Rogers Covey-Crump (born 24th March 1944 in St. Albans) was a boy chorister at New College, Oxford and later a tenor lay-clerk at St Albans Abbey. While studying at the Royal College of Music in London he gained diplomas and a prize in organ playing. He graduated from London University as a Bachelor of Music.
His work as a singer soon overtook his keyboard playing and for many years he worked with a number of early music ensembles and in particular with the late David Munrow's Early Music Consort of London, the Baccholian Singers, the Consort of Musicke, the Medieval Ensemble of London, and the Landini, Deller and Taverner Consorts. As a member of Gregory Rose's Singcircle he gave the first performances and recording of Stockhausen's Stimmung by a British group. Although a founder member of Gothic Voices in 1981 his main activity is as a member of the four-voice Hilliard Ensemble. Aside from an annual schedule of up to one hundred concerts the Ensemble conducted its own Summer School and Festival in Cambridge for several years. In 2000 the School relocated to Germany. After many years of recording for EMI, Harmonia Mundi and Hyperion recent recordings have been for the Munich-based label ECM whose catalogue is mainly devoted to the work of composer- and jazz-artists. The invitation, in 1993, to collaborate with the Norwegian saxophonist, Jan Garbarek, resulted in the album Officium. The success of this venture has produced an ongoing demand for the collaboration and a second album, Mnemosyne, was released in the Spring of 1999.
Although the Hilliard Ensemble is well-known for its albums of early music it has for many years been closely associated with the works of Arvo Pärt, the Estonian-born composer now resident in Germany. In 1996 the Ensemble launched its own venture, Hilliard Live, live recordings of concerts on CD.
As a solo artist at concert venues around Britain, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Canada, and the USA Rogers is in demand as Evangelist in the Passions of Bach and as a high tenor in 17th century English music, particularly Purcell. His repertoire embraces lute-song, Baroque, early Classical and Contemporary pieces, the latter area including first performances and a recording of works by Geoffrey Burgon. For many years he has Evangelised in liturgical performances of Bach Passions with Denys Darlow at St George's, Hanover Square, London on Good Friday. He has made a number of solo appearances at the BBC (Henry Wood) Promenade concerts in works of Monteverdi, Purcell, Bach and Pärt. Rogers has performed Bach cantatas and Haydn's Creation with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, has appeared at the Gloucester and Hereford Three Choirs Festivals, as Evangelist in Bach Passions at Eton College, King's College, Cambridge, the Symphony Hall, Birmingham and Messiah with the London Festival Orchestra in London's Queen Elizabeth Hall. Recent engagements include three performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio in the Netherlands with Roy Goodman and the Amsterdam Bach Soloists and his third appearance at The Three Choirs Festival, in Hereford Cathedral, with Bach's St John Passion.
His many recordings include the rôle of Evangelist and the arias of Bach's St John and B minor Mass with Andrew Parrott for EMI; Purcell, Bach, Handel and Haydn works with Hogwood and Preston for Decca; Mozart with King's for Argo and Decca, and Purcell with John Eliot Gardiner for Erato. Major recent projects have been the solo songs, the Odes, and the Church music of Purcell with Robert King's King's Consort for Hyperion. A Vanguard CD and video recording of the St Matthew with The Choir of King's Cambridge and Roy Goodman was released in 1995, with Rogers again in the rôle of Evangelist. More recent recordings include Dr Simon Heighes' reconstruction of Bach's lost St Mark Passion with Goodman and the European Union Baroque Orchestra, and works by Blow, Handel and Boyce with the choir of St Paul's Cathedral and The Parley of Instruments directed by John Scott.
Other recordings include lute-songs with Paul O'Dette for Hyperion (Ancient Airs and Dances), Dowland's First Book of Airs with Jakob Lindberg for BIS and an album of Shakespeare settings with the Folger Consort of Washington D.C.
Rogers' interest in the nature of vocal tuning and temperaments has resulted in lectures, choral workshops, the sleeve notes accompanying Hilliard Live, and contributions to two books of essays published in 1992. These are Companion to Medieval and Renaissance Music (Dent) and Companion to Contemporary Musical Thought (Routledge).