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The Tallis Scholars

Nobody stopped me - the Tallis Scholars touring Australia.

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The Tallis Scholars

By Diana Simmonds

The New York Times quotably described the Tallis Scholars "the rock stars of Renaissance vocal music" - a tag the ensemble's founder and leader, Peter Phillips leapt on with understandable alacrity.

How ever you care to describe them, the Tallis Scholars are unique in classical music. Whether you're already a fan or merely curious, a delve into iTunes or to your favourite fine music store is immediately indicated. Ticket purchase may well follow shortly after for their sixth tour of Australia.

The Scholars are well documented by the indefatigable Phillips and, to glean some idea of the stature of this British group, this from their website is as good as it gets: "In February 1994 Peter Phillips and the Tallis Scholars performed on the 400th anniversary of the death of Palestrina in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, where Palestrina had trained as a choirboy and later worked as Maestro di Cappella. The concerts were recorded by Gimell [Records] and are available on both CD and DVD. Their two latest discs, respectively featuring the music of John Browne and Francisco Guerrero have received exceptional reviews, the former winning the Early Music nomination at the annual GRAMOPHONE Awards in 2005. It was also nominated for a Grammy."

Phillips is an unusually accessible and comical classical musician and his approach to the repertoire and research for the Scholars is not unlike our own Paul Dyer and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. (A passion for early music and for building a wide audience for the music he loves.)

Balancing his deadly serious approach to music, Phillips has an irreverent sense of humour. In his own notes he has written of a recent book: "My original title for the book was 'Nobody stopped me', but I decided to shelve that until I write a genuine autobiography, if I ever do. However I start the first chapter about the history of the group with reference to it:

"Interviewer: I've met a number of you English conductors who have come out of Oxford and Cambridge: Roger Norrington, John Eliot Gardiner, you and Harry Christophers, Andrew Carwood and Edward Wickham from the younger generation. You're all quite alike in not apparently having had much formal training in what you do. Was there any particular magic formula in what you experienced at Oxford?

"Peter Phillips: Nobody stopped me."

If ever a young musician needed advice that would be it: nobody stopped me. And Phillips has also said: "I am a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club and of course feel disappointed about our recent Ashes result, but I still cannot wait to be back in the land of Bradman, Benaud and Warne - total bliss."

The Scholars' program will include music by Thomas Tallis, Taverner, Gombert, Palestrina, Lassus and the most famous of all Renaissance works, Allegri's Miserere.

The Tallis Scholars Australian Tour 2007: Hamer Hall, the Arts Centre, Melbourne; February 3; St Peter's Cathedral, North Adelaide, February 5; St John's Cathedral, Brisbane, February 6; Llewellyn Hall, ANU, Canberra, February 7; City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney, February 9 & 10 (different programs); tickets for all concerts (except Sydney and Canberra): or ph: 136 100; Sydney tickets: City Recital Hall Box Office (02) 8256 2222 or; Canberra tickets ph: 1800 802 025 or

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