In May 1979, a group of singers and instrumentalists, brought together and conducted by Harry Christophers, gave their first concert as The Sixteen.

Now, 40 years later, the choir celebrates its ruby anniversary with a season full of concerts all over the UK and internationally: going back to key works in its history which have provided its foundation as well as looking forward with new commissions.

The Sixteen and its own period instrument ensemble begin the celebrations with a nine-venue UK tour in February of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610: one of the most significant collections of sacred music ever written with thrilling rhythms, grand choruses and beautiful solo movements. Its virtuosity stretches every singer and instrumentalist’s versatility to the limit, yet the effects of its demands are exhilarating. The choir follows Monteverdi’s dictum recitar cantando (speak through singing) to maximum effect, bringing this glorious work to life in the wonderful acoustics of some of the UK’s finest cathedrals, including St Albans Cathedral, which it will visit on Saturday 23rd February.

Harry Christophers CBE says: “Can it really be 40 years since a fledgling group of singers gave their first concerts as The Sixteen in May 1979? In celebration of this milestone, we’ve got a great season with exciting and adventurous projects lined up. I can’t thank everyone enough who have cheered us on over the years: our singers, orchestra, staff, supporters, and of course, our fiercely enthusiastic audiences for making The Sixteen all it is.”

Tickets are between £12-£30.

St Albans Cathedral, St Albans, Saturday, February 23, 7.30pm. Details: 01727 890210