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 12th Feb, The Queen's College Chapel, Oxford

The Sword and the Lily

Music for the End of Time

The Sword and the Lily presents music which explores the images in and around an exceptionally beautiful work of art from the fifteenth century. Rogier van der Weyden’s Beaune Altarpiece (c. 1445) furnished the altar in the chapel of the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune. Founded in 1443, this hospital for the sick and dying was created by Nicholas Rolin, Chancellor of the powerful Duchy of Burgundy, after a period of devastating plague and famine in the area. The painting, commissioned by Rolin, depicts the last judgement at the end of time, which must have been an incredibly powerful image for those within the hospital.

Our programme includes Franco-Flemish polyphony and chant from the fifteenth century, and paints a musical story from Christ’s descent and the dreadful blasts of the angelic trumpets, through the fiery pits of hell, and finally tracing the ascent to the pearly gates of the celestial palace. The focal point of the concert is the glorious Missa Dum sacrum mysterium/L’homme armé by Johannes Regis (c. 1425 – c. 1496). This Mass sets texts and music from the liturgy of St Michael, who appears centrally in the Beaune Altarpiece weighing up the souls of the dead. The piece also uses the famous L’homme armé tune, which resonates strongly with the image of Christ as ‘the armed man’ in Van der Weyden’s painting.

Latest news

Concert video

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

Teaser video

Check out this teaser video for our next concert, ‘Qui Timet Deum’ – this clip features some Gesualdo, filmed at our Saturday rehearsal in Queen’s College Chapel

Rehearsals start again

And we’re off! We are excited to get started on our next programme featuring Lassus and Gesualdo for performance in The Queen’s College chapel on 5th March!

Concert video

We’re pleased to share with you the Kyrie from Ockeghem’s Missa Caput, recorded live in concert on 9th Feb. We hope you enjoy!

Ockeghem and Leonel Power

We had a wonderful time performing Ockeghem’s Missa Caput and other works by Ockeghem and Leonel Power in Merton College Chapel last night!


"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