Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, Iestyn Davies & Graham Ross
Biography Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, Iestyn Davies & Graham Ross
Choir of Clare College Cambridge
Since the founding of a mixed voice choir in 1972, the Choir of Clare College has gained an international reputation as one of the world’s leading university choirs.
Since the founding of a mixed voice choir in 1972, the Choir of Clare College has gained an international reputation as one of the world’s leading university choirs. In addition to its primary function of leading services three times a week in the College chapel, the Choir keeps an active schedule recording, broadcasting, and performing. Former directors have included John Rutter and Timothy Brown. Under the direction of Graham Ross, Director of Music since 2010, it has been praised for its consistently ‘thrilling’ and ‘outstanding’ performances worldwide. Recent engagements include performances with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfonia Nacional de Mexico, as well as recitals in Barcelona's Palau de Musica, El Escorial Madrid, Palacio de Bellas Artes Mexico City, St John's Smith Square London, and across the USA and Canada.
In addition to live performances, the Choir has produced an impressive discography of more than forty recordings. Their recordings under Graham Ross on the Harmonia Mundi label have been released to great critical acclaim, earning praise for ‘exceptional singing’ and ‘immaculate performances’, a Le Choix de France Musique and a Diapason d’Oraward, and garnering a Gramophone Award nomination. The Choir’s nine-disc series of Music for the Church Year has received numerous 5 star reviews in the national and international press, with recordings for Advent (2013), Passiontide (2014), Christmas (2014), Ascensiontide and Pentecost (2015), All Saints and All Souls (2015), Easter (2016), Epiphany (2017), Corpus Christi (2017) and Trinity (2018). The Choir’s album Remembrance featured as Classic FM’s Album of the Week, and other acclaimed recent recordings have included the first recording of choral works by Imogen Holst, and Reformation 1517-2017, a special album of music celebrating the quincentenary of the Reformation; STABAT, focussing on the music of Arvo Pärt; and an album of traditional carols offered by twentieth-century composers, arranged around Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols. The Choir’s latest album is Ice Land: The Eternal Music, a selection of Icelandic music of the last century, released by the Harmonia Mundi label in 2022 and once again featured as Classic FM's Album of the Week.
The Choir has toured widely, including in the United States of America, Australia, Japan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia, the Middle East, Iceland and mainland Europe. It has collaborated with the OAE in performances of Handel’s Jephtha under the direction of René Jacobs, with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, with the LPO at the Royal Festival Hall conducted by Sir Mark Elder and Vladimir Jurowski, and with many other ensembles including the Academy of Ancient Music, European Union Baroque Orchestra, Freiburger Barockorchester, Israel Camerata, Aurora Orchestra, the Schubert Ensemble and the Dmitri Ensemble. The Choir performs a wide range of repertoire throughout the year, and has commissioned and premièred works by many composers, including Herbert Howells, John Tavener, John Rutter, Giles Swayne, James Whitbourn, Andrew Carter, Jonathan Dove, Julian Phillips, Tarik O’Regan, Alexander Raskatov, Graham Ross, Brett Dean, Matthew Martin, Nico Muhly, Anna Semple, Emily Hazarati, Joshua Pacey and Toby Hession.
has established an exceptional reputation as a sought-after conductor and composer of a very broad range of repertoire. His performances around the world and his extensive discography have earned consistently high international praise, including a Diapason d’Or, Le Choix de France Musique, and a Gramophone Award nomination. Regular guest conducting engagements have included Australian Chamber Orchestra, Aalborg Symfoniorkester, Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Singers, DR VokalEnsemblet (Danish National Vocal Ensemble), European Union Baroque Orchestra, London Mozart Players, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra, and Salomon Orchestra. He is co-founder and Principal Conductor of The Dmitri Ensemble and, since 2010, Fellow and Director of Music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he conducts the internationally-renowned Choir.
In recent seasons his work has taken him to Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, across Europe, and in more than twenty US states. At the age of 25 he made his BBC Proms and Glyndebourne debuts, with other opera work taking him to Jerusalem, London, Aldeburgh and Provence. A passionate believer in the unveiling of both unjustly-neglected and newly-written works, he has conducted and recorded world premières of a wide spectrum of composers, including James MacMillan, Judith Bingham, Giles Swayne, Vaughan Williams, Imogen Holst, Lydia Kakabadse, Nico Muhly, Jocelyn Pook, Brett Dean and Matthew Martin. Since 2011 he has recorded exclusively for Harmonia Mundi, including an acclaimed nine-album series of music for the church year, and composer-specific albums of Shostakovich, Imogen Holst, Arvo Pärt, and Benjamin Britten.
As a composer commissions have included BBC Concert Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, National Youth Choir of Great Britain, O Duo, Park Lane Group, The Prince Consort, Solstice Quartet and the Wigmore Hall. As an animateur and through outreach work he has conducted projects in Tower Hamlets, Wigmore Hall, English National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and overseas in Nigeria, Palestine, across Europe and the USA. He has served as Artistic Director of Fringe in the Fen, a music and arts festival in Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, and is Director of Singers Abroad, running annual courses for singers of all ages.
He studied music at Clare College, Cambridge and conducting at the Royal College of Music, London. He held a conducting scholarship with the London Symphony Chorus, has served as assistant conductor for Sir Roger Norrington, Vladimir Jurowski and Diego Masson, and acted as Chorus Master for Sir Colin Davis, Sir Mark Elder, Ivor Bolton, Edward Gardner, Richard Tognetti and Lars Ulrik Mortensen.