Vox Clamantis

Vox Clamantis

Vocal Ensemble

• Founded 1996

Biography

The Estonian choir Vox Clamantis has focused on Gregorian chant and medieval polyphony. The group has also emerged as a major force championing minimalist and other contemporary works by Baltic and Scandinavian composers.

The group, whose name comes from the biblical description of the Prophet Isaiah ("a voice crying in the desert"), was founded in 1996 and organized by the Estonian Gregorian Society. Its original purpose was to sing Gregorian chant. Even as it expanded beyond that repertory, its membership, including composers, instrumentalists, and conductors, was united by a common interest in the chant repertory. Since its inception, Vox Clamantis has been led by conductor Jaan-Eik Tulve, who had conducted Le Choeur Grégorian de Paris (with which Vox Clamantis has collaborated) and several similar choirs, and who had taught chant singing. Vox Clamantis first expanded its repertory into medieval polyphony, and then into contemporary music from Estonia and elsewhere in northern Europe. Composers who have written new music for the group include Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür, and Tunisian composer and Sufi vocalist Dhafer Youssef. Vox Clamantis' set of performance collaborators is similarly impressive, including soprano Arianna Savall, percussionist Brian Melvin, and organists from various countries. The group has toured most European countries, North America, Lebanon, Australia, and the Far East. Since 2011, they have appeared annually at the French festival La Folle Journée.

In 2011, Vox Clamantis received the Annual Award of the Estonian Cultural Endowment for Fine Arts, and in 2017 they were given the National Culture Award of the Republic of Estonia.

Vox Clamantis has recorded for ECM, Mirare, and Aurora. Their 2014 ECM recording of Pärt's The Deer's Cry won a Grammy award in the U.S., and they have also earned several high-profile European recording awards including the Diapason d'Or in France. In 2018, they released Akrostikon, a collection of contemporary Scandinavian works on the Aurora label.

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