Stephen Layton is the Founder and Director of Polyphony, as well as the Director of Music at Trinity College Cambridge. He has been recording and performing with Polyphony since its conception in 1988. He also serves as Music Director of the Holst Singers. In a recent Gramophone critics’ poll of the world’s 20 greatest choirs, Polyphony was voted second finest choir in the world, and The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge was ranked among the top five positions. Layton’s work has been honoured with two Gramophone Awards, the Diapason d’Or de l’Année, the Echo Klassik award, the Spanish CD compact award and the Limelight Recording of the Year, in Australia. Layton’s interpretations of Bach and Handel have been performed by orchestras ranging from the Academy of Ancient Music and the Australian Chamber Orchestra to the London Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra.
Mr Layton formally served as Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Choir, Chief Guest Conductor of the Danish National Vocal Ensemble, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the City of London Sinfonia and Director of Music at the Temple Church in London. Layton continues to innovate, taking groundbreaking strides in the use of new technology in choral music.
Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny graduated from the University of Wrocław in 2000 with a degree in biology. That year, she founded the Kameralny Chór Akademii Medycznej (Medici Cantantes Choir at the Medical University of Wrocław). In 2004, she received a diploma from the Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław, where she studied Music Education and was awarded a diploma in 2005 from the Vocal Department. During this time, she was honoured with the first prize in the National Contest for Choir Conductors. In 2006, she completed the Postgraduate Voice Production and Training Programme at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz. Since June 2006, Franków-Żelazny has been the artistic director of the National Forum of Music Choir. In 2008, she was awarded a special prize for conductors from the 39th Legnica Cantat National Choir Contest. Franków-Żelazny became the head of Polish National Youth Choir, which she also founded, in 2013. She completed course work at the Academy of Culture Leaders at the Economic University of Kraków, in 2014 and was distinguished with the Gloria Artis Bronze Medal for Merit to Culture. The following January, she was named the programme director of the Choral Academy of the National Forum of Music. In 2016, Franków-Żelazny was a music curator for the year that Wrocław served as the European Capital of Culture. The album DE PROFUNDIS – Polish Psalms of the 20th and 21st Century with the NMF Choir under her direction was awarded the Fryderyk prize for the best choral, oratorio and orchestra music, 2017. She currently works as an Associate Professor at the Academy of Music in Wrocław.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator