The Suspicious Cheese Lords
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The Suspicious Cheese Lords

Band Classical A Capella


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The best kept secret in music


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"Maestro di Capella, the music of Elzear Genet (Carpentras)"

"Missa L'homme arme' Sacred Music of Ludwg Senfl"

"Vivat rex! Sacred music of Jean Mouton"


Feeling a bit camera shy


As seen on CNN, in a private performance for Pope Benedict XVI on April 17, 2008!!

THE SUSPICIOUS CHEESE LORDS, a male a cappella ensemble, performs concerts in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Although specializing in music of the Renaissance, their repertoire ranges from Gregorian chant to contemporary composition. Previous performance venues have included the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art, and the XM Satellite Radio live performance studio. The Washington Post has described their performance as “genuinely beautiful...rapturous musicmaking.” They have been profiled in publications as diverse as the Washington City Paper and Early Music America magazine. The Cheese Lords were awarded the 2005 Washington Area Music Association’s “Wammie” for Best New Artist, the only classical musicians ever to receive this honor. They were also honored with the 2006 “Wammie” for Best Choral Group in the Classical Music category. Most recently, they performed for Pope Benedict XVI. This is their first appearance at La Maison Française.

The group that would eventually become the Cheese Lords first met in 1996, when Clifton “Skip” West III invited a group of friends over for a savory gourmet meal in exchange for singing The Lamentations of Jeremiah by Thomas Tallis. The combination of song, friendship, and Skip’s cooking soon became a regular event. To this day the Cheese Lords continue to have dinner together before their regular rehearsals.

The Suspicious Cheese Lords’ unconventional name is derived from the title of another Tallis motet, Suscipe quaeso Domine. In a playful translation of the title, it was observed that Suscipe could mean “suspicious,” quaeso resembles the Spanish word queso meaning “cheese,” and Domine is, of course, “Lord.” Hence, the title of the motet was clearly “Suspicious Cheese Lord” – which in time became adopted as the group’s name. Although their name is humorous, the group appreciates the more accepted translation of Suscipe quaeso Domine, which is, “Take, I ask Lord.” Suspiciously, the Cheese Lords have yet to perform this motet.

The Cheese Lords have released three world premiere CDs. Their first, Maestro di Capella: Music of Elzéar Genet (Carpentras) was described by J.F. Weber of Fanfare magazine as “a valuable addition to a discography that is much too short.” Their second recording, Missa “L’homme armé”: Sacred Music of Ludwig Senfl, was applauded by Craig Zeichner of Early Music America: “…thanks are due to the Suspicious Cheese Lords, who serve up the composer’s Missa “L’homme armé” and a handful of smaller sacred works in excellent performances.” Most recently they have released their third CD, "Vivat rex! The sacred music of Jean Mouton." All of SCL's recordings have been featured on the public radio show "Millennium of Music."

For more information on the Cheese Lords, please visit their Web site at