Our large ensemble offering of both early and contemporary music combines world-leading performance practice, innovative and experimental commissions with interdisciplinary partnerships, such as Indigenous contemporary arts company, Karul Projects.


Ancient songs from the heart in the Book of Psalms sound out across the centuries against oppression and injustice

3000 years ago, 150 songs were gathered together to become the Hebrew Bible’s Tehillim, the Tanakh or Old Testament’s Book of Psalms. These Jewish Psalms have been a daily source of personal solace and the inspiration for composers from the Renaissance until today. We sing settings from Josquin des Prez and Robert Parsons to Benjamin Britten and beyond. This repertoire features alongside commissioned premières by Clare Maclean and Cathy Milliken in four concerts in the 2020 Adelaide Festival’s 150 Psalms series.

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Transience and homelessness in the première of a new 32-part setting of the Gavin Bryars classic and a remake of a truly legendary canon from the English Renaissance

The world première performances of a new choral arrangement of Gavin Bryars’s epochal minimalist work inspired by and based on the recording of a homeless human, Jesus’ blood never failed me yet, presented alongside an extended modern version of the extraordinary 13-part canon from the early Renaissance Eton Choirbook. The Song Company undertakes this moving program in collaboration with accomplished vocal ensembles from across the country, and The SongCo Chorale.

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Buxtehude’s monumental meditation on suffering and the human body set with contemporary Indigenous dance, and a major new Australian work from Chris Williams

The Song Company and contemporary Indigenous dance company Karul Projects reunite in a pageant of light and movement to Membra Jesu Nostri by Dieterich Buxtehude and I pray the sea by Australian composer Chris Williams, commissioned with funding from the Silo Collective and setting words from No Friend But the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani. Williams’s flotilla of seven short fragments and one extended final movement is interspersed with Buxtehude’s intimate 17th-century cycle of seven cantatas on the physical and spiritual aspects of the Crucifixion. Co-curated/directed by Robert Macfarlane, with choreography by Thomas E.S. Kelly, against the background of an ongoing refugee crisis at home and abroad.

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A dramatic presentation of the earliest surviving music drama by 12th-century Abbess, visionary, and natural philosopher, Hildegard of Bingen

One of the earliest-named composers in Western musical history and outspoken in her dealings with princes and popes in mediaeval Europe, Abbess Hildegard of Bingen created the earliest-known opera or music drama, Ordo Virtutum, for the female inmates of her Abbey at Rupertsberg. The Song Company presents a semi-staged performance – directed by Leonie Cambage – of Hildegard’s story of the internal struggle of a Soul battling for her mental well-being with seventeen Virtues on one side and the Devil on the other...

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  • Regional Program Partners
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