"Eleven choir songs show composer Roxanna Panufnik’s inspiring imagination and her expressivity. The performances are excellent and the recorded sound gives full satisfaction."Pizzicato, 19-9-2018
One of the UK’s most lauded composers, Roxanna Panufnik celebrates her 50th birthday with a new release of her previously unrecorded choral music, performed by leading British choir Ex Cathedra under Jeffrey Skidmore. Known for her interest in world music, the programme includes performances from Indian arts organisation Milapfest on Unending Love, as well as the a recording of Child of Heaven: Dawn Chorus III – a new commission from Ex Cathedra that sets a Hymn to Dawn from the Rig Veda.
Roxanna has written a wide range of pieces including opera, ballet, music theatre, choral works, chamber compositions and music for film and television which are regularly performed all over the world.
Ex Cathedra is a leading UK choir and Early Music ensemble with a repertoire that reaches from the 12th to the 21st centuries. We are known for our passion for seeking out the best, the unfamiliar and the unexpected in the choral repertoire and for giving dynamic performances underpinned by detailed research.
Founded in 1969 by Jeffrey Skidmore, the group has grown into a unique musical resource, comprising specialist chamber choir, vocal Consort, period-instrument orchestra and a thriving education programme, aiming to explore, research and commission the finest choral music and to set the highest standards for excellence in performance and training.
We present a series of concerts in Birmingham, where we are a resident ensemble at Town Hall & Symphony Hall, across the Midlands, and in London. We also enjoy invitations to appear at festivals and concert series across the UK and abroad. There have been collaborations with Fretwork viol consort, The City Musick, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts, Concerto Palatino, Birmingham Opera Company, Sinfonia New York, the CBSO, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Quebecois dance company Cas Public, the Shakespeare Institute, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
‘Cathedra’ is the name for a bishop’s throne, and a cathedral is the building that houses that throne. When Jeffrey Skidmore and one of the founding members of the choir were choosing a name for the new group in 1969, they chose Ex Cathedra because it literally means ‘from the throne’ or in English usage ‘with authority’. At the time, Jeffrey and several members of the choir sang at Birmingham Cathedral. The pun was attractive, but researching and understanding the repertoire so that it can be performed with authority, style and passion has been a guiding principle since those first performances.
Jeffrey Skidmore’s reputation as one of the UK’s leading choral directors and an ardent advocate of the importance of singing in people’s lives today is rooted in his work with Ex Cathedra, the ensemble he founded over 45 years ago.
Jeffrey’s driving passion has been to refresh and reinvigorate the choral repertoire and to make it accessible to as many people as possible. He and Ex Cathedra have long been known for exciting and innovative but always attractive programming, underpinned by thorough research and preparation.
Jeffrey is a pioneer in the field of research and performance of choral works of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, both in the old and new worlds, and has won wide acclaim for his recordings of French and Latin American Baroque music with Ex Cathedra.
With Ex Cathedra, Jeffrey has commissioned more than thirty new works and conducted many world premieres by composers including Sally Beamish, Fyfe Hutchins, Gabriel Jackson, John Joubert, James MacMillan, Roxanna Panufnik, Alec Roth, Daryl Runswick, Peter Sculthorpe, Philip Shepherd, Peter Wiegold and Roderick Williams.
He has also worked with other ensembles including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Aalborg Sinfoniorkester, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Sinfonia New York, and the BBC Singers.
In the field of opera he has worked with Birmingham Opera Company; Welsh National Opera; Marc Minkowski and David McVicker on the 2004 production of Semele at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris; and has given the first performances in modern times of the French Baroque operas Zaïde by Royer and Isis by Lully.
Jeffrey is Artistic Director of the Early Music programme at Birmingham Conservatoire, and is a regular contributor to the choral programme at Dartington International Summer School and to a wide range of choral workshops and summer schools at home and abroad.
ROXANNA PANUFNIK b.1968 ARAM, GRSM(hons), LRAM studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music and, since then, has written a wide range of pieces – opera, ballet, music theatre, choral works, orchestral and chamber compositions, and music for film and television – which are performed all over the world. She has a great love of music from a huge variety of cultures and different faiths, whose influence she uses liberally throughout her compositions. 2018, Roxanna’s 50th Birthday year, saw some exciting commissions and premieres for the BBC Last Night of the Proms and a co-commissioned oratorio “Faithful Journey – a Mass for Poland” for City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Poland, marking Poland’s centenary as an independent state. 2019 included a new commission for two conductors and two choirs, premiered by Marin Alsop and Valentina Peleggi with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and 2022 will see the world premiere of “Ever Us” for 10 choirs symphony orchestra commissioned by the Rundfunkchor Berlin for their 2020 Beethoven anniversary celebrations and a new opera for Garsington Opera.
Her works are published by Peters Edition Ltd and recorded on many labels including Signum, Warner Classics, Chandos, and EMI Classics.
Eleven choir songs show composer Roxanna Panufnik’s inspiring imagination and her expressivity. The performances are excellent and the recorded sound gives full satisfaction.