The Tallis Scholars, soon entering their sixth decade as an ensemble, are synonymous with expert performance of Renaissance music. They have won virtually every major music and choral award, their recordings garner regular critical praise, and they still perform around eighty concerts per year. Under the direction of their founder, Peter Philips, the Tallis Scholars' recent output include a complete recording of Josquin's masses and a celebration of the music of Arvo Pärt.
At Duke, they present a program of hymns to the Virgin Mary. Devotion to the Virgin has kindled hymnography in both the Catholic and Orthodox churches for centuries, and the musical selections for this program present highlights from both Christian East and West, ranging from Josquin to Stravinsky. Josquin's Mass on "Ave maris stella" shows the Flemish master at his most exuberant and simultaneously most spiritual, while Isaac's "Virgo prudentissima" is one of the great ceremonial motets of the choral repertoire. Modern pieces by Pärt, Stravinsky, and Matthew Martin offer an appropriate balance to Renaissance polyphony celebrating Mary.