Oxford College Choir
The Choir of Christ Church, Oxford was founded nearly 500 years ago and has a special and distinctive place within the great English choral tradition. Historically it is set apart from all other collegiate and cathedral choirs since it serves both an Oxford college and a diocese at once, as a unique and celebrated dual foundation. Musically it has become revered for the vibrancy of its collective sound and its artistic flexibility.
Under the direction of Stephen Darlington, the choir's tonal quality has been praised and admired throughout the world from Sydney to Rio de Janeiro, from Tokyo to New York, from Helsinki to Paris. Over the years the choir has provided a perfect platform for singers to progress to other award-winning choral groups such as the BBC Singers, The Sixteen, King's Singers, Tallis Scholars and Cardinall's Musick as well as to solo careers in oratorio, opera and musical theatre.
Director of Music, Stephen Darlington, also engages the choir in challenging collaborative initiatives in the UK and internationally. On recent tours, in addition to performing its own programmes, the choir has worked intensively alongside local community choirs in Portugal, Jamaica, Bermuda and the USA, culminating in successful and memorable joint concerts. In 2008 the choir opened the Leipzig Bach Festival and in 2010 it performed Haydn's Creation in Germany with the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2011 and 2014 the choir undertook sell-out tours to the USA and Canada. Concerts were broadcast by seventeen radio stations across the USA. In 2012 the choir undertook its first tour to China, giving the opening concert in the prestigious annual choral festival in the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing. As well as tours further afield, the choir gives concerts throughout the year around the UK.
Oxford College Choir also boasts a lasting legacy of ground-breaking recordings which have excited the critics and the listening public over the last thirty years. Amongst many awards for its recordings under Stephen Darlington's direction, the choir secured a Grammy nomination for An Oxford Elegy by Vaughan Williams and, more recently, More Divine than Human: Music from The Eton Choirbook (Avie) was voted CD of the year and nominated for a 2010 Gramophone Award, and Howard Goodall's Eternal Light: A Requiem with London Musici (EMI Classics) won a Classical Brit Award. The Treasures of Christ Church (Avie) was the highest new entry in the classical CD charts, as well as being Radio 3 CD of the week. Mendelssohn's arrangement of Handel's Acis and Galatea (Nimbus) and a second volume of music from the Eton Choirbook, Choirs of Angels (Avie) were released in 2012 and 2013 respectively, to critical acclaim. The latter was featured on Radio 3's The Choir and CD Review and was nominated for a 2013 Gramophone Award in the Early Music category. The choir's latest recording, a third volume of Eton Choirbook music, Courts of Heaven (Avie), was released in the autumn of 2014 and has received excellent reviews.
The astonishing versatility of this choir has given them a strong media profile, featuring in more than fifteen documentaries in the last ten years including Howard Goodall's BAFTA winning Big Bangs. The Cathedral continues frequent radio broadcasting of Evensong and other key concerts and services. And of course, the choir is heard regularly singing the Mr Bean and Vicar of Dibley theme tunes on TV, in addition to other incidental music for TV dramas and films.