Clare College Choir
In addition to its primary task of leading chapel services, Clare College Choir gives frequent concerts, both in the United Kingdom and abroad. It has toured throughout Western and Eastern Europe, the United States of America, Russia, and the Middle and Far East, frequently performs in Britain’s major concert halls with many of the UK’s leading orchestras, and regularly contributes to the Choral Evensong broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. Under the direction of Timothy Brown it has become known for the range and flexibility of its choral sound, and for its broad repertoire, including works with orchestra (especially from the Baroque period).
In 2000 it became the first mixed-voice choir from Cambridge or Oxford to perform at the BBC Proms, singing Bach’s St John Passion, and made a further appearance at the Proms in 2003, in a performance of Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ with the Monteverdi Choir. It has sung under the direction of many leading conductors such as Richard Egarr, Daniel Harding, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, René Jacobs, and Sir Roger Norrington. Since 2000 it has developed a special relationship with Ivor Bolton, himself a former organ scholar of Clare College, with whom there have been many successful collaborations, most notably performances of Mozart’s C minor Mass at the Salzburg Festival and an annual concert in Munich in the rebuilt Herz-Jezu Kirche, whose striking new architectural design has produced a remarkable space for concerts. Recent projects with the choir have included tours to the United States and Europe, a concert tour of Handel’s Messiah with the Freiburger Barockorchester Orchestra, directed by René Jacobs, prior to an acclaimed recording of the work for Harmonia Mundi, and festival performances in Innsbruck, Potsdam and Salzburg. In 2009 it will be one of the choirs performing in a Promenade Concert to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the founding of Cambridge University.
The choir regularly commissions new music and has become particularly linked with the music of Tarik O’Regan, whose evocative setting of the Nunc Dimittis, for solo ’cello and choir, written in memory of Christopher Rutter, has led to a continuing collaboration. The choir has an extensive discography, which includes a recording of John Rutter’s Requiem on the Naxos label; this became an Editor’s Choice in the May 2003 edition of The Gramophone magazine, gave Naxos its first number one in the classical charts, and in 2005 was nominated for a Classical BRIT Award. The choir’s recording of John Stainer’s The Crucifixion was released on Naxos in May 2005, it’s recent recording for Naxos with Christopher Robinson of music by S. S. Wesley was released in March 2007, and Tavener’s Ex Maria Virgine in October 2008, when it swiftly became a Naxos best-selling CD.