Since 2016, Carduus (formerly the Carr Consort) has brought top-level performances of early and modern acapella music to Boston audiences. Hailed by the Boston Musical Intelligencer as “...[expressive and emotional]...” for their performance of music by Ives and Gesualdo, the ensemble is quickly establishing itself as a formidable performing force of early and modern vocal chamber music.

Carduus’ mission is to bring vivid performances of often unheard works, and to introduce lesser performed composers into the canon of unconducted chamber choir repertoire. Concerts have included music by Josquin, Ligeti, Tallis, Howells, Victoria, Ives, Gesualdo, Hindman, Dufay, Martin, de la Rue, Messiaen, Moody, Bouque, and Hiser.

Founding members of Carduus met at New England Conservatory, and maintains a relationship with the school. Carduus performs in Jordan Hall in collaboration with NEC’s Contemporary Ensemble, and as part of the “NEC Opens its Doors” series. They have coached with NEC’s John Heiss, and performed in masterclass with Scott Metcalfe and members of Blue Heron.


The word "Carduus" means "thistle" in Latin. We feel that it captures our range of musical affects: from beautiful to a little bit edgy. We identify with the fact that it is not expressly religious, but can be tied in with religious concepts very easily. And we enjoy the varied symbolism it has held throughout the ages, how this one symbol has meant different things to different groups of people.


Holly Druckman is Carduus’ Founder and Artistic Director; its Treasurer is Catherine Psarakis, its Secretary is Jacob Hiser, and its Marketing Director is Wei En Chan.

Learn more about Carduus director Holly Druckman