Sistine Chapel: Mysteries of the oldest church choir to be revealed

Baritone Mark Spyropoulos, the only British member of the Sistine Chapel Choir, will reveal the history and ethos of this remarkable institution at the second event in the Pureland Series at China Exchange, which will feature live performances.

The oldest ecclesiastical choir in continuous existence – the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican, in Rome, was consecrated in 1483 and has been home to the Papal choir ever since – is in the process of rebirth and on the way to becoming one of the most important choirs in the world.

At the event, on Monday 17th October from 6.30-7.30pm in London, which is sure to enthral sacred music enthusiasts, Mr Spyropoulos will discuss the fascinating history of the choir, starting from the earliest Popes around the year 300, and including key milestones such as the emergence of Gregorian chant, the return from Avignon and the Golden Age of the Renaissance. He will also discuss its modern work as a liturgical choir serving the Pope, and plans for the future.

Last year, the Vatican opened its doors for the first studio recording with the Sistine Chapel Choir resulting in a landmark new album Cantate Dominoon Deutsche Grammophon. It was such a success that there are now plans for more recordings.

Mr Spyropoulos will also talk more generally about the role and importance of choral music as a force for healing and spiritual fulfilment, and ultimately a tool through which we may perhaps glimpse something of the divine.

His talk will be enriched by live performances with choristers from Westminster Abbey as well as excerpt from recent recordings.

This event is the second in a new series organised by the Pureland Foundation in collaboration with China Exchange, the forum set up in 2015 by entrepreneur Sir David Tang at 32a Gerrard Street, London, as a platform for cultural debate and the exchange of ideas between the East and the West.

The Pureland Series is a programme designed to enrich lives through creativity, spirituality and self-expression. Audiences can expect workshops, performances, music and masterclasses held and led by extraordinary people with a passion for the Series’ aims.