Professional a cappella vocal ensemble ORA specialises in performing and recording Renaissance and contemporary choral music.
Led by internationally renowned choral conductor and music educator Suzi Digby as Artistic Director, ORA has grown out of the belief that we are entering a second Renaissance in choral composition, a time when musicians, audience and critics alike are coming together in their appreciation of contemporary choral music.
Just as in the first ‘Golden Age’, present-day choral composers are combining incredible craftsmanship with ravishing soundscapes; there is no better time to engage ever-wider audiences with the beauty and relevance of choral music.
ORA is commissioning some of the world’s most exciting choral composers to write reflections on Renaissance masterpieces. And to do these compositions justice, it brings together some of the best names in the choral world to perform them.
All the singers within the group have performed with the leading professional choirs in Europe – between them they have appeared in thousands of concerts across the globe and have been instrumental in winning numerous industry recording awards. ORA, unusually for an a capella group, also makes use of professional stage directors and designers to produce full productions rather than just traditional ‘stand and sing’ concerts.
ORA is also unusual for a musical group in that it concentrates predominantly on recording. It has planned an ambitious programme of two recordings each year for its first five years with each album containing new commissions. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive; Andrew McGregor of BBC Radio 3 Record Review, says: “ORA is made up of some of the UK’s finest consort singers, sitting to my ears somewhere between The Sixteen and Tenebrae … The melancholy severity of Byrd’s original is beautifully measured, ORA supplying some of the flexibility and relish for the unfolding harmonies I sometimes miss from The Sixteen’s recording … I’ll be listening eagerly to see if volume 2 is done with such a sure touch.”
ORA100 is an exclusive club of music patrons whose members are supporting the commissioning, recording and performance of 100 brand-new contemporary choral works. The members of ORA100 are making possible what will become one of the greatest and most exciting collections of commissioned choral music in modern times. At the same time, they are following a long tradition of enlightened patronage that has supported composers through the centuries.