Photo of Lumina SingersLumina Vocal Ensemble

Musical Director: Anna Pope

Singing outside the square

Founded in 1999, Lumina specialises in discovering and performing music that is rarely heard. Ranging from Mediaeval gems to masterpieces of the Renaissance and later, Lumina has also established a niche nurturing Australian composers, including performing dozens of World Premieres.

Who is Lumina ?

Based in Adelaide, Lumina Vocal Ensemble has developed an international following via recordings and the internet. With five CDs published and over 180 tracks available online, Lumina is listened to by over 400 people every day and has had over 750,000 hits on YouTube. Lumina’s most popular tracks are those from the mediaeval and Renaissance periods, but contemporary Australian music is also getting a steady exposure. This is what Lumina is about – sharing wonderful music with the world, seeking out the moments of magic, challenging listeners with new ideas, and giving both old and new composers a new voice.

CDs and recordings
Lumina has released five CDs on the LVE label, the first being the 2007 Music for the soul (2007), featuring spiritually-uplifting music from the middle ages to present day. Composers include Guillaume Dufay, Josquin des Prez, Henry Purcell, Antonio Lotti, Clare Mclean, Anna Pope and Stephen Leek. Their second CD Mediæval Magic focuses on music from the 12th to 16th centuries, including Hildegard of Bingen, Richard the Lionheart, Anon, Guillaume de Machaut, Gilles Binchois and John Dunstable.

The 2009 CD Lay a garland - music of love and loss features music appropriate for funerals, including by Anne Boleyn, Josquin des Prez, Thomas Weelkes, Orlando Gibbons, Giacomo Carissimi, Robert Lucas Pearsall, William Harris, Saam Thorne & Ralph Vaughan Williams. Also released in the same year, England vs France explores music from the duelling countries which includes early mediaeval works and a specially commissioned work about the Battle of Agincourt by Anna Pope. Other composers in the CD include the ubiquitous Anon, Albert of Paris, Guillaume Machaut, John Dunstable, Gilles Binchois, Guillaume Dufay, John Taverner, Nicolas Gombert, Henry VIII, Claudin de Sermisy, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Francis Poulenc.

Contemporary Australian music
Lumina’s most recent CD Australian Soundscapes features entirely Australian music dating from the last two decades. Many of the works were especially written for the choir and the 2009 Adelaide Fringe Festival performances of ‘Australian Soundscapes’. The CD comprises live recordings of these concerts, featuring yidaki (didgeridoo) soloist John Packham, and including a range of effects such as vocal harmonics and improvisation. Composers include Diana Sautelle, Clare Maclean, Sarah Hopkins, Rachel Sag, Anna Pope and Stephen Leek.

Other excursions into interpreting and promoting contemporary music in Australia have included composers’ workshops in which 18 specially-written choral works by 14 different composers have been developed and showcased. Some of the choral effects explored in these workshops included pitched harmonic solo work, beat-boxing, working with a synthesiser, improvisation and aleatoric singing.

Lumina has made over 150 of their recordings freely available via youtube (most of which are also available on vimeo). Generally, the most popular clips have proven to be those based on music of the Mediæval period, especially the anonymous 13th-century song ‘Sumer is icumen in’ and Guillaume Machaut’s ‘Puis qu’en oubli’. Some of the later music Lumina has published on its youtube channel include Renaissance masterpieces by Josquin des Prez, Carlo Gesualdo, Cristóbal de Morales and Thomas Weelkes. Even later still, Robert Lucas Pearsall’s beautiful ‘Lay a garland’ was Lumina’s first film clip.

Lumina have also provided over 30 examples of contemporary Australian repertoire on their youtube channel. Many of these pieces will never have been heard before, and their publishing on youtube provides opportunity for people from all around the world to become exposed to the contemporary Australian choral music scene. Lumina intends to publish scores of many of these works in due course so that other vocal groups can have the opportunity to perform them.

Selling music tracks and CDs over the web

In 2012, Lumina launched its first e-CD Lumina Greatest Hits featuring their 30 most popular recordings on the web. This is available through amazon.com and iTunes as well as Reverbnation.

Later in 2013, Lumina also launched A Medieval Christmas e-CD - available at Reverbnation.

Working with early instruments
In addition to singing, Lumina members have also founded an instrumental ensemble called Lyrebyrd Consort. This group specialises in early music, and generally performs with Lumina in concerts featuring music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Instruments range from rebec, vielle and recorders to viols, lute and percussion. Lyrebyrd also features in some of the early music film clips on Lumina’s youtube channel.

Long-term members of Lumina include founding members Anna and Kenneth Pope, as well as Tim Muecke, Rachel Sag, Saam Thorne, Rosemary Byron-Scott, Clive Conway and Bernard Mageean. Other long-term former members (who also feature on a number of the group’s CDs) include James Scott, Penny Dally, Matthew Winefield, Chris Guntner, Angela Randall and Carolyn Wilkins. Singer biogs are provided on the Singers page.