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Patrons of Somerset Chamber Choir
As a student of Classics at university, Emma Kirkby sang a great deal for pleasure,
and still does. She works mostly with historical instruments, and has enjoyed long
partnerships with leading Baroque groups worldwide.
In recent years her recordings came to the attention of Classic FM listeners who
voted her artist of the year in 1999, and in 2000 she was awarded the Order of the
BBC Music Magazine voted her 10th in their “100 greatest sopranos” poll, and in 2007
she became a Dame. Shocked but delighted by all this, she is glad of the recognition
it implies for a way of music-making that values ensemble, clarity and stillness
above the more usual factors of volume and display.
The choir is fortunate to have sung with Emma on many occasions, first in 1988 and
most recently at its 25th anniversary Wells Cathedral concert in 2009 and for Bach’s
Mass in B minor, again at Wells Cathedral, in July 2011.
Dame Emma Kirkby DBE
Sir David Willcocks CBE MC
World-renowned conductor, organist, composer and music educator, David Willcocks
was organist at Salisbury Cathedral, and then Worcester Cathedral, during which time
he was principal conductor of the Three Choirs Festival and conductor of the City
of Birmingham Choir. He was Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridge, from
1957 until 1974, where he maintained the glorious tradition with distinction. From
1960 to 1998 he was Musical Director of The Bach Choir and from 1974 to 1984 he was
Director of the Royal College of Music in London.
Knighted in 1977 in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Honours List, Sir David still conducts,
in his 90s, in the UK, USA, Canada and European countries, and is president of the
National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.
’The choir has a deserved reputation for excellence’ SOMERSET COUNTY GAZETTE