Phantasm is a viol consort based in England. It was founded in 1994 by Laurence Dreyfus. It catapulted into international prominence when its debut CD won a Gramophone Award for the Best Baroque Instrumental Recording of 1997. Since then, they have released eleven further recordings, won several awards, and, in the words of their website, “have become recognised as the most exciting viol consort active on the world scene today”. In 2005 Phantasm were named Consort-in-Residence at Oxford University, where they regularly appeared at the Holywell Music Room and other University venues. In 2010, Phantasm became Consort-in-Residence at Magdalen College Oxford where they perform in Magdalen College’s Chapel and collaborate with Magdalen College Choir.
Critics have called their performances and recordings: ‘intoxicating’, ‘revelatory’, ‘electrifying’, ‘interpretations pervaded by a truly burning spirit’.
The history of Phantasm and its recordings was featured on the Early Music Show, BBC Radio 3 with Lucie Skeaping, and they illustrated an audible ‘history of English consort music’ with BBC Radio 3 presenter Catherine Bott before their appearance at the Lufthansa Festival in London. Along with concerts at Magdalen College, Oxford, and at the Holywell Music Room (Oxford) they appeared in Saltaire Yorkshire on a series sponsored by the Early Music Shop, at the Barcelona Early Music Festival in May 2009 with a concert of Purcell’s Complete Fantasies and In Nomines, and at the Hong Kong International Music Festival in 2013.
Their CD, the complete five- and six-part works of the Jacobean composer John Ward for Linn Records, was launched after their final concert at the Utrecht Early Music Festival in 2011. The disc follows the success of Phantasm’s 2007 CD, John Jenkins’s Five-Part Consorts, which was a finalist for the Gramophone Award in Early Music, and for the MIDEM Classical Award in Early Music.] Their 2012 Lawes disc was a Finalist for a Gramophone Award in the Baroque Instrumental category.