Since its formation in 2008, the English vocal sextet Gallicantus ("cock crow") has made a name for itself with programs, on recordings and in concert, that explore a specific historical juncture or event in great depth while crafting an attractive vocal surface that makes its music pleasurable for general audiences.
Although the background of the group members is deeply embedded in the English worlds of early vocal music and cathedral singing, Gallicantus' origins are in part American: the group's musical director is Gabriel Crouch, an alumnus of the Westminster Cathedral Choir's boys' section, who took inspiration from hearing the King's Singers and joined the group for a time beginning in 1996. He moved from England to take teaching positions at DePauw University and then Princeton, and Gallicantus has prospered in part by giving major American concerts, including one in 2017 at New York's Carnegie Hall, as well as in Britain. Crouch helped shape the group's 2009 debut release, Dialogues of Sorrow, which, he told The Cross-Eyed Pianist Blog, "is the recording that defines what I would like our group to be. It involves a little scholarship and a lot of adventure. Much of the music is completely unheard but it's all ravishing and I hope our love for it comes across."
The other members of Gallicantus, since its inception, have been Mark Chambers, who has sung with Tenebrae, the Monteverdi Choir, and the English Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble; former King's College, Cambridge, choral scholar (and computer scientist) David Allsopp; Tenebrae, Alamire, The Clerks, and Binchois Consort member Christopher Watson; Baroque opera specialist Nigel Short (also a member of The Pits!); and William Gaunt, lay clerk at Westminster Cathedral and occasional member of Tenebrae, The Sixteen, and other groups. Recording for the Signum label, Gallicantus has earned critical acclaim not only for programs of sacred music, but also for Queen Mary's Big Belly: Hope for an Heir in Catholic England, which explored how musical repertory interacted with critical questions of royal succession and religious life.