© Roger Way
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, from 1989 to 2023, 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 (or co-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 regularly make recordings, often with London's leading orchestras.
We perform a wide repertoire of music. Thanks to the inspirational leadership of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for more than 30 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:
At the Barbican, where we gave the first London performance in living memory of Beethoven’s ‘peace cantata’, Der glorreiche Augenblick to a capacity audience with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. 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, Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, Mendelssohn's Elijah and Vaughan Williams's Sea Symphony.
At the Royal Albert Hall, including Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe in the choir's BBC Proms debut, and a highly acclaimed performance of Mahler's 8th Symphony.
At Cadogan Hall, where we have performed numerous works including all Haydn's late masses, Mozart's Requiem and C Minor Mass, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Duruflé’s and Fauré’s Requiems, and Vaughan Williams's Toward the Unknown Region, Five Mystical Songs and Dona Nobis Pacem.
At St John’s Smith Square. As well as our annual sell-out Christmas concert, performances in recent years 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.
At the Royal Festival Hall where we have performed Mozart's Requiem and Orff's Carmina Burana.
At St Giles Cripplegate, as part of Summer Music in City Churches.
At St Martin-in-the-Fields and St George's Hanover Square, where we have led charity Christmas concerts for many years, as well as other churches and smaller venues for particular occasions.
At Dorchester Abbey in Oxfordshire (as part of the annual English Music Festival), where among a wide range of English twentieth century music, we performed Vaughan Williams’s rarely heard An Oxford Elegy with Jeremy Irons as narrator.
Details of all the choirs concerts from the year 2000 onwards can be seen in our Concert Archive.
The CLC has also made a number of recordings, 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.
The choir is also keen to support other charities whenever possible, and in recent years is proud to have raised funds for the Carers Trust,
St Mungo's and The Sheriffs' and Recorder's Fund.
PATRONS: Lord Chartres GCVO, Humphrey Burton CBE, Lady Brewer OBE Registered charity number: 1164955
ARTISTIC CONSULTANT: Ian Maclay