Chelys Consort of Viols has garnered a reputation for the quality of their ensemble playing and their faithful yet fresh interpretations of the viol consort repertoire. The members of Chelys are leading exponents of the viol, particularly as a consort instrument, and play on viols strung entirely in gut (as would have been the case, his torically), which lends a particularly distinctive sound to the group. They frequently collaborate with other period instrumentalists and singers, and have also had music written for them by award-winning composer Jill Jarman.
The group takes its name from an ancient Greek word which referred to a bowed
lyre, said to have been invented by the god Hermes, and used by renowned English violist Christopher Simpson on the title page of his treatise The Division Viol in 1665. It is perhaps particularly apt then that the group’s highly-acclaimed début disc, released by BIS in 2015, featured the world première recording of Simpson’s Airs for two trebles and two basses.
Chelys enjoys performing in the UK and internationally and has broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Its members are also active in the wider Early Music world, playing with ensembles such as the Rose Consort of Viols, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Fretwork. They are keen teachers and share their passion for viols on courses around the UK and abroad, including at the Benslow Trust, NORVIS, Dartington and the Irish Recorder and Viol Summer School, in addition to coaching school, university and music college viol consorts.
For more information, please visit the Chelys Consort of Viols website