GSCC Member Organization
PO BOX 12505
Seattle, WA 98111-4505
Described as “pure and radiant” (Gramophone), “immensely impressive” (Early Music Review), and “rich, full-voiced, and perfectly blended” (Early Music America), the Byrd Ensemble is garnering international acclaim for its performances and recordings of chamber vocal music, particularly Renaissance polyphony. The Byrd Ensemble, directed by Markdavin Obenza, is a Seattle-based professional ensemble made up of 10 to 12 singers from the Pacific Northwest. The group presents its annual concert series at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle. The Byrd Ensemble is a nonprofit organization.
Since 2004, the ensemble has performed in the greater Seattle area and has toured across the United States, presenting concerts for the Gotham Early Music Scene in New York with Peter Phillips (director of the Tallis Scholars) and the Boston Early Music Fringe Series. In 2014, the Byrd Ensemble was one of sixteen groups—the only ensemble from the United States—chosen to sing at the London International A Cappella Choir Competition and worked with Peter Phillips, Mark Williams and John Rutter, who described the ensemble as “a fine group that has achieved an enviable standard of tuning, blend and ensemble.”
The Byrd Ensemble became part of the Scribe Records label in 2011 and has since produced six records—four of which feature Renaissance polyphony— and have been reviewed by major early music publications: Early Music America, Gramophone and Early Music Review. Our Lady: Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks (2011) featured reconstructions by musicologist Nick Sandon of music by lesser-known English Renaissance composers—Pasche, Merbecke and Ludford—and included two world-premiere recordings. In the Company of William Byrd (2012), Music for the Tudors (2015) and Music of the Renaissance: Italy, England & France (2016) featured more mainstream Renaissance composers Tallis, Sheppard, Byrd and White. In 2014, the Byrd Ensemble was included in the international edition of Gramophone Magazine for its recording of works by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.
Vox16 is a professional chamber ensemble of sixteen singers dedicated to performing unaccompanied choral music from the Renaissance period to the 21st century. An exciting new presence in Seattle’s vibrant choral community, Vox16 was founded in 2015 by director Markdavin Obenza and is part of the Byrd Ensemble's Professional Choral Affiliates Program.