Swingle Singers

Pop Group Mobile, AL

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame


Offical Website: The Swingle Singers

The Swingle Singers are a mostly a cappella vocal group formed in 1962 in Paris, France with Ward Swingle, Anne Germain, Jeanette Baucomont and Jean Cussac. Christiane Legrand, the sister of composer Michel Legrand, was the lead soprano in the original French group. There are a total of eight members in the group: two sopranos, two altos, two tenors and two basses. In 1973, the original French group disbanded and Ward Swingle moved to London and re-formed the group with new members as Swingle II. They would later perform and record under the name The Swingles and then, The New Swingle Singers and eventually, simply, The Swingle Singers. Since the London group's incarnation, the group has never disbanded. Members have come and gone and the other members have re-auditioned for the voice part that has left.


he group, directed originally by Ward Swingle (who once belonged to the Mimi Perrin's French vocal group Les Double Six), began as session singers mainly doing background vocals for singers like Charles Aznavour and Edith Piaf. They also did some jazz vocals for Michel Legrand. The eight session singers sang through Bach's Well-Tempered Klavier, as a sight reading exercise and found the music to have a natural swing. They recorded their first album Jazz Sébastien Bach as a present for friends and relatives. Many radio stations picked it up which led to the group recording more albums and winning a total of five Grammy Awards.[1]

An early hit for the group was Bach's "Air on the G String", recorded with the Modern Jazz Quartet. This is also the theme tune to a popular Italian TV Show Superquark. Luciano Berio wrote his postmodern symphony Sinfonia for eight voices and orchestra in 1968 with the Swingle Singers in mind (appearing on the original premier recording with the New York Philharmonic). They also recorded Ben Johnston's "Sonnets of Desolation" in 1984. In 2005, their recording of Bach's Prelude in F Minor was incorporated into the hit single "They", by Jem Griffiths; the same piece was also used in the 2006 film The Gigolos. The music of the group has a trademark sound and is used frequently on TV (The West Wing, Sex in the City, Miami Vice, Glee[2]), in movies (Bach's Fugue in G Minor (BWV 578) in Thank You for Smoking, Mozart's "Horn Concerto No. 4" in Wedding Crashers,[3] Bach's "Prelude No.7 in E flat [The Well Tempered Clavier - Book 2 BWV 876]" in Milk). The London group sang with French pop star Etienne Daho on his songs "Timide intimité" and "Soudain" from his 1996 album Eden, and with the Style Council on their song "The Story of Someone's Shoe" from the 1988 album Confessions of a Pop Group. (Style Council leader Paul Weller claims the song was inspired by the Swingle Singers' 1966 album with the Modern Jazz Quartet, Place Vendôme.)[citation needed]

They appeared several times on the UK comedy program " The Two Ronnies" in the early 70s


The current group is based in London, England and is an a cappella group. They produce covers ranging from modern classics (Björk, Annie Lennox, and The Beatles) to classical music (Bach, Mozart) to Contemporary Music (Luciano Berio, Pascal Zavaro and Azio Corghi). Their arrangements are often informed by jazz harmonies and stylings.

The Swingle Singers are curators of the London A Cappella Festival, based at Kings Place, near Kings Cross.

In 2010, the group comprised the following singers:[4]

Joanna Goldsmith-Eteson (soprano, UK)

Sara Brimer (soprano, US)

Clare Wheeler (alto, UK)

Lucy Bailey (alto, UK)

Oliver Griffiths (tenor, UK) (Replaced Richard Eteson mid-2010)[5]

Christopher Jay (tenor, UK)

Kevin Fox (baritone, Canada)

Tobias Hug (bass, Germany)

Sound engineer: Hugh Walker (UK)


Honors and awards

Grammy Award winner:

1963: Best New Artist and (for Bach's Greatest Hits) Best Performance by a Chorus,

1964: Best Performance by a Chorus, for The Swingle Singers Going Baroque

1965: Best Performance by a Chorus, for Anyone for Mozart?

1969: Best Choral Performance, for Berio: Sinfonia - Ward Swingle, choral master; Luciano Berio conducting the New York Philharmonic and Swingle Singers

Grammy Award nominations:

1966: Best Performance by a Chorus, for Rococo À Go Go

1967: Best Performance by a Chorus, for Encounter, Swingle Singers with the Modern Jazz Quartet



1^ LA Times Awards Database

2^ New Hit Show "Glee" Goes A Cappella

3^ imdb.com

4^ member biographies at SwingleSingers.com. Accessed 2010 March 24.




Source: The Swingle Singers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Discography: The Swingle Singers | AllMusic


More info: SWINGLE SINGERS: A Cappella Profile

Vocal Amadeus, The Swingle SingersAnthology, The Swingle SingersTop Hat White Tie And Tails, The Swingle SingersAround the World - A Folk Song Collection, The Swingle SingersPoor Wayfaring Stranger (feat. The Swingle Singers) - Single, Peter HollensChristmastime, The Swingle Singers

Listen: The Swingle Singers - Download The Swingle Singers Music on iTunes

Listen: Amazon.com: Swingle Singers: Songs, Albums, Pictures, Bios








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