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Les Canards Chantants Workshop

November 7, 2015 @ 12:30 pm - 5:30 pm


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Performance Workshop: Tallis’s 40-voice motet Spem in Alium

Part of 1.500 Surround Sound

EMA_GRANT_LOGOSaturday, 7 November, 2015
12.30pm-5.30pm workshop; 8pm concert
$35 workshop fee

Fee includes concert ticket ($25 value), registration, tea and coffee, scores, coaching, and music history talk

Thomas Tallis’s 40-voice motet Spem in alium is widely considered to be the pinnacle of the large-scale renaissance polychoral style. As part of our new polychoral program 1.500 Surround Sound, we are offering exceptional singers in the Philadelphia area the opportunity to explore and perform this astonishing piece of music with us, in the gorgeous acoustic of the Cathedral Basilica in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest cathedral.

Workshop participants will sing alongside and be coached by the members of Les Canards Chantants in tutti sessions and sectionals, working from a new edition of the score which represents the most recent scholarship.  The workshop will also include a talk on the history of the piece by musicologist Graham Bier, and will culminate in an evening performance in the Basilica as the finale of 1.500 Surround Sound.

Parts and Qualifications:

Parts are available for the following voice parts and tessituras:

  • sopranos – G2 clefs, middle c up to soprano g
  • mezzos/altos – C2 clefs, g below middle c up to c above middle c
  • low altos/high tenors – C3 clefs, d below middle c up to g above middle c
  • low tenors/baritones – C4 clefs, d above middle c down to b a ninth below middle c
  • basses – F4 clefs, f at the bottom of the bass staff up to b below middle c

Singers can expect to perform 2-3 per part.

Prior experience with consort singing or renaissance polyphony is desirable but not required; however, choral experience and classical vocal training is expected.

Singers must possess a good ear, tuning, rhythmic ability and vocal flexibility, should be able to read music well and must be committed to thoroughly preparing their assigned part individually (scores will be provided in advance.)

Singers do not need to possess an “early music sound”, and will not be asked to sing off the voice or with a straight or restricted tone. Les Canards Chantants subscribes to a fully engaged, healthy and flexible vocal production, in which blend is achieved through attention to tuning, unified vowels and phrasing.

Priority will be given to students pursuing a degree in music.

How to Register:

If you would like to sing, email us at with the following information by midnight on Wednesday, October 14:

  • Name, email address and phone number
  • Preferred voice part according the ranges listed above (if you’re not sure, get in touch so we can advise you!)
  • University, degree program and year, if applicable
  • Brief description of choral experience
  • Contact information of a reference who knows your voice (private teacher, professor or director)
  • Vocal resume, website, audio/video (these are optional, and will help us assign parts)

Accepted participants will be notified as soon as possible after the application deadline. Scores and part assignments will be provided to all participants no later than Saturday, October 17. Registration fee will be collected upon arrival on November 7.

Any questions should be directed to

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Spem In Alium Workshop



November 7, 2015
12:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Les Canard Chantants
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