CLOSING OF THE FESTIVAL
The Tallis Scholars (Great Britain)
The chronicle of former Festivals
About Christian Culture Festival
Christian Culture Festival was organized for the first time in 1997 on 10th Anniversary of the Logos Theatre. In a sense, it extends the idea of Christian Culture Weeks organized in Poland in 70s and 80s of the last century, which were to become counterpoise to lay media model promoted by the State. Lodz Christian Culture Days were organized in churches all around the city, so as to accommodate the artists, spectacles, exhibitions and projections.
One of such places was the John Paul lecture theatre in the vault of the Assumption of Holy Mother Church in Kościelna Street. This is where the Logos Theatre started, before it was moved to the church in Maria Skłodowska-Curie. It was this church that Archbishop Władysław Ziółek gave to the Lodz artists in 1993, and in which the Centre of Creative Communities’ of Lodz Archdiocese was appointed. It is here that the ‘logistic’ centre of the Festival is located, and where some of the Festival events take place.
Traditionally, the Festival takes place in November, on the first Sunday after All Soul’s Day. It usually lasts for two weeks, during which various event take place – spectacle premiers, other theatres come to Lodz, there are exhibitions of invited artists, performances of choirs and musicians, very often not to be seen anywhere else in Poland at any other time. The Festival programme is the result of the whole year’s work of rev. Waldemar Sondka, the Festival Director, who – using his contacts – invites artists who are interesting, out of the ordinary, noteworthy and creating art perhaps not always religious, but always searching and at the highest level. Care for the level of the Festival offers is a permanent rule, the Logos environment has always wished to provide the Lodz citizens with the possibility of contact with art deprived of parochialism, open to the man and as perfect formally as possible.
The Festival is not an activity that brings profit. Any entrance cards are issued as invitations that are free of charge, and the team of the Logos Theatre and all the people engaged in the Festival organization, act as volunteers. This does not mean that Christian Culture Festival costs nothing. On the contrary, to organize such a cultural event at appropriate level is always connected with costs. Rev. Waldemar Sondka deals with organizing means to secure the Festival events all year round. He manages to gain sponsors (without whom the Festival would not exist) and subsidies from institutions that deal with funding culture (without which the Festival could not develop). All that in order to realize the basic idea of the event that derived from the Lodz Christian Culture Days – to enable anyone who wishes and needs that, to live the Mystery through art. This idea assumes a free of charge participation in all the artistic events, which has been the case since the very beginning of the Festival until today, the only condition is that on the day of the Festival opening, one must queue as long as it takes to get invitations. The only limit to the number of invitations is the capacity of rooms in which the events are organized every day throughout the two weeks of the Festival.
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XX Christian Culture Festival in Lodz
6th — 20th November 2016
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Peter Phillips — conductor
Amy Haworth — sopran
Emma Walshe — sopran
Gwen Martin — sopran
Charlotte Ashley — sopran
Caroline Trevor — alt
Simon Ponsford — alt
Simon Wall — tenor
Guy Cutting — tenor
Nick Ashby — bas
Lawrence White — bas
The Tallis Scholars were founded in 1973 by their director — Peter Phillips. Through their recordings and concert performances, they have established themselves as the leading exponents of Renaissance sacred music throughout the world. Peter Phillips has worked with the ensemble to create the purity and clarity of sound which he feels best serve the Renaissance repertoire, allowing every detail of the musical lines to be heard. It is the resulting beauty of sound for which The Tallis Scholars have become so widely renowned.
The Tallis Scholars perform in both sacred and secular venues, usually giving around 70 concerts each year across the globe. In 2013 the group celebrated their 40th anniversary with a World Tour performing 99 events in 80 venues in 16 countries and travelling sufficient air-miles to circumnavigate the globe four times. They kicked off the year with a spectacular concert in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, including a performance of Thomas Tallis’ 40-part motet “Spem in alium” and the world premieres of works written specially for them by Gabriel Jackson and Eric Whitacre. Their recording of the “Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas” by John Taverner, was released on the exact anniversary of their first concert in 1973 and enjoyed six weeks at number one in the UK Specialist Classical Album Chart.
In the 2015/2016 season the group will tour the world extensively. In Spring 2015 The Tallis Scholars released a disc of music by Arvo Pärt called “Tintinnabuli” which has received great praise across the board.
Recordings by The Tallis Scholars have attracted many awards throughout the world. In 1987 their recording of Josquin’s “Missa La sol fa re mi” and “Missa Pange lingua” received “Gramophone” magazine’s “Record of the Year Award”, the first recording of early music ever to win this coveted award. In 1989 the French magazine “Diapason” gave two of “d’Or de l’Année” awards for the recordings of a mass and motets by Lassus and for two masses by Josquin. The Tallis Scholars were nominated for a Grammy Award (2001, 2009 and 2010).
The two-thousand concert The Tallis Scholar will perform on December 21 at St. John’s Smith Square in London.
Peter Phillips has made an impressive if unusual reputation for himself in dedicating his life’s work to the research and performance of Renaissance polyphony. Having won a scholarship to Oxford in 1972, Peter Phillips studied Renaissance music with David Wulstan and Denis Arnold, and gained experience in conducting small vocal ensembles, already experimenting with the rarer parts of the repertoire. He founded the Tallis Scholars in 1973, with whom he has now appeared in over 2000 concerts and made over 60 discs, encouraging interest in polyphony all over the world. As a result of his work, through concerts, recordings, magazine awards and publishing editions of the music and writing articles, Renaissance music has come to be accepted for the first time as part of the mainstream classical repertoire. The Tallis Scholars celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2013 with 99 concerts, worldwide.
Apart from the Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips continues to work with other specialist ensembles. He has appeared with the Collegium Vocale of Ghent, Intrada of Moscow, Musica Reservata of Barcelona and El Leon de Oro of Orviedo, and is currently working with the BBC Singers, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, and Choeur de Chambre de Namur. He gives numerous master-classes and choral workshops every year around the world — amongst other places in Rimini (Italy), Evora (Portugal) and Avila (Spain). In 2014 he launched the London International A Cappella Choir Competition in St John's Smith Square, attracting choirs from all over the world, which will be returning for its third run in June 2017.
In addition to conducting, Peter Phillips is well-known as a writer. For 33 years he contributed a regular music column (as well as one, more briefly, on cricket) to The Spectator, recently bidding a fond farewell to the magazine in May 2016. In 1995 he became the owner and Publisher of The Musical Times, the oldest continuously published music journal in the world. His first book, English Sacred Music 15491649, was published by Gimell in 1991, while his second, What We Really Do, an unblinking account of what touring is like, alongside insights about the make-up and performance of polyphony, was published in 2003 and again in 2013.
In 2005 Peter Phillips was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture, a decoration intended to honour individuals who have contributed to the understanding of French culture in the world. In 2008 Peter was appointed a Reed Rubin Director of Music at Merton College, Oxford, where the new choral foundation he helped to establish began singing services shortly after. His involvement included many tours recordings and broadcasts a particular highlight being their first live broadcast on BBC Radio Three’s Choral Evensong in October 2011. Peter is now a patron of the choir and a Bodley Fellow of the college.