Sir James MacMillan commented: “My collaborations with John Studzinski through the Genesis Foundation and Harry Christopher’s great choir The Sixteen have become some of the most fruitful artistic experiences in my life. A major part of this is being able to talk with, and mentor, some younger composers on their journey into sacred choral music. This new Eton Choirbook project, where we have all engaged with the deep musical past to inform our musical present, has been fulfilling and enjoyable.”
Through workshops with Genesis Sixteen led by Harry Christophers and Sir James MacMillan, the three composers created new pieces in response to the Eton Choirbook which will be performed with music from the Choirbook by Walter Lambe, William Cornysh, Charles Parry and Robert Wylkynson, often based on the same text.
John Studzinski and the Genesis Foundation are the most prolific commissioners of sacred choral music today. Recent commissions include MacMillan’s Stabat mater which was recently performed by The Sixteen and Britten Sinfonia under the baton of Harry Christophers in the Sistine Chapel. The concert was the first ever live-streamed concert from this iconic venue and reached several million people worldwide.
The partnership between the Genesis Foundation, Sir James MacMillan and Harry Christophers has focused on the mentoring of young composers. Previous projects include the commissioning of three new Stabat mater in 2014 by Alissa Firsova, Tõnu Kõrvits and Matthew Martin, new music to poetry of the Spanish Mystics by Ruth Byrchmore, Tarik O’Regan and Roderick Williams in 2011 and, in 2008, James MacMillan, Roxanna Panufnik and Will Todd wrote music to settings of Padre Pio’s prayer Stay with Me, Lord.
Harry Christophers and The Sixteen have performed and recorded the Genesis Foundation’s sacred music commissions these past ten years, including James MacMillan’s Stabat mater, and will also be recording the Eton Choirbook for future release on its own record label CORO.