Alumni Profile: Rory McCleery

Rory graduated from St. Peter’s College, where he was organ scholar, in 2008 with a first in Music, subsequently gaining an MSt in Musicology with Distinction from the Queen’s College in 2009.

While an undergraduate at St. Peter’s, Rory founded The Marian Consort, an early music vocal ensemble with whom he now performs across the UK and Europe: recent highlights have included recitals for Aldeburgh Music, the Tage Alter Musik Regensburg and the Festival de Música Antiga Valencia; concerts for the Leipzig A Cappella Festival and the St Magnus International Festival, Orkney; performances at the Festival Alte Musik Knechtsteden, Cheltenham Festival and the British Academy; and a lecture-recital for BBC Radio 3’s The Early Music Show.

The Marian Consort is also a proud exponent of contemporary repertoire, and as part of this commitment to new music, the group has commissioned works from leading British choral composers, including Cecilia McDowall, Matthew Martin and Cheryl Frances-Hoad. The Marian Consort often collaborates in performance and recording with a variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles: recent project partners have included the Carducci Quartet; the Choir of Merton College, Oxford; the Berkeley Ensemble; the Rose Consort of Viols; the Monteverdi String Band; and Ludus Baroque in repertoire ranging from Byrd, Parsons, Bach and Monteverdi to Arvo Pärt and Michael Berkeley.

The Marian Consort has to date released seven CDs with Delphian Records, all of which have met with considerable critical acclaim in the broadsheets and specialist press. Their discs have been praised for ‘performances that glow with golden purity and soul’, ‘precision and pellucid textures’, ‘impeccable polish and blend’ and for ‘drawing the listener in by quiet persuasion and musical intelligence of the highest order’.

Rory also greatly enjoys working as a countertenor soloist and consort singer with ensembles including The Dunedin Consort, The Monteverdi Choir, Ludus Baroque, The Sixteen, The Gabrieli Consort, Contrapunctus, Le Concert d’Astrée, The Academy of Ancient Music, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and The Cardinall’s Musick.

Recent solo performances have included Bach St John and St Matthew Passions; Handel Messiah, Dixit Dominus and Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne; Pärt Passio and Stabat Mater; Purcell Come ye Sons of Art, Ode to St Cecilia and Welcome to All the Pleasures; and Britten Abraham and Isaac in venues including the Chapelle Royale de Versailles, The Concertgebouw Brugge, the Snape Maltings Concert Hall, and the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh.

Rory is also in demand as a guest conductor, chorus master and workshop leader, and is a passionate believer in the importance of music education and singing for young people: he is the Associate Director of the Oxford Youth Choirs.

An open day for Choral and Organ Scholars will be held on April 22nd: https://www.music.ox.ac.uk/apply/undergraduate/open-days/