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The Curate's Egg

...was hatched in 1992 in the bar at All Saints Margaret Street one night after evensong. It is an all-female 12-voice ensemble directed by Adey.

Their initial purpose was to explore the repertoire for female voices across the centuries but finding this category restricted and generally deemed to encompass works for children as well, they were forced to widen their search. Commissioning composers to write for specific occasions, The Egg has premiered over twenty new works since their formation. These include:

  • Lynne Plowman - shimmering glimmering
  • Graham Coatman - Infinite Music, Rosa et Corona Canticles
  • Norman Caplin - Omnes Generationes, The Baptised, Ave Maris Stella
  • Bruce Grindlay - Canticles
  • Stephen McNeff.- Canticles
  • Andrew Wilson-Dickson - do
  • Graham Williams - Moving Into The Light

In 2000 they formed Bacon, a male voice counterpart, in order to perform the complete set of Julian Allwood’s Charades at Stoke Newington. This was taken to full production by Battersea Arts Centre in September 2001 and again in May 2002. The audience was seated (lying down mostly) inside a huge and spectacularly lit tent with the 24 solo voices moving around the outside.

The Egg was for two years – 1999 and 2000 – ensemble-in-residence at the Stoke Newington Festival. They have also sung the service of Evensong for female voices by invitation at Westminster Abbey.

In August 2004 at BAC they workshopped and developed new repertoire for "foyer" performance. This is an on-going project which has so far produced Michael Henry's Stairs and Crossings and Stephen McNeff's Food and Drink. In May 2005 they supported Adey in a revision of McNeff's Names of the Dead with the Duke Quartet at BAC.

In 2008 The Egg appeared at Spitalfields Festival, premiering the Festival’s own commission, Interference by Naomi Pinnock, and Transitions by Michael Henry. This programme also included previous commissions from Lynne Plowman and Julian Allwood.

Current ideas that are on the drawing board are:

  • a joint piece with Piano Circus working with the idea of musical relays
  • a concert entirely of songs without words to be sung in the dark
  • expanding Mike Henry's work to encompass even more surprising "guerilla" singing in unexpected places