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Harry Christophers

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English conductor Harry Christophers was educated at the Canterbury Cathedral Choir School and Magdalen College, Oxford. He founded The Sixteen, the choral ensemble with their accompanying instrumental ensemble, in 1977. The Sixteen performs with an emphasis on early English polyphony, but also in a varied repertoire from the Renaissance to contemporary composers. He has led The Sixteen on tours throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, and on over 70 recordings. To perform music for choir and orchestra, Christophers founded the Symphony of Harmony & Invention. His recordings have been awarded two Grand Prix du Disque honors, two Deutsche Schallplatten prizes, two Diapason d'Or awards, and the 1992 Gramophone Early Music Award (for the first of the five-volume series Music From the Eton Choirbook). Christophers also performs as guest conductor with orchestras such as the English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, and the St. Louis Symphony. His operatic repertoire includes Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse, Gluck's Orfeo, Handel's Ariodante, and Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. He conducted Monteverdi's Coronation of Poppea in September 2000 in his debut with the English National Opera. Christophers' recordings with The Sixteen have continued at a breakneck pace, with several dozen recordings appearing between 2010 and 2017 alone. In addition to conducting, Christophers generally contributes a short note to the graphics explaining his attraction to the music, his reasons for wanting to record it. He has generally stuck to his core Baroque and Renaissance repertory but has ventured forward to Mozart and as far as contemporary music. English audiences, especially, have responded to Christophers' direct, personable approach, and his albums have earned heavy airplay on the Classic FM radio network as well as strong sales. In 2009 Christophers expanded his workload still further: he he became artistic director of the Boston-based Handel and Haydn Society, the oldest continuously performing musical ensemble in the U.S. In that capacity he oversaw the transformation of a venerable, but conservative, American community organization into a state-of-the-art historical performance group, releasing new recordings of such standard Handel and Haydn repertory as Haydn's The Creation (2013). The Handel and Haydn Society recordings as well as those of The Sixteen appeared on Coro, the label established by Christophers and The Sixteen. In 2012 Christophers was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He released three new all-instrumental recordings featuring Haydn symphonies in 2016 and 2017.

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26 December 1953 in Goudhurst, Kent, England

Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s, '10s