About Us

The Marian Consort is a vocal ensemble that presents bold and thrilling performances across the UK, Europe and North America. Led by founder and director, Rory McCleery, the group is composed of the very best singers in a flexible, intimate ensemble, allowing clarity of texture and subtlety of interpretation that illuminates the music for performer and audience alike. TMC features regularly on BBC Radio 3, and has released eleven recordings to critical acclaim, praised for ‘precision and pellucid textures’ (The Times).

The Marian Consort performs music from the fifteenth century to the present day, with a focus on bringing to light and championing lesser-known works by composers such as Vicente Lusitano, Raffaella Aleotti, and Jean Maillard. New music is of vital importance to TMC, and in recent years it has commissioned Dani Howard, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Gabriel Jackson, Donna McKevitt, and Ben Rowarth. TMC regularly collaborates with ensembles, including the Carducci Quartet, Berkeley Ensemble, and Illryia Consort.

The Marian Consort is a pioneer of projects which move beyond the confines of the traditional concert, most notably ‘Breaking the Rules’, a staged concert-drama based on the life and crimes of Carlo Gesualdo called ‘daring and vivid’ by The Guardian. Other highlights include performances in the Bascule Chamber underneath London’s Tower Bridge; the premiere of Dani Howard’s ‘Unbound’ at Three Choirs Festival; and a Wigmore Hall recital presented in partnership with BBC Radio 3. The Marian Consort will make its debut tour of Japan in 2023.

Rory McCleery

Rory McCleery is the founder and Artistic Director of The Marian Consort and has conducted the ensemble in concert across the UK, Europe and North America. Under his direction, The Marian Consort has recorded extensively and become renowned internationally for its compelling interpretations of a wide range of repertoire, particularly the music of the Renaissance and early Baroque, and works by contemporary British composers, and in 2017 was nominated for a Gramophone Award.

Rory began his musical training as a chorister at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh, subsequently reading music at St Peter’s College, Oxford where he was both Organ and Domus Academic scholar before completing an MSt in Musicology with Distinction at The Queen’s College, Oxford.

He is much in demand as a guest conductor, choral consultant and workshop leader, and has led workshop sessions, study days and singing courses across the UK, Germany, Spain and the USA, working with choirs of all ages and sizes in repertoire from the Renaissance to the present day. A vocal advocate for the music of the Renaissance to all audiences, Rory has written articles for both specialist academic publications and broadsheet newspapers, and appears regularly on BBC Radio 3.

Rory is also active as a countertenor, performing at venues including the NOSPR in Katowice, Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, the Concertgebouw Bruges, and the Royal Chapel of the Palace of Versailles. He has appeared as a soloist for broadcasts on ARTE, Radio France, BBC Radio 3 and German, Italian and Polish national radio, and in concert and recording with The Monteverdi Choir, La Nuova Musica, The Dunedin Consort, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and The Berkeley Ensemble among others. Rory has a particular affinity for new music: he features on The Night With’s recent award-winning album release, and will shortly premiere a major new work from Graham Fitkin for countertenor soloist, orchestra and chorus.

Rory is a passionate believer in the importance of music education and singing for young people and is co-founder with his wife, harpist Rachel Wick, of Dunster Festival in West Somerset.

Rory McCleery

Staff

James Hardie

General Manager

Trustees

Ed Hossack
Harry Hickmore
Zoe Lai
Morgan Simes

Reviews

"Singing one person to a part, the Marian Consort give sublimely refined, spacious and impeccably tuned performances."

The Sunday Times

"The performances are models of discretion and musical taste, every texture clear, every phrase beautifully shaped."

The Gaurdian

"'performances are always vibrant and perfectly tuned’"

The Times

"There is an alluring, sometimes intoxicating equilibrium about this disc, regulated by the pure-toned intimacy and blend of Rory McCleery’s fine ensemble."

The Scotsman

"The singers perform with a yearning intensity which is just exquisite."

Gramophone

"Exemplary one-to-a-part performances ... the singing is as impassioned as it is effortlessly elegant."

BBC Music Magazine

"This is no-nonsense musicianship, but for all that thoroughly musical ... The unfussy performance helps the music enormously."

Gramophone

"The Marian Consort’s performances deliver full value in terms of expressive range and sophistication. Pitch-perfect tuning and immaculately clean ensemble … add further to the attractions of this eminently listenable recital."

BBC Music Magazine