Paul McCreesh

Paul McCreesh is the founder and Artistic Director of the Gabrieli Consort & Players which he established in 1982 and with whom he has toured world-wide and made many award-winning recordings. McCreesh is well-known for the energy and passion that he brings to his music-making, and is especially enthusiastic about working with young musicians and broadening access to classical music; he works regularly with youth orchestras and choirs and is active in building new educational initiatives whenever possible.

McCreesh has guest conducted many of the major orchestras and choirs across the globe, including most recently the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Bergen Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Verbier Festival orchestras, and Berlin Konzerthausorchester. McCreesh also enjoys regular and ongoing collaborations with Saint Paul and Basel Chamber Orchestras. In 2017-18 he makes his debut with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra at the Haydn Festival Burgenland, and with the Bremen Philharmonic in a programme of Mozart and Britten, and returns to the Royal Northern Sinfonia for two programmes including works by Mozart, Haydn, Elgar and Mendelssohn, as well as to the Prague Philharmonia and the Arctic Chamber Orchestra.

From 2013-2016 he was Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisbon) with whom he conducted a wide range of music from the classical period through to the nineteenth and twentieth century, focusing in particular on symphonic repertoire, oratorio and opera in concert, working closely with the world-renowned Gulbenkian Choir.

McCreesh has established a strong reputation in the opera house and has conducted productions at the Teatro Real Madrid, Royal Danish Opera, Opera Comique, Vlaamse Opera and at the Verbier Festival, and most recently he conducted Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bergen Opera, and returned to Vlaamse Opera for a production of Idomeneo.

In 2011 McCreesh launched his own record label, Winged Lion, in collaboration with the Gabrieli Consort & Players, Signum Classics and the Wratislavia Cantans Festival, where he was Artistic Director between 2006 and 2012. To date they have made seven recordings, most recently Haydn The Seasons, released in spring 2017 and lauded by critics: “the communal sense of joy is infectious” (Financial Times) and “Glorious” (Guardian). Other highlights include Britten War Requiem (BBC Music Magazine Award 2014), Mendelssohn Elijah (Diapason d’Or Award 2013), Berlioz’s gargantuan Grande Messe des Morts (BBC Award 2012), and a reworking of his earlier Gabrieli disc, A New Venetian Coronation 1595 (Gramophone Award 2013). The Winged Lion recordings build on his large catalogue of recordings with Deutsche Grammophon, which includes the Gramophone Award-winning Haydn Creation.

  • Discover 50 of the most relaxing pieces of classical music, featuring recordings by The King's Singers, Fretwork, Alessio Bax and Tamsin Waley-Cohen. A new Signum compilation, this digital exclusive is available to buy and stream on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify.
  • The Gabrieli Consort and Players return to the programme that put them on the musical map when it was originally recorded and released in 1990: A Venetian Coronation 1595 is a musical re-creation evoking the grand pageantry of the Coronation Mass for Venetian Doge Marino Grimani. His love of ceremony and state festivals fuelled an extraordinary musical bounty during his reign and formed the background to the musical riches of the period, especially to the works of Giovanni Gabrieli. With cornetts, sackbuts and an all-male consort, Paul McCreesh fully exploits the dazzling polyphony of Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli’s music and captivates the audience in a theatrical and ceremonious performance. Two decades later, the Gabrieli's New Venetian Coronation takes advantage of huge developments in early instruments, performance techniques and research into the pieces that were on the original (as well as advances in recording techniques). Even if you own the classic Virgin disc, this new version is a must-buy - The Sunday Times Never less than enthralling - The Independent McCreesh's new take on his classic recording is a triumph … Highly recommended to both first- and second-time buyers, and on track to inspire yet another generationBBC Radio 3 Record Review
  • A sumptuous new recording of Gabrieli Consort & Players’ first, award-winning CD, A Venetian Coronation 1595. Nearly 25 years later, Paul McCreesh has reworked his imaginative reconstruction of a glorious late 16th century Coronation Mass at St Mark’s, Venice. This is an exciting new version of one of Gabrieli’s most influential and enduringly popular programmes, available for the very first time on Vinyl, and recently awarded a Gramophone Award for Best Early-Music recording 2013. Double, 180g Vinyl Release, plays at 33rpm Even if you own the classic Virgin disc, this new version is a must-buyThe Sunday Times Never less than enthrallingThe Independent McCreesh's new take on his classic recording is a triumph … Highly recommended to both first- and second-time buyers, and on track to inspire yet another generation - International Record Review
  • Paul McCreesh leads the Gabrieli Consort in a collection of works that explores the diverse and extensive body of works dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary over the centuries. Music by Tallis, MacMillan, Howells and Leighton frames the world premiere of a new work by the young British composer, Matthew Martin: a setting of the Magnificat, interpolated with verses from the atmospheric medieval poem ‘There is no rose’.

    Gabrieli are world-renowned interpreters of great vocal and instrumental repertoire from the Renaissance to the present day. Formed as an early music ensemble by Paul McCreesh in 1982, Gabrieli has both outgrown and remained true to its original identity through its live performances and award-winning recordings for their Winged Lion label.

    Limelight's Vocal Recording of 2018 ★ Choir and Organ Another winner from the Gabrieli’s… this CD is thoroughly to be recommended - Cathedral Music Magazine The Gabrieli Consort, under McCreesh, give an outstanding performance that is caught in superb sound by the Signum engineers - iClassical Excellent recorded sound sets the seal on another outstanding issue from this outstanding team - BBC Music Magazine another triumph, helped by the wonderful acoustic of Romsey Abbey, captured with typical skill by the expert engineers of Signum - MusicWeb International
  • Continuing Signum’s new partnership with Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort following the triumphant success of Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts (SIGCD280), their latest release is a recording of the groups renowned a cappella programme of music for mourning and consolation. This is a beautifully poignant programme of British choral music, including works by composers as diverse as Morley and Dove, Sheppard and Walton and featuring Howells’ sublime Requiem. An excellent disc - Gramophone Gorgeously melancholic British funeral music for unaccompanied choir... beautifully sung by Paul McCreesh's Gabrieli Consort - The Times
    This album [serves] a vital reminder that there is more depth of feeling, emotional power and intellectual stimulation to the art of music-making than we can ever hope to truly understand. All we can do is applaudClassic FM Magazine
  • The four coronations of the twentieth century were enormous and extravagant. Replete with festive pageantry, these ceremonies were joyful celebrations of British music, employing tremendous forces. Choirs from across London and beyond were marshalled to provide a chorus of over 400 voices; a full-size symphony orchestra was squeezed into Westminster Abbey, whilst bands of fanfare trumpeters led the pomp and celebration. In the imposing surroundings of Ely Cathedral, Paul McCreesh and Gabrieli bring the history, ceremony and liturgy of these extraordinary events to life. With his renowned creative flair, McCreesh’s painstaking research provides the springboard for their latest ground-breaking recreation project. The result is a joyful celebration of five centuries of choral music, performed with the same vast forces as were heard at the coronation services. Alongside an orchestra of rare early-twentieth century instruments, an extended Gabrieli Consort is amplified by the energetic sound and fresh faces of several hundred young singers from Gabrieli’s choral training programme Gabrieli Roar. The music is interspersed by the coronation liturgy, with Simon Russell Beale speaking the part of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Performance ★★ Recording★★★★★ McCreesh at his considerable best - BBC Music Magazine ★ Paul McCreesh has magnificently recreated this unique coronation rite... truly heart-warming - Choir & Organ ★ An astonishing recording - The Times ★ McCreesh has conceived and executed a magnificent project - Classical Source ★ Palpable enthusiasm and engagement - Planet Hugill One can imagine the virtuosity required by every contributor, at every turn, to make this a reality, let alone a dazzling triumph - Gramophone A most recommendable treat - MusicWeb International This is something very special - Cross Rhythms
  • This is the first in a new series of releases from the world-renowned conductor Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort. Recorded in Poland as part of the Wratislava Cantans Festival (of which McCreesh is artistic director) this staggering performance of Berlioz's 'Grand Mass for the Dead' is produced by a force of over 400 performers - drawn from the Gabrieli Consort and Players, the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and students from Chetham's School of Music. Future releases with McCreesh will include Mendelssohn's Elijah, Haydn's The Seasons, Britten's War Requiem and a re-recording of their famed disc 'A Venetian Coronation'. Founded in 1982 by Artistic Director Paul McCreesh, Gabrieli Consort & Players are worldrenowned interpreters of great choral and instrumental repertoire, spanning from the renaissance to the present day. Their performances encompass virtuosic a cappella programmes, mould-breaking reconstructions of music for historical events, and major works from the oratorio tradition. They are regular visitors to the world's most prestigious concert halls and festivals and have built a large and distinguished discography. Anyone in search of a transformative listening experience, Berlioz agnostics among them, should make this release a priority purchaseClassic FM Magazine The contrapuntal intricacy of Berlioz's choral writing is done with precision and firm accents, the haunted atmosphere of the 'Quid sum miser' interpreted with restrained, eloquently inflected choral singing and poignant instrumental interjectionsGramophone Berlioz’s 1837 Grande Messe has rarely sounded so thrilling or transparentThe Independent on Sunday
  • Following their acclaimed recordings of Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts and Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Paul McCreesh has once again assembled the mass forces of Gabrieli Consort & Players and Wrocaw Phiharmonic Choir to record one of the iconic masterpieces of the twentieth-century oratorio repertoire.
    The work reflects Britten’s long-held and committed pacifist beliefs. Composed to mark the consecration of a new Cathedral in Coventry, Britten combines the Latin text of the Missa pro Defunctis with nine poems by the First World War poet Wilfred Owen, which vide a moving (and frequently uncomfortable) commentary on the liturgical text.
    This series has already garnered substantial critical claim and a number of prestigious awards, including a Gramophone Award, BBC Music Magazine Award and two Diapason d'Or awards.
    It’s a very well-paced performance, and Susan Gritton, John Mark Ainsley and Christopher Maltman are excellent soloists, totally engaged with Britten’s combination of the Latin Mass for the Dead and Wilfred Owen’s war poetry. It’s an outstanding recording for the Winged Lion Label from Signum ClassicsBBC Radio 3 CD Review
  • The Gabrieli’s first Handel recording in over a decade is particularly special, recreating in painstaking detail the very first performance of L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, given in 1740, with additional instrumental repertoire including a Handel organ concerto and two concerti grossi. With a reputation as peerless Handelians, Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort & players bring meticulous research to every performance and recording project, and are joined on this disc by a stunning selection of soloists.
    ★★★★★ This is quite simply life-enhancing music making, a glorious achievement in every respect - Early Music Today ★★★★★ McCreesh finds all the expressive opportunities in a blissful production, at times breathtakingly beautiful - Choir & Organ ★★★★★ The choral elements are scrupulously handled by the Gabrieli Consort - BBC Music Magazine McCreesh's superb Gabrieli Consort and Players present all this...with flair, a pristine sense of style and infectious energy - The Times Handel's ravishing score [is] realised to perfection by Paul McCreesh and Gabrieli... A glorious recording - The Observer
  • An inspiring sequence of Christmas music ancient and modern, culminating in Britten’s virtuosic choral masterpiece, A Boy Was Born: Paul McCreesh leads the Gabrieli Consort (joined by the Trebles of Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir) in this evocative and contrasting collection of festive works that samples works from the 12th century to the present day.

  • At the time of its first performances in 1846, Elijah was hailed as one of the great oratorios alongside Handel’s Messiah. It tells the story of the prophet with imposing grandeur, inspirational orchestration and beautiful arias, recitatives and choruses. This mighty piece requires mighty orchestral and choir forces and Gabrieli singers are reinforced with talented young singers from the Gabrieli Young Singers’ Scheme and the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir. This recording sees over 440 musicians taking part, including 92 string players and over 300 singers.
    The musical milieu is still Victorian but, rather like the cleaned-up Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, it gleams anew and radiates light. ... a definite first choice - The Telegraph In all this is staggeringly good. Approaching the work in this way fills a gap which I didn’t even realise was there, but now I’ve heard it I think it will be first choice for a while to come. Thoroughly recommended - Presto Classical
  • The great patriotic opera of the 17th century, recorded here in a lively new performing edition after two decades in the Gabrieli’s touring repertoire. Notoriously difficult to present on disc or in concert, this version presented by Gabrieli was created to allow an obvious musical narrative, despite Purcell’s music often being completely dislocated from much of the original theatre context. Gabrieli have been performing the music from King Arthur for nearly a quarter of a century, evolving their interpretation over time. With the score having to be pieced together using separate versions (due to Purcell’s originals being lost), and with Gabrieli’s evolved interpretation of the music, the end product of this recording is truly unique. Their next release on Signum will be with the semi-opera by Purcell, Fairy Queen, in April next year, which is an adaptation of A Midsummer Nights Dream.
  • This programme explores that vast twentieth-century secular English choral repertoire which goes under the generic title ‘partsongs’. It is an extraordinarily rich repertoire to which almost all the famous composers contributed. Buried amongst vast quantities of slightly twee pastoralism – the much-derided “cow-pat” school – are to be found many settings of glorious poetry, forming a corpus of sublime twentieth-century madrigals at least as fine as their famous renaissance forebears. However, this programme has another particular theme: how poets and composers reflect upon the natural world as a metaphor for our own emotional experience. At the heart of this programme is the complex relationship between man and nature, the bitter-sweetness of a radiant and beautiful dawn creating the same unbearable sadness of a ravishing song, and both with intimations of mortality. ★★★★★ This is a simply gorgeous CD, superbly executed - Choir and Organ ★★★★ The Gabrieli Consort, conducted by Paul McCreesh, sings Stanford’s The Blue Bird with such abstracted beauty that enchantment sets in from the opening minutes. Their collection of English part-songs mostly inhabits a dreamy, pastoral world, the home ground of Howells, Warlock and Vaughan Williams, though Elgar’s bleak Owls (loneliness or foreboding of death?) goes further. Outgoing narrative settings by Jonathan Dove and Grainger add story-telling and a dash of bold colours - Financial Times ★★★★ The effect is arresting, and typical of the attention to text and score demonstrated by Paul McCreesh and his singers. These miniatures are rich, each in need of proper savouring - The Observer ★★★★ The selection of pieces is evocative and thoughtful… Stanford’s The Blue Bird is concentrated and controlled, with a lovely clarity of line and a fine-grained elegance of sound. This song exemplifies the many virtues of the performances on this disc - Planet Hugill The result is a clever mixture of moods – a disc that takes the part-song into the 21st century not only in repertoire but also in style - Gramophone Successful and very cherishable… The key to its success is the gorgeous attention to detail which draws the most exquisite sounds from the choir - Music Web International
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