Born in London in 1960, Paul McCreesh studied music at the University of Manchester from 1978 to 1981 before founding the Gabrieli Consort & Players and making his directing debut at St. John’s, Smith Square in London. His sensational Proms debut led to a signing with Deutsche Grammophon’s Archiv Produktion.
Signing of exclusive Archiv Produktion contract by McCreesh with the Gabrieli Consort & Players. First release: Venetian Vespers – the reconstruction of a festive Vespers service as it might have been performed at St. Mark’s, Venice in 1643. Also issued on CD and video: “Christmas Mass in Rome”, including Palestrina’s Missa “Hodie Christus natus est”.
McCreesh and his ensemble open Vienna’s “Resonance” Festival and appear at the Lucerne Festival. Founds and becomes Artistic Director of the Brinkburn Music Festival. Release of Christmas Mass, a Lutheran Mass by Praetorius as it might have been celebrated around 1620 (Echo Award, Edison Award, Gran Premio del Disco “Ritmo”, 1995; Studio Award, 1996).
Biber’s Missa Salisburgensis performed at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London and in Santiago de Compostela. US debut with music by Gabrieli and Monteverdi. CDs include “Venetian Easter Mass” by Lassus and Gabrieli, as it might have been celebrated in St. Mark’s Basilica around 1600, and Handel’s Messiah (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, 1998, and a Danish Grammy).
Handel’s Solomon at the London Proms. CD releases: “Music for Philip II”, with the Requiem Mass by Morales and the Motet Versa est in luctum by Lobo (Cannes Classical Award, 1999), Biber’s Missa Salisburgensis (with Musica Antiqua Köln and Goebel; Echo Award, 1999) and an “Epiphany Mass”, with Bach’s Mass in F major, cantatas and organ works (Diapason d’or, 1999).
European tour with Handel’s Theodora. Major releases: the first recording of the full, original version of Handel’s Solomon, and “Christmas Vespers” as they might have been celebrated at the Dresden court around 1664 (Gramophone Award, 1999).
McCreesh and the Gabrielis tour Europe with Bach’s Easter Oratorio and Magnificat; St. Matthew Passion on tour in the Netherlands and at the London Barbican. CD releases include a complete recording of Handel’s Theodora.
Releases include Bach’s Magnificat and Easter Oratorio, and “A Venetian Christmas”, a setting of the First Mass for Christmas as it might have been celebrated at St. Mark’s around 1600, with music by Gabrieli and de Rore.
Tour of Northern Spain with a programme of early 17th-century music entitled “Music for the Duke of Lerma”. European tour with Purcell’s Fairy Queen (semi-staged) and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. CD release: Music for the Duke of Lerma (CD Compact, Barcelona, 2003).
European tour with Handel’s Saul; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in France. Performance of the rarely heard Abramo ed Isacco by Mysliveček with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Paris and Handel’s Jephtha at Welsh National Opera. Recordings include Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (released in 2003).
In September 2003 McCreesh opens the Royal Danish Opera season with his house debut conducting The Magic Flute. Concert performances in London, Paris and Lisbon of Gluck’s opera Paride ed Elena. Released in 2004: Handel’s Saul with the Gabrieli Consort & Players.
Handel’s Belshazzar in Paris, Lyon, Zurich and London; Spanish tour in July 2005; summer festival appearances at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart, Les Heures Musicales de Lessay and Utrecht’s Early Music Festival; Bach’s St. John Passion in Weimar, Mozart’s C minor Mass in Athens, Innsbruck and Spitalfields, and Handel’s Alcina for Berlin’s Komische Oper. CD releases: Biber’s Requiem and Mass in B flat major, and Gluck’s Paride ed Elena.
Return to Berlin’s Komische Oper for Alcina; Handel’s Athalia with the Orquesta Nacional de España in Madrid, concerts with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Cologne Radio Symphony, Copenhagen Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (at the Bonn Beethovenfest), Budapest Festival, Basle Chamber (European tour) and Swedish Chamber orchestras; with the Gabrielis: Bach’s B minor Mass in London and Leipzig, Handel’s Alcina on a European tour, Purcell’s Fairy Queen at the BBC Proms, “A Venetian Coronation” on European tour, Monteverdi’s Vespers in London, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Aldeburgh, Amsterdam, Spain and Portugal. CD release: Mozart’s C minor Mass plus solo vocal works by Haydn and Beethoven.
Alcina at Berlin’s Komische Oper; Haydn’s Schöpfung and Handel’s Acis, Galatea e Polifemo in England and on a European tour, Handel’s Rodelinda in England and France, Morales’ Requiem in Seville Cathedral, Pergolesi’s La serva padrona at the Naples Festival, “A Venetian Coronation” in Moscow. Other concerts include Mozart’s Requiem with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, all-Mozart programmes with the Orchestre de Bretagne, the Basle Chamber Orchestra on European tour, and with the Gabrielis at the Salzburg Festival and the Festival de la Chaise-Dieu. CD release: Monteverdi’s Vespers.
Performances by McCreesh and the Gabrielis include Stravinsky’s Mass and Monteverdi motets in Spain, Handel’s Acis and Galatea in Paris, London and Amsterdam, a programme entitled Hail Queen of Heaven with music from the Renaissance and the 20th century in Spain, Spitalfields, Brinkburn and Rome, and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in Innsbruck, London and Paris. They also appear at the Wratislavia Cantans Festival (of which McCreesh is Artistic Director) with Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, the Hail Queen of Heaven programme, Monteverdi’s Vespers and Brahms’s Requiem. Other concerts include Haydn’s Schöpfung with the Orquesta Nacional d’España in Madrid, symphonies by Mendelssohn and Schubert with the Orquesta Sinfónica Euskadi, Mendelssohn’s Elias with the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest in Amsterdam and appearances with the Wroclaw Philharmonic, Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, MDR Symphony Orchestra, and the Basle Chamber Orchestra. The Road to Paradise, with a cappella choral music by English composers of the 16th-and 20th-century is planned for release on CD and download in the summer.
He has also established an important opera reputation and in 2008 has conducted two Handel operas at the Teatro Real, Madrid, including a new production of Tamerlano starring Plácido Domingo. For Welsh National Opera he has conducted Gluck’s Orphée and Handel’s Jephtha; and he has directed Mozart and Handel at the Royal Danish Opera and Berlin’s Komische Oper.