The group's founding director, Stevie Wishart, conceived of Sinfonye as a group combining improvisatory skills derived from historical research, and where possible informed by related traditional music. In 1987 Sinfonye was awarded the highest prize in the Festival van Vlaanderen in Bruges and made their first recording, Bella Domna. Following an acclaimed London debut in 1988, Sinfonye performed at Wigmore Hall and made their debut tour.
Since then Stevie Wishart and Sinfonye have been at the forefront of the promotion and presentation of medieval music with much of their work being regarded as seminal in its influence of a new generation of performers.
Recordings include medieval music for Glossa Music (Spain), Celestial Harmonies (USA), and Hyperion Records (UK). With Sinfonye, she is directing an on-going project to record the complete works of Hildegard of Bingen in a 5-6 cd cycle, which includes a multi-media performance and contemporary realisation of selected songs.
Their most recent CD was a more innovative commission this year from Decca Records for Wishart to create a ‘Vespers for Hildegard’ to celebrate the recent canonization of Hildegard of Bingen, the first composer ever to become a saint. Decca wanted something that would reach beyond the early music audience, and the Vespers includes a newly composed Magnificat and O doctor optime, with contemporary remixes of alia modo antiphons by Wishart, co-produced with Guy Sigsworth.
Sinfonye made its BBC Proms début this summer on which Hilary Finch commented "..... [Sinfonye] conjure a dense and shimmering cloud of sound ... catching different harmonic lights and exposing hidden seams of metallic brilliance” (The Times, August 2011).
Sinfonye have recently made new collaboration with medieval scholar Dr Mary OʼNeill, University of Birmingham and author of 'Courtly Love Songs of Medieval France' (Oxford University Press). Their new program “Women in Love” was performed at the Birmingham Early Music Festival 2011, and the Musica Antiqua Festival in Bruges 2012. The York Early Music Festival has recently commissioned a concert version of the Vespers for Hildegard to be performed in York Minster with Sinfonye and the York University Chamber choir and instrumental ensemble in 2013. Wishart has also been invited, along with Philip Hobbs and Wieland Kuijken, to be a member of the jury for the 2013 York Early Music International Young Artists Competition.
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Date: Oct 2013