Coupling powerful interpretations with path-breaking scholarship, Contrapunctus presents music by the best known composers as well as unfamiliar masterpieces.
The group's repertoire is drawn from England, the Low Countries, Spain, Portugal and Germany, particularly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The scholarly facet of the group's work – including the discovery of long-lost music and reconstructions of original performing contexts – allows audiences to experience the first performances of many works in modern times.
Since its foundation in 2010, the group has appeared in the Utrecht Early Music Festival, the Festival van Vlaanderen in Mechelen and Averbode, the Music Sacra Festival in Maastricht, the AMUZ Festival in Antwerp, the Festival de Música Antigua de Úbeda y Baeza in Spain, the Eboræ Musica Festival and Setúbal Festival in Portugal, the concert series at De Bijloke in Ghent, and Martin Randall festivals in Spain and the UK.
The ensemble's first two recordings, Libera nos and In the Midst of Life, were both shortlisted for the Gramophone Early Music Award.
Owen Rees is both performer and scholar, his scholarship consistently informing his performances. Through his extensive work as a choral director, he has brought to the concert hall and recording studio substantial repertories of magnificent Renaissance and Baroque music, including many previously unknown or little-known works from Portugal and Spain. His interpretations of these repertories have been acclaimed as 'rare examples of scholarship and musicianship combining to result in performances that are both impressive and immediately attractive to the listener', and he has been described as 'one of the most energetic and persuasive voices' in this field.
He has been Director of Music at The Queen's College, Oxford, since 1997, and is Professor in Music at the University of Oxford. He began his conducting career while studying at Cambridge, and after graduating directed the Cambridge Taverner Choir from 1987 and A Capella Portuguesa from 1990.
He has conducted at festivals worldwide, and is in demand as a leader of workshops on performance of Renaissance polyphony. His numerous CD recordings encompass a wide variety of choral repertory from the Renaissance to contemporary music, and his work has three times been shortlisted for the Gramophone Early Music Award.
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