RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS A Sea Symphony Piano Concerto in C Fantasia on 'Old 104th' Psalm Tune (2)

The City of London Choir announces the retirement of Hilary Davan Wetton as its esteemed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, effective from summer 2023.

The choir has had just two conductors since its foundation in 1963. Hilary Davan Wetton took over from founder Donald Cashmore in 1989 and the choir has enjoyed Hilary’s musical direction ever since. The choir is indebted to Hilary for his inspirational leadership, expertise, energy and enthusiasm throughout his remarkable tenure.

Under Hilary’s direction, the CLC has developed a particularly strong reputation for performances and recordings of 20th century English music, including the works of Ralph Vaughan Williams. So it is fitting that Hilary’s final 18 months with the choir coincide with the Vaughan Williams 150th anniversary celebrations, with the performance under his baton of a number of Vaughan Williams’s major works this year – including the Five Mystical Songs and the rarely performed Benedicite on 10 March in the Cadogan Hall, his majestic Sea Symphony on 3 May in the Barbican Hall, the exquisite G Minor Mass at St Giles Cripplegate on 23 June as part of the Summer Music in City Churches Festival, and the anti-war cantata Dona Nobis Pacem in the Cadogan Hall on 10 November.

“Hilary has inspired singers in the CLC for over 30 years with his inimitable musicianship, drive and unrelenting pursuit of excellence,” comments Daniel Mansfield, Chairman, City of London Choir. “I’d like to thank him publicly, on behalf of the choir, for his consummate artistry, dedication and unfailing commitment. He has been instrumental in shaping the CLC’s reputation as one of the best non-professional choirs in the country. We will miss him enormously. But first, we have a packed and exciting schedule together for the next year and a half!”

Commenting on his extensive and artistically rewarding tenure with the City of London Choir, Hilary Davan Wetton said, “I wish the Choir every success in the future. It has been a privilege to work with this special ensemble for over 30 years and I am immensely proud of what we have achieved together in that time. The CLC brings joy to its audiences, its members and its conductor. I do not doubt that it will continue to do so for many years to come.”

The focus of Hilary’s final months with the choir will be a farewell performance of Verdi’s Requiem at the Barbican in March 2023. Further performances will be announced in the coming months.

For more information about the post of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, please contact Celia Clark at City of London Choir: PR@cityoflondonchoir.org or Jenny Robinson, General Manager: GM@cityoflondonchoir.org

Photo © Clive Barda  

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Setting Walt Whitman’s stirring words and imagery, Vaughan Williams’ first symphony is a metaphysical tour de force for choir and orchestra, conjuring the majesty and capriciousness of the sea. With soloists Roderick Williams and Sophie Bevan, the symphony is accompanied by the highly unusual Fantasia on Old 104th Psalm Tune, featuring pianist Mark Bebbington, the evocative Norfolk Rhapsody No.1 and the spirited Overture to The Wasps. Visit our concerts page for more details.


12th October 2022 will mark 150 years since the birth of the great British composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams. The City of London Choir will be celebrating this anniversary throughout 2022 – at the Barbican, Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square and beyond. News of all events coming to our Concerts page soon.


Join us for a Classical Christmas celebration on Wednesday 13th December 2017 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and acclaimed baritone Roderick Williams. Led by Hilary Davan Wetton, the programme includes stunning pieces by Vaughan Williams and Howells, as well as your favourite carols.

Click here for more information and tickets.

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THE SHOW WILL GO ON….. We are delighted as part of our education programme to offer two bursaries per season per voice part for aspiring young tenors and basses between the ages of 16 and 19. Bursaries cover music costs as well as travel expenses to weekly rehearsals. The Scheme also includes associate membership of the choir for two concert seasons and nine one-to-one singing lessons per season with top vocal coaches. A warm welcome is guaranteed and the experience is highly recommended by previous beneficiaries. To apply or for further details, please send us an email for the attention of the YABATS Secretary. We are very grateful to the Postlethwaite Music Foundation for generous support.

For more information on our education programme and opportunities for young singers, please click here.

We will be delighted to welcome successful candidates as soon as our normal rehearsal pattern resumes following the Coronavirus pandemic, and are more than happy to receive applications in the meantime.

Illustration © Kate Fisher http://damefishy.com/


City of London Choir - Handel's Massiah

We are enjoying a busy and exciting season, exactly fifty years after the choir’s formation. 2014 features a grand celebration concert in March, several returns to the Albert Hall and commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War, a hundred years ago.

City of London Choir - Handel's Massiah

Thursday 14th November 2013 St John’s Smith Square

The City of London Choir (“perhaps our finest amateur singers”, Sunday Telegraph) launches its 50th anniversary season with the trumpets, sparkling choruses and irresistible joyfulness of Bach’s Magnificat. The exuberance of Mary’s song of joy is reflected in Bach’s scoring: with a five part choir and the fullest orchestral forces available to him, the composer achieves an astonishing range of colour and mood, and every movement illuminates the text with perfect clarity and conviction. This great paean of praise is paired with another: Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum, written among national rejoicing at a great victory in Bavaria led personally by the composer’s patron, George II. Composed on a similarly grand scale, it assured continued popularity for Handel in his lifetime, and received the following breathless contemporary review: “so truly masterly and sublime… that [it proves] this Genius not only inexhaustible, but likewise still rising to a higher Degree of Perfection”.

Hilary Davan Wetton (“one of Britain ‘s finest choral conductors” Daily Mail) conducts the City of London Choir with stellar soloists and outstanding baroque ensemble Music for Awhile (leader: Margaret Faultless).

Julia Doyle: “radiant, intelligent and wholly engaging” (The Guardian); “crystalline fluidity” (Early Music Today)

Robin Blaze: “an extraordinary interpreter… I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a seductive, limpid beauty of tone that has so much emotion behind it” (BBC Radio 3 CD Review)

William Berger: “his tone is beautiful, his technique immaculate” (The Guardian)

Click here for more details.

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‘freshness, bloom, attentive diction and a palpable heart’ (Daily Telegraph)

Welcome to the City of London Choir.  Please click one of the images below to find out more about us.

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The best way to experience the City of London Choir’s thrilling sound is, of course, by attending one of our Concerts. We perform regularly at the Barbican and St John’s Smith Square (where we stage our much-loved Christmas concert), not to mention the ever-delightful English Music Festival in Dorchester-on-Thames. We make a point of finding the finest professional soloists, who range from established artists to promising young singers, and particularly value the orchestras we work with, from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who partner us at the Barbican, and the London Mozart Players to world-class early music ensembles such as Music for Awhile and the Hanover Band.

You can also listen to the City of London Choir in the comfort of your own home, by purchasing one of our highly acclaimed CDs. All are available from Amazon.


City of London Choir - Handel's Massiah

We are always keen to hear from new committed singers. If you are interested in joining us, you can find out about our rehearsal schedule and audition process (including our application form) under ‘Joining the Choir’ below. Our Open Events allow us to share our passion for music with friends, family and members of the public as well as providing a glimpse of what it’s like to sing with the City of London Choir. All are also welcome to join us on our bi-annual Singing Weekend, which will next take place in summer 2017. Look out for further details to follow.