The King's Consort is a period-instrument orchestra held in the highest esteem throughout the world. The Consort has toured extensively and has made over 100 recordings, performing music from the 16th century to the 21st. These performances are often made with its partner ensemble, the Choir of King's Consort.
The King's Consort was founded in Cambridge in 1980 by Robert King, a student at Cambridge University at the time. Initially, the ensemble consisted of a small choir and ensemble, but by 1982, the Consort was established as a full-time professional orchestra and began touring and recording in the years following, with several recordings made on the Meridian and IMP labels. The Consort, along with the Choir of King's Consort, has toured across five continents, including Japan, the U.S., and most of Europe. Its repertoire consists mainly of material from the Baroque and Classical periods, most notably the music of Handel, Monteverdi, Purcell, and Vivaldi. However, it has performed and recorded music dating back to the mid-16th century all the way forward to the present day, oftentimes commissioning new works by composers such as Michael Finnissy and Michael Berkeley. The Consort is also a regular performer at the BBC Proms. One of these concerts was the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, where the Consort performed a reconstruction of the musical program of the Coronation of King George II.
In 1987, the King's Consort began an exclusive, prodigious relationship with Hyperion; it recorded dozens of albums on the label, many to great acclaim. Among the Consort's recordings for Hyperion are complete sacred music sets of Monteverdi and Vivaldi. It has recorded all of the odes, welcome music, anthems, and services of Purcell, as well as several operas and oratorios by Handel. In 2013, it began recording on its own label, Vivat; the first release, I Was Glad, was a critical success and was a finalist for the Gramophone award that year. The King's Consort, under Robert King, can be heard with Iestyn Davies and James Hall on a Vivat album of music by Purcell and John Blow, in 2019.