The Choir

City of London Choir - Handel's Massiah photo © Filip Gierlinski

Patrons: The Bishop of London, Humphrey Burton CBE

The City of London Choir is a ‘leader among non-professional choruses’ in the words of The Times. Founded in 1963, it has enjoyed the direction of just two dedicated conductors: founder Donald Cashmore for its first quarter century, and, since 1989, Hilary Davan Wetton. It has earned an enviable reputation, both in the national media and among audiences, for a distinctive youthful sound and the quality of its performances.

While no choir members are paid for what they do, they are fully professional in all other aspects, performing with great energy and focus that come from a deep love of music-making and commitment to the highest standards.  At the same time we are a friendly and sociable choir where many lifelong friendships have formed and flourished.

The CLC has a busy schedule:

We promote our own concerts at least four times a year in London’s main concert venues, with leading professional orchestras, instrumentalists and soloists.

We also perform each year for a variety of other promoters in major concert venues.

We perform a wide repertoire of music. Thanks to the inspirational leadership of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for more than 25 years, Hilary Davan Wetton, we have developed a particular reputation for English music of the twentieth century, and we have also recently revived a number of ‘lost’ works; but our repertoire is broad, performed in a range of prestigious venues around London and elsewhere:

We sing regularly at the Barbican, where we gave the first London performance in living memory of Beethoven’s ‘peace cantata’, Der glorreiche Augenblick (which we have also recorded), to a capacity audience with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO). Other recent performances have included Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Elgar’s Spirit of England, Walton’s Henry V Suite and Mendelssohn’s inspiring choral symphony Lobgesang, all with the RPO.

We also have a regular annual season at St John’s, Smith Square, where we have an enthusiastic and well-informed following.  Recent performances have ranged widely from Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passions, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Nelson Mass to Duruflé’s and Fauré’s Requiems, Howells’ English Mass and a wide range of music by Stanford, Holst, Britten, Bridge and Vaughan Williams.

We also appear on the Southbank, at the Royal Albert Hall and at St Martin-in-the-Fields, where we have led the VSO’s charity Christmas concert for more than 15 years, as well as in churches and smaller venues for particular occasions.

Outside London, we have regularly sung at Dorchester Abbey (as part of the annual English Music Festival), where among a wide range of English twentieth century music, we performed Vaughan Williams’ rarely heard Oxford Elegy with Jeremy Irons as narrator.

The CLC has also made a number of recordings under Hilary Davan Wetton, to considerable critical acclaim.

The choir is a registered charity whose object is to foster a love and understanding of music among its members and audiences.  We are proud to count among our audiences both seasoned concert-goers and newcomers to choral music who are inspired to return again and again. We are committed to creating opportunities for children and young people both to perform and to attend concerts.  Besides concerts and recordings, the choir organises choral workshops and residential weekends which are open to members and non-members alike. In addition, our concerts regularly support other good causes and in recent seasons have benefited VSO, Crisis, Arthritis Care, the Queen’s Nursing Institute, the Alzheimers’ Research Trust and Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres among others.

Registered charity number 265024.