The City of London Choir started life as the Kingsway Choral Society, founded by Donald Cashmore. In 1963, it was renamed the City of London Choir and its inaugural concert under that name took place at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Holborn. The opening work was In Honour of the City by Sir George Dyson, who, together with Benjamin Britten, was one of the choir’s first patrons. Ursula Vaughan Williams and Kenneth Leighton were other notable early patrons. The CLC swiftly established itself as a leading chorus; in 1967 it became the first choir to sing in the then new Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Forty years on the CLC is ‘a leader among non-professional choruses’, as The Times put in a four-star review of an Easter 2003 performance of the St John Passion. Describing the choir’s 40th-anniversary concert at the Barbican with the RPO, the Guardian spoke of ‘secure intonation and clear, confident articulation... an achievement of which it can be proud.’
The CLC performs regularly with leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists at some of London’s principal concert venues. In recent seasons it has performed music of the 16th to 21st centuries with the English Chamber Orchestra, Florilegium, the Hanover Band, the London Mozart Players, the Philharmonia, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The choir ventures beyond the concert hall, and has made a number of recordings, some for release on CD, others for use in film and television soundtracks. Recent CLC events have benefited a number of charities including Voluntary Services Overseas, the Alzheimer’s Society, the City of London Poppy Appeal, Prostate Research Campaign UK, St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, the Renewal of St Martin-in-the-Fields and Crisis.
The choir’s development owes much to the inspirational leadership of Hilary Davan Wetton, who succeeded Donald Cashmore as Principal Conductor in 1989 and to Mark Williams, Associate Conductor.
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