works by Monteverdi, Carissimi, Scarlatti and Purcell, before returning to South America for further inaugural concerts in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.
Despite postponements and cancellations of concerts across 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the English Baroque Soloists were able to give two concerts at the Settimana di Musica Sacra di Monreale festival in Sicily, performing Baroque masterpieces alongside the Monteverdi Choir. In 2021, the ensemble performed its first live streamed concert; Bach’s “St John Passion”, filmed in Oxford’s historic Sheldonian Theatre and streamed on Deutsche Grammophon’s online platform DG Stage.