November 2, 1999

The Clerks' Group to Perform Renaissance Choral Music at the Middlebury College Center for the Arts on Nov. 17

As part of their North American debut tour, The Clerks' Group will come to Middlebury College to perform at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17 in the Concert Hall of the Center for the Arts, on Route 30. The six-member group, which has gained critical acclaim for its recordings of Renaissance choral music, specializes in the Flemish sacred music of Johannes Ockeghem, a renowned composer of the late 15th century. Before the concert, at 6:30 p.m., there will also be a pre-concert lecture by Middlebury College Professor of Music John Milsom, in the Concert Hall.

The Clerks' Group, founded at Oxford University by Edward Wickham, made its professional debut in London in 1992. One of the ensemble's Ockeghem recordings won Gramophone magazine's 1997 award for early music recordings.

Describing the quality of the musical performances, Gramophone declared, "These are crisp, clever, truly imaginative performances delivered with a confidence bordering on arrogance. ... Why mince words? This is superb."

In recent years, The Clerks' Group has toured extensively on the continent and has recorded a program for Belgian television. During the current tour, the ensemble will sing music by Renaissance masters Josquin des Prez as well as Johannes Ockeghem, and will perform in 15 American cities, including New York and Los Angeles.

The Clerks' Group includes Wickham (director/baritone), as well as Rebecca Outram (soprano), William Missin (alto), Thomas Raskin (tenor), Matthew Vine (tenor), and Robert Macdonald (bass). The ensemble, following traditional Renaissance performance style, sings by reading the individual parts while gathered around a single choir book, instead of each member holding his or her own score.

The Sunday Times of London has praised the group's singing, calling it "beautifully, shaped, impeccably tuned, and miraculously well-blended in tone."

Tickets for this performance are $9 general admission and $7 for senior citizens. For more information, call the College box office at 802-443-6433.