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 a commemorative motet, ‘Quis dabit capiti meo aquam’, by the composer, Heinrich Isaac (c1450-1517). Specifically, you will hear the last of the four sections of this beautiful piece, a lament on the death of Lorenzo de’ Medici in April 1492. It is one track from our latest disk, The Florentine Renaissance, produced by Hyperion records (DA68349), a rich and varied selection of secular and sacred music, an aural collage of the vibrant city of Florence in the early Renaissance.