Phantasm, an award-winning consort of viols, was founded in 1994 by Laurence Dreyfus and has become recognised as the most exciting viol consort active on the world scene today. The ensemble catapulted into international prominence when its debut CD of works by Henry Purcell won a Gramophone Award for the Best Baroque Instrumental Recording of 1997. It has since won two further Gramophone Awards – for Orlando Gibbons (2004) and John Dowland’s Lachrimae (2017).
The consort has travelled the world over, performing in festivals and on concert series in cities such as Prague, Tokyo, Istanbul, Helsinki and Washington DC. Recent engagements have included the Trigonale Festival (Austria), Barcelona Early Music Festival, the Bergen International Festival, the Lufthansa Early Music Festival in London, Mazovia Baroque in Warsaw, the Stockholm Early Music Festival, Brussels’ Palais des Beaux Arts and Ghent’s De Bijloke hall.
Phantasm’s 20 recordings have won consistent praise. Their first recording for the Scottish LINN label was Editor’s Choice in BBC Music Magazine as well as a finalist for the 2010 Gramophone Early Music Award. Their CD with the Complete Consort Music of William Byrd was awarded a Diapason d’Or, CD of the Month by BBC Music Magazine, and was a Gramophone finalist for the best Early Music recording of 2011. Lawes’s Consorts to the Organ was nominated for the annual Chamber Music Award in BBC Music Magazine, September 2012. Their recording of Lawes’ Royal Consort not only became the CD of the week in various broadcast stations all over Europe and in the US, but also ranked high on the UK specialist Classical Charts for several months before winning the 2016 Chamber Music Prize from Limelight Magazine (Australia).
Phantasm was based at the University of Oxford from 2005 when they were appointed Consort-in-Residence. In Autumn 2010, they began a new association as Consort-in-Residence at Magdalen College, where they performed, recorded, and collaborated with the acclaimed College Choir. Phantasm have also making regular appearances for several seasons at the Wigmore Hall, appearing a total of three times during the 2017/2018 season.
In 2015, Phantasm moved its base of operations to Berlin, Germany, where director Laurence Dreyfus plans the consort’s activities and pursues his own independent research in musicology, performance studies, and music analysis.