Individual biographies

Matthew Venner (Countertenor)

I have been singing for as long as I can remember, joining my father's church choir at the tender age of six and then becoming a chorister at Westminster Abbey when I turned eight. From there, I went on to Bedford School where I carried on singing in the chapel choir and then I continued at university where I was a choral scholar at New College, Oxford.

My singing teacher at Bedford, Tim Jones, was (and still is) a Vicar Choral at St Paul's Cathedral in London. When I was in my last year at Oxford, an alto job came up at the Cathedral. Tim got in touch and suggested I apply. I did, was lucky enough to be appointed, and all of a sudden found myself with the slightly scary prospect of singing for a living. The Cathedral job is a flexible one where we are allowed, encouraged even, to work and travel with other professional ensembles. In 2008, Robert Jones stepped down from his post with the Orlando Consort; I auditioned and was thrilled to be appointed.

I now combine singing with the Orlandos and being a Vicar Choral with other freelance consort and solo work. I sing regularly with the Monteverdi Choir and The King's Consort and I travel to Poland several times a year to perform and record with the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw.

Away from work, I love spending time at home with my lovely wife Julia and our sons, William and Joshua. I can often be found doing Bootcamp sessions at our local park and I have become a keen but very amateur gardener. The Orlando's touring life influences things at home too: I am now an HBO addict and have a dedication to sampling as many new American Pale Ales as I can find.

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What am I listening to?

You are listening to Je suis aussi com cils qui est ravis, a ballade by Guillaume de Machaut for three voices. As Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel puts it in her excellent liner notes for The Single Rose, our most recent recording for Hyperion Records, it is “the song of one depleted by the ravages of love.” “My head is filled with no thoughts …. Save for those of my lady love,” laments the poet-composer. You can hear more on the Hyperion website, read the engaging liner notes, and order or download tracks or the entire album in a number of formats.