The Taverner Choir, Players, and Consort are among the best-known British early music organizations, but are also known for their interest in contemporary music.
They were founded by Andrew Parrott, musical assistant to Sir Michael Tippett, one of the best-known English composers, whose style had been shaped by his deep interest in the golden age of polyphonic English Renaissance music. Tippett suggested that Parrott assemble a choir to sing Renaissance music at the 1973 Bath Festival. He chose the name Taverner for the choir to honor John Taverner, an important English Catholic composer of the first half of the sixteenth century.
(The Renaissance John Taverner is sometimes confused with the contemporary English composer John Tavener. The present-day Tavener is in fact descended from a Taverner family line, the "R" having been excised by a teetotaling ancestor who did not fancy a surname meaning "tavern-owner." John Tavener was recently disappointed to learn that it is not likely he is descended from John Taverner, as he had previously believed. The potential for confusion is compounded since the Taverner Choir have music of both their namesake Taverner and their near namesake Tavener in their repertory.)
After the success of the choir, Parrott founded instrumental groups both to work with the choir and to continue his musical researches into the non-vocal realm. The Players are essentially a variable chamber group, and the consort is a Renaissance or Baroque orchestra.
They have recorded over 30 releases, nearly always of early music, and most of them for EMI companies. Most of their EMI recordings are being transferred to the company's Virgin Veritas imprint. Subsequently, they became exclusive Sony Classics artists.
Parrott remains the director of the three ensembles. The Associate Director is Malcolm Bruno. Born in the United States and educated at New York University, he went to London in 1974 for post-graduate research at King's College London, where he earned a doctorate, and studied composition at the Royal College of Music. He has held the position since 1986. His responsibilities with the Taverner are in program development, and in the details of recording, television, and radio work.