The Hilliard Ensemble is considered to be one of the world’s finest vocal chamber groups, perhaps unrivalled for its formidable reputation in the fields of both early and new music. Its distinctive style and highly developed musicianship engage the listener as much in mediaeval and Renaissance repertoire as in works specially written for the group. The Ensemble gives some hundred concerts a year, enjoying a substantial following in Europe, particularly in Mediterranean and central European countries, and making regular visits to Japan, the USA and Canada. After several collaborations with Arvo Pärt the group has commissioned important works by other Baltic composers, including Veljo Tormis and Erkki-Sven Tüür, adding to a rich repertoire of new music written for the Ensemble by Gavin Bryars, Heinz Holliger, John Casken, James MacMillan, Elena Firsova and others. New commissions are frequently added to the repertoire. Thus, the Ensemble in 2002 gave the world premiere of Piers Hellawell’s The Pear Tree of Nicostratus in Finland with the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, and the US premiere of James MacMillan’s Quickening with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and in 2003 the world premiere of the Third Symphony of Stephen Hartke with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel. In addition to its many collaborations, The Hilliard Ensemble continues to give a cappella concerts of old and new music throughout the world.