Fount & Origin

ABOUT the ensemble

Fount & Origin is a Oxford-based early music vocal ensemble specialising in late-medieval and early-renaissance music. We are committed to performing lesser-known works from this period and exploring the rich cultural and liturgical history that accompanies the music. We hope that our work will inspire further performance and interest in this neglected repertory.

Formed in Autumn 2018 by our director, James Tomlinson, the ensemble of a dozen students and young professionals delight in reviving forgotten and underperformed early music to the highest standards of choral performance, combining clarity of tone with an expressive wit, and demonstrating “impressive control over challenging idioms” (Edward Higginbottom, 2019).

Fount & Origin has been awarded the Stile Antico Ensemble Development Bursary 2019-2021, for which the members of Fount & Origin will be working closely with those of Stile Antico to embark on exciting projects and performances in the near future.

Find out more…

Our next event

Wed 27th Nov, St. Mary Magdalen's Church, Oxford

A New Star Shall Arise

Music for Christmas in Medieval England

This programme will transport you back to the wintry cathedrals and now-ruined abbeys of medieval England for an evening of musical splendour from the Middle Ages. We will perform rare and often surprising musical treasures written for the Christmas season between the 13th and 15th centuries, including the anonymous Missa Veterem Hominem of the mid-15th century, which luckily survives in a manuscript copied not in England, but on the continent. Indeed, the surviving sources of polyphony in England from the late-Middle Ages are far rarer than those on the continent. This is in part due to the fact that, for many centuries, notated polyphony was cultivated and copied mostly within the great English monastic communities, whose libraries were largely destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries from 1536.

The soaring melodies of Sarum plainchant, the energetic drama of 13th- and 14th-century motets and conductus, and the great beauty of 15th-century carols and other settings will all be brought back to life in this very special Christmas programme.

Latest news

TMOAM Final Poster design

Concert at Norwich Cathedral

We are pleased to announce our next concert programme, The Moon of All Music, which explores the repertory of polyphonic laments from the 15th-century Franco-Flemish regions. This will be performed…

Machaut mass

We’re having great fun trying to assume the mindset of the 14th-century singer in preparation for our upcoming concert “Fumeux fume”. Hear our recording below as we experiment with period…

A little Cornysh

We really enjoyed performing our programme of 15th-century English polyphony in Oxford and London! Here’s a clip from one of our rehearsals.

Fumeux Fume concert announced

Join us in St Mary Magdalen’s Church for a programme of dazzling French songs from the late 14th century, as well as the famous Messe de Nostre Dame by the…

Concert video

We’re pleased to share with you a video of ‘Nectar et ambrosiam’ by Lassus recorded live at our recent concert.


"James Tomlinson's group 'Fount and Origin' work in the field of a cappella polyphony, from Lionel Power to Gesualdo. I had the pleasure of attending their Oxford performance (Merton College Chapel, 9 February 2019) of Ockeghem's Missa Caput, interspersed with motets by Lionel Power. The programme in itself was intriguing, revealing two very different sides of compositional practice in the 15th century. It was hugely commendable to get this music off the ground. However, the event proved to be so much more than an admirable initiative. It was a very satisfying aesthetic experience. The group of some 11 singers handled the challenging idioms with real assurance. Technical and expressive qualities were strong. There was coherence and integrity in their approach. This was student music-making of a high order, revealing a professional approach, and a genuine enthusiasm for this often talked-about but seldom-performed repertory.”
Edward Higginbottom
11th February 2019