Caoimhe de Paor
Palisander prides itself on presenting imaginative, historical programmes with a wide range of repertoire; performing largely from memory, on recorders up to 6 feet tall. The quartet has quickly established itself as a vibrant young ensemble. Devising their own choreography, as well as writing new compositions and unique arrangements for the ensemble, the group’s members are keen ambassadors for the recorder’s versatility. This is brought to life in the exciting theatrical concerts, for which Palisander is known. “Palisander – making recorders phenomenally interesting and exciting” – Katie Derham, BBC Radio 3, 2019.
Palisander is delighted to have been selected for the prestigious Emerging European Ensembles’ scheme, providing the group with residencies, training and performance opportunities, across Europe. The group was recently awarded First Prize and Audience Prize in the Biagio Marini Competition 2022 and won the London International Exhibition of Early Music’s chamber music competition 2018. Palisander competed as finalists in the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition 2022 and in the Royal Over-Seas League Mixed Ensembles’ Competition 2019. The group was awarded a Golden Medal in the Manhattan Music Competition and competed as Semi-finalists in the Concert Artists’ Guild Competition (USA). In 2020, Palisander gave a concert tour of Scotland, visiting the Isle of Skye and Isle of Eigg, supported by the Tunnell Trust. In 2016, Palisander was selected for the prestigious St John's Smith Square’s Young Artists' Scheme. Director, Richard Heason, said “Palisander is one of the most engaging and characterful groups of young performers... As soon as they start to play, the audience is drawn in and engrossed in the astonishing interaction and dialogue Palisander display”. In 2015, the quartet was selected for Brighton Early Music Festival’s ‘Early Music Live!’ scheme; ‘the leading training and apprenticeship scheme for young early music ensembles’.
The quartet's international performances include Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Poland, Malta, Czech Republic, Japan and Russia. In 2021, Palisander devised an imaginative ‘recorders-only’ interpretation of Handel’s opera, Partenope, as part of the Göttingen International Handel Festival, Germany. Palisander was thrilled to be the partner ensemble of the National Centre for Early Music's Young Composer Award 2021, in collaboration with BBC Radio 3.
Palisander’s debut album, Beware the Spider! was self-released in 2017, receiving a 4-star review from BBC Music Magazine, as well as being voted First Place in the Magazine’s First Listen Podcast. Robert Huggil said ‘This charming disc not only shows off the ensemble's skills admirably, but provides a programme which intrigues’. Classic FM featured a live performance film of one of the pieces on the album, which has received over 5.4 million views! Palisander regularly features on radio, including France Musique and WDR.
Described as “Early Music’s very own Spice Girls”, Palisander enjoys giving regular family concerts and educational workshops, including partnerships with Live Music Now and Wigmore Hall. Earlier this year, the group performed on BBC Newsnight and championed the role of the recorder in music education, in interview. In 2017, the quartet collaborated with puppet theatre company Rust and Stardust, to develop a unique family show. Palisander has been awarded another Arts Council England grant to tour educational project Recorder Revolution! bringing inspiring, interactive performances to schools and music venues across England. Supported by Continuo Foundation, Palisander launched a digital interpretation of its programme, Double, Double Toil and Trouble, incorporating atmospheric visual projection mapping in a theatrical new show, alongside an online workshop for amateur recorder players. Later this year, Palisander will launch a new children’s show supported by the Continuo Foundation, The Misadventures of Palisander and the Malfunctioning Time Machine, features Palisander’s dynamic live performance, alongside animation, audience participation and a captivating story about the power of music-making!