William Byrd
William Byrd
English organist and conductor Mark Williams will return to Portland this summer to direct the local liturgical choir Cantores in Ecclesia in a 19-day festival featuring choral masterpieces by the Renaissance composer William Byrd (1540-1623) and his teacher Thomas Tallis (1505-’85).

The opening concert, “Hear the voice and prayer,” offers English anthems by Tallis, Byrd and the younger generations. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at St. Stephen Church, 1112 SE 41st Ave, in Portland.  

The final concert, “Born to honour so great a teacher,” includes sacred songs by Tallis and Byrd published in one fruitful year, 1575. That’s set for 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, also at St. Stephen.

The complete festival schedule also includes an organ recital, seven liturgical services and six public lectures. It is available at www.byrdfestival.org.

Williams has taken up the role of artistic director of the William Byrd Festival. He succeeds his former teacher and mentor Richard Marlow of Trinity College, Cambridge, who died last year.  

Tickets for the Aug 8 and 24 concerts are available online at www.brownpapertickets.com, or at the door. All other events are free admission with a freewill offering.

Established 30 years ago, Cantores in Ecclesia provides Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony in liturgy. The choir has sung in concert and for liturgies at home and abroad and has recorded independently and for Oregon Catholic Press, publisher of this newspaper. Cantores has earned top honors in international competitions.

In residence at St. Stephen, the choir sings for the Solemn Latin Mass every at 7:30 p.m. each Saturday.