For more than half a century, The Swingles have pushed the boundaries of vocal music. The seven young singers that make up today’s London-based group are driven by the same innovative spirit that has defined the five-time Grammy winners since they first made waves in the 1960s. At a time when a cappella music is more popular than ever, The Swingles are recognized as masters of their craft.
In 1963, American-born Ward Swingle first assembled a group of Parisian session singers to sing Bach’s keyboard music. The resulting album, Jazz Sebastian Bach, launched the Swingle Singers to fame. Since then, they have won five Grammy awards and made more than 50 recordings, with a repertoire that has grown to include a huge variety of music, including new original songs. They have also appeared on numerous film and TV soundtracks, including Sex and the City, Milk, Grey’s Anatomy and Glee. In 2017, they co-wrote and performed a song for the end credits of Alexander Payne’s film Downsizing.
Released in March 2017, The Swingles’ latest project is Folklore, a diverse collection of folk music from around the world, inspired by their international travels and featuring collaborations with traditional artists. With creative arrangements that transport these well-loved songs into the group’s unique and rich sound world, the results are powerful and surprising.
The group’s versatility has led to collaborations with artists as diverse as the Modern Jazz Quartet, Jamie Cullum and Labrinth. Luciano Berio was one of the first composers to explore the sound of the Swingles’ amplified voices in an orchestral setting with his groundbreaking Sinfonia. The group continue to perform the piece to great acclaim around the world, with recent performances at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, London’s Royal Festival Hall and Milan’s La Scala; they look forward to bringing it to new audiences for its 50th anniversary in 2018-19.
In addition to a busy touring schedule that regularly takes them to North and South America, Europe and Asia, The Swingles present their own London A Cappella Festival at Kings Place each January in partnership with Ikon Arts Management. The festival is the first of its kind in the capital, welcoming the finest vocal talent from around the world.