From the intractable swell of the opening chorus to the profound solemnity of the last, the Matthew Passion contains some of the most exquisite music that Bach ever composed. And there are few greater interpreters than the Dunedin Consort, whose annual performance has become a must-see event. Their intimate, one-per-part interpretation has set a benchmark for the genre, highlighting the very human story at the centre of this staggering musical masterpiece.
Repertoire includesJS Bach - Matthew Passion
SoloistsJoshua Ellicott - Evangelist Matthew Brook - Christus Dunedin Consort
Conductor Sofi Jeannin
Renowned for her beautifully clear and succinct technique, and with a formidable repertoire knowledge and understanding across all genres, Swedish-born Sofi Jeannin has established herself as one of the finest and most respected choral specialists around today.
Currently Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers and Music Director of la Maîtrise de Radio France, Jeannin was previously Music Director of the Choeur de Radio France, a post she took up in 2015.
Through her work with the French Radio Chorus – the largest professional symphonic chorus in Europe – Jeannin became the collaborative conductor of choice for a number of prominent figures, including Gustavo Dudamel, Bernard Haitink, and Christoph Eschenbach, collaborating with orchestras such as l’OrchestreNational de France, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
In 2008, Jeannin was appointed Music Director of la Maîtrise de Radio France – the choir famously favoured by Messiaen and Dutilleux – where she continues to have the musical and pedagogical responsibility of 180 choristers. During her time with la Maîtrise, Jeannin has commissioned many new works, collaborating with composers such as Kaija Saariaho, Peter Eötvös, John Adams and Thierry Escaich, and has given regular broadcasts on France Musique. She has conducted regularly at the St Denis Festival, including repertoire such as Messiaen Trois petites liturgies, Mozart Vespers and the Sinfonia Concertante with Renaud Capuçon and Adrien La Marca.
In September 2018, Sofi Jeannin formally began her tenure with the BBC Singers as their new Chief Conductor. Recent and forthcoming performance highlights with the BBC Singers include appearances at the BBC Proms, including world premieres by Shiva Feshareki and Nico Muhly in the 2021 season; a collaboration with the Academy of Ancient Music and South Asian dance company Akademi exploring the dances of Rameau with classical and contemporary Indian dance; Poulenc’s iconic choral work Figure Humaine with jazz interpolations from BBC New Generation Artist Misha Mullov Abado, and Fauré’s Requiem alongside music by Bach, Isabella Leonarda and Reena Esmail at Milton Court Concert Hall in London.
Alongside her work with the BBC Singers, Jeannin has a busy and fulfilling guest career, with recent and future engagement highlights including appearances with orchestras such as the Halle, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, New Japan Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, and Norrköping Symphony, conducting repertoire such as Haydn The Seasons, Poulenc Gloria, Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms, Britten, Sinfonia de Requiem, Faure Requiem, a selection of Bach oratorio and Passion movements, and Handel Messiah. Choral project highlights include appearances with the Swedish Radio Chorus, Coro Casa da Musica, DR VokalEnsemblet, Chamber Choir Ireland, NFM Choir, Wroclaw, and la Maîtrise de Radio France.
Sofi Jeannin studied conducting and singing at the Stockholm Royal College of Music, the Nice Conservatoire and then at the Royal College of Music, London, with Paul Spicer. She conducted her first BBC Radio 3 broadcast, the British premiere of Consolation I by Helmut Lachenmann, in 2006, and prepared the Royal College of Music Chorus for conductors including Bernard Haitink, Peter Schreier and David Willcocks.
Committed to education and outreach work, Jeannin has worked with the chorus and orchestra of Kinshasa, Congo, and has also been involved in El Sistema, Greece since early 2017. She regularly gives workshops and masterclasses around the world.
Tenor Joshua Ellicott
Bass Baritone Matthew Brook
Dunedin Consort is one of the world’s leading Baroque ensembles, recognised for its vivid and insightful performances and recordings. Formed in 1995 and named after Din Eidyn, the ancient Celtic name for Edinburgh Castle, Dunedin Consort’s ambition is to allow listeners to hear early music afresh, and to couple an inquisitive approach to historical performance with a commitment to commissioning and performing new music. Under the direction of John Butt, the ensemble has earned two coveted Gramophone Awards – for the 2007 recording of Handel’s Messiah and the 2014 recording of Mozart’s Requiem – and a Grammy nomination.
Dunedin Consort performs regularly at major festivals and venues across the UK, including the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival and Lammermuir Festival, with whom it enjoys close associations. In 2017, Dunedin Consort announced its first residency at London’s Wigmore Hall, which continues to this day and complements its regular series of events at home in Scotland, as well as throughout Europe and beyond. The group’s growing discography on Linn Records includes Handel’s Acis and Galatea and Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, both nominated for Gramophone Awards. Other Bach recordings include Mass in B Minor, Violin Concertos, Magnificat, Christmas Oratorio, Matthew Passion and John Passion, which was nominated for a Recording of the Year award in both Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine. A recording of Handel’s Samson, in its first version of 1743, was released in October 2019, receiving Editor’s Choice accolades across the board.
Alongside its performance and recording work, Dunedin Consort is committed to a wide-ranging education programme both in schools and in the wider community. In inspiring and encouraging musical participation, developing vocal skills and fostering a love of classical music, historical performance and new music, Dunedin Consort aims to develop and nurture its potential audience and to encourage the performers of the future.
While Dunedin Consort is committed to performing repertoire from the baroque and early classical periods, and to researching specific historical performance projects, it remains an enthusiastic champion of contemporary music. In recent years the ensemble has commissioned and premiered new music by composers including Stuart Macrae, Ailie Robertson, Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, William Sweeney, Nico Muhly, Peter Nelson, Stevie Wishart and Sally Beamish. In 2019 it premiered four new co-commissions with the BBC Proms, and in 2021 premiered Dido’s Ghost, a new opera by Errollyn Wallen, co-commissioned with the Barbican Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, Buxton International Festival, Mahogany Opera and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale.