The King's Consort
The King's Consort is a prominent British period music orchestra founded in 1980 by the English conductor and harpsichordist Robert King (b. 1960, Wombourne). The ensemble has an associated choral group, Choir of The King's Consort. Together, they have made over 90 recordings, largely on the Hyperion label, and sold over 1,000,000 discs. The orchestra performs concert seasons in the UK and tours internationally.
Their repertoire is primarily from the baroque and early classical periods but has also included late 19th century repertoire as well as contemporary commissions by Michael Finnissy and, more recently, Michael Berkeley and includes recordings and live performances of opera and instrumental music. The ensemble's main performing base has been in London's Wigmore Hall from 1987, and the larger Cadogan Hall for performances that required both the orchestra and the choir. The King's Consort have performed seven times at the BBC Proms including The Coronation of King George II a special programme to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (2002), Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 (2004), Michael Haydn's Requiem Mass and Mozart's Coronation Mass (2006).
The King's Consort Choir appears on the sound tracks of several films, including The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Kingdom of Heaven, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and The Da Vinci Code.
In June 2007, harpsichordist Matthew Halls temporarily took over as the group's Artistic Director from Robert King, who was jailed for the sexual abuse of minors. King molested five boys he was mentoring, the youngest of whom was 12, and was convicted of 14 counts of indecent assault over an 11-year period. A first-hand account of the emotional damage experienced by one of King's victims was published in The Guardian on 1 February 2019. On 1 May 2009, a new group directed by Halls (consisting of some of the then-current players, singers and soloists of The King's Consort) was launched under the new name, Retrospect Ensemble, following a decision by The King's Consort Board of Trustees. The name "The King's Consort" had been temporarily licensed to Halls's group but in 2009 reverted to Robert King.
At Easter 2010, The King's Consort under Robert King's baton performed an extensive European tour of Bach's St. Matthew Passion which sold out concert halls in Spain, Switzerland and The Netherlands. During the 2010–11 season, further concerts are scheduled in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain and the UK (including the Wigmore Hall). Works to be performed will include Couperin's Leçons de Ténèbres, Handel's Ottone, Messiah and Dixit Dominus, Michael Berkeley's Touch Light, Vivaldi's Gloria and Bach's Lutheran Masses. Soloists will include Carolyn Sampson, Mhairi Lawson, Claire Debono, Tuva Semmingsen, Lorna Anderson, Hilary Summers, Iestyn Davies, Robin Blaze, James Gilchrist, Charles Daniels, Andrew Foster-Williams and David Wilson-Johnson.
- Rossini: Petite messe solennelle (Carolyn Sampson, Hilary Summers, Andrew Tortise, Andrew Foster-Williams, The King's Consort, Choir of The King's Consort, conductor Robert King) Hyperion CDA67570
- Mozart: Exsultate, jubilate! (Carolyn Sampson, The King's Consort, conductor Robert King) Hyperion CDA67560
- Handel: The Choice of Hercules (Susan Gritton, Robin Blaze, Alice Coote, Charles Daniels, The King's Consort, conductor Robert King) Hyperion 67298
- Purcell: The Complete Odes and Welcome Songs Volumes 1–8 (Mark Kennedy, Eamonn O'Dwyer, James Goodman, Susan Gritton, James Bowman, Nigel Short, Rogers Covey-Crump, Charles Daniels, Michael George, Choir of New College Oxford, The King's Consort, conductor Robert King) Hyperion 44031/8
- Vivaldi: The Complete Sacred Music (Lynton Atkinson, Susan Gritton, Catherine Denley, Lisa Milne, David Wilson-Johnson, Deborah York, James Bowman, Catrin Wyn-Davies, Charles Daniels, Neal Davies, Ann Murray, et al., The King's Consort, conductor Robert King) Hyperion 44171
- Monteverdi: Sacred Music Volumes 1–4 (Rogers Covey-Crump, Charles Daniels, Peter Harvey, Rebecca Outram, Carolyn Sampson, James Gilchrist, et al., The King's Consort, conductor Robert King) Hyperion 67428, 67438, 67487, 67519
- Bach: Mass in B Minor (Matthias Ritter, Manuel Mrasek, Matthias Schloderer, Maximilian Fraas, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Michael George, Tölz Boys Choir, The King's Consort, conductor Robert King) Hyperion 22051
- Handel: Parnasso in festa (Diana Moore, Carolyn Sampson, Lucy Crowe, Rebecca Outram, Ruth Clegg, Peter Harvey, The King's Consort, Choir of The King's Consort, conductor Matthew Halls) Hyperion CDA67701/2
- Handel: Acis and Galatea (Claron McFadden, John Mark Ainsley, Rogers Covey-Crump, Michael George, The King's Consort, choir of the King's Consort, conductor Robert King) Hyperion CDA66361/2
- The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, Oxford University Press, 1996
- Erica Jeal "King has left the building", The Guardian, 21 October 2005 (accessed 3 October 2007)
- IMDb (accessed 3 October 2007)
- BBC Music Magazine (accessed 3 October 2007)
- James Fenton, Facing the music, The Guardian, 16 June 2007 (accessed 3 October 2007)
- Westphal, Matthew. "Conductor Robert King Convicted of Abusing Teenage Boys". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
- Amy Bourke, Conductor jailed for abusing boys can still teach, Pink News, 6 June 2007 (accessed 2 February 2019)
- Tom Yarwood, ‘I couldn’t deal with it, it tore me apart’: surviving child sexual abuse, The Guardian, 1 February 2019 (accessed 2 February 2019)
- "Taking Note", Gramophone Magazine, April 2009 Issue, p. 13 (accessed 19 November 2009)
- Hewett, Ivan, "Retrospect Ensemble: the born-again consort", The Daily Telegraph, 29 April 2009 (accessed 19 November 2009)
- Wigmore Hall website
- The King's Consort official website
- TKC 2010–11 printed series leaflet
- Michael Church, 'We've found some real rarities', The Independent, 24 February 2006
- Stephen Pettit, 'Intimate moments amid the Jubilee jollity', Evening Standard, 14 August 2002
- Neil Fisher, Review of Prom 33: The King's Consort, The Times, 9 August 2006 (accessed 3 October 2007)