Choir of Clare College, Cambridge
At a glance
Choir of Clare College, Cambridge
This really is exceptional singing - immaculately balanced and blended, with text always at its heart. Ross and his young singers have given us quite the gift in this series. I can't wait to hear what they do next.Alexandra Coghlan, Gramophone
Since the founding of a mixed voice choir in 1972, the Choir of Clare College has gained an international reputation as one of the leading university choral groups in the world.
Since the founding of a mixed voice choir in 1972, the Choir of Clare College has gained an international reputation as one of the world’s leading university choirs. In addition to its primary function of leading services three times a week in the College chapel, the Choir keeps an active schedule recording, broadcasting, and performing. Former directors have included John Rutter and Timothy Brown. Under the direction of Graham Ross, Director of Music since 2010, it has been praised for its consistently ‘thrilling’ and ‘outstanding’ performances worldwide. Recent engagements include performances with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfonia Nacional de Mexico, as well as recitals in Barcelona’s Palau de Musica, El Escorial Madrid, Palacio de Bellas Artes Mexico City, St John’s Smith Square London, and across the USA and Canada.
In addition to live performances, the Choir has produced an impressive discography of more than forty recordings. Their recordings under Graham Ross on the Harmonia Mundi label have been released to great critical acclaim, earning praise for ‘exceptional singing’ and ‘immaculate performances’, a Le Choix de France Musique and a Diapason d’Or award, and garnering a Gramophone Award nomination. The Choir’s nine-disc series of Music for the Church Year has received numerous 5 star reviews in the national and international press, with recordings for Advent (2013), Passiontide (2014), Christmas (2014), Ascensiontide and Pentecost (2015), All Saints and All Souls (2015), Easter (2016), Epiphany (2017), Corpus Christi (2017) and Trinity (2018). The Choir’s album Remembrance featured as Classic FM’s Album of the Week, and other acclaimed recent recordings have included the first recording of choral works by Imogen Holst, and Reformation 1517–2017, a special album of music celebrating the quincentenary of the Reformation, STABAT, focussing on the music of Arvo Pärt and an album of traditional carols offered by twentieth-century composers, arranged around Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. The Choir’s latest album is Ice Land: The Eternal Music, a selection of Icelandic music of the last century, released by the Harmonia Mundi label in 2022 and once again featured as Classic FM’s Album of the Week.
The Choir has toured widely, including in the United States of America, Australia, Japan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia, the Middle East, Iceland, and mainland Europe. It has collaborated with the OAE in performances of Handel’s Jephtha under the direction of René Jacobs, with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, with the LPO at the Royal Festival Hall conducted by Sir Mark Elder and Vladimir Jurowski, and with many other ensembles including the Academy of Ancient Music, European Union Baroque Orchestra, Freiburger Barockorchester, Israel Camerata, Aurora Orchestra, the Schubert Ensemble and the Dmitri Ensemble. The Choir performs a wide range of repertoire throughout the year, and has commissioned and premièred works by many composers, including Herbert Howells, John Tavener, John Rutter, Giles Swayne, James Whitbourn, Andrew Carter, Jonathan Dove, Julian Phillips, Tarik O’Regan, Alexander Raskatov, Graham Ross, Brett Dean, Matthew Martin, Nico Muhly, Anna Semple, Emily Hazrati, Joshua Pacey and Toby Hession.
The disc, featuring Carolyn Sampson and the Dmitri Ensemble, explores Iceland's hypnotic soundworld Read more
This week the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and director Graham Ross are delighted to be touring again, giving live concerts in four locations around the UK for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more
A selection of highlights that Ikon/EPAM artists have been involved in during lockdown Read more
A round up of all the music you can catch up with and watch live virtually over the festive period Read more
Graham Ross, The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and Ben Hancox from Sacconi Quartet featured in The Times Read more
The Choir of Clare College is a choir of quality that, without doubt, had exceptional tuning at all points, a notable elegance in tackling the pieces, excellent balance between voice parts... and despite the young age of its members, clearly observed the choral tradition that has been on this planet for decades... vigorous, powerful and an extremely well balanced performance.Codalario on Gijon Festival performance
A tour de force.Classical Music Magazine
This really is exceptional singing - immaculately balanced and blended, with text always at its heart. Ross and his young singers have given us quite the gift in this series. I can't wait to hear what they do next.Alexandra Coghlan, Gramophone on 'O lux beata Trinitas'
Choir and band – Clare Baroque – play and sing as though their lives depend on it.Choir and Organ Magazine on "Reformation 1517-2017"
Taking inspiration from the seasons of the Anglican year – Advent, Passiontide, Pentecost, Easter – Graham Ross and the mixed-voice Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, have put together a thoughtful series of recordings that keep one foot in traditional Oxbridge Renaissance repertoire while also moving that tradition determinedly forwards into the 21st century. Their latest disc – ‘Music for Epiphany’ – is no exception, offering a collision of new and old that coalesces into a seasonal collection that works just as well as a recital as it does a reference recording.Gramophone Magazine on "Mater Ora Filium"
This is a beautifully programmed and performed disc... Of recordings of the choir and organ version of Duruflé's Requiem, I've heard none better. This, though, is just the crowning point of an engaging and thought-provoking recital, including a perfectly poised and paced Harris Bring us, O Lord God and conductor Graham Ross's exquisite own arrangement of Abide with me.BBC Music Magazine on "Remembrance"
extraordinary and captivating...In Pierre Villette's mouth-wateringly luscious Hymn To The Virgin and William Harris' ravishing Faire Is The Heaven, the sound it produced was almost mind-blowing in its opulence...a world-class choral groupThe Straits Times
These are, all told, performances of real quality and intelligence, by a choir which has carved a highly distinctive niche for itself amid the Oxbridge scramble.BBC Music Magazine on "Haec dies: Music for Easter"
Clare College Choir, founded in 1971, set the gold standard for mixed collegiate choirs and maintains its prowess in this disc of Easter music…Fiona Maddocks, The Observer
Here is music with the power to transform your life.The Times on 'Veni Emmanuel: Music for Advent'
Carefully chosen, elegantly sequenced and excellently sung: one of the most attractive new Easter recordings of the year.BBC Radio 3 on The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge disc of ‘Stabat Mater dolorosa: Music for Passiontide’ for Harmonia Mundi
This is an outstanding disk... I find it hard to believe that the music has ever been better sung than in this searing performance by Clare College Choir.Brian Wilson of MusicWeb International on The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge disc of ‘Stabat Mater dolorosa: Music for Passiontide’ for Harmonia Mundi
It is full of highly sentient, technically excellent performances, and is atmospherically recorded.Classical Music Magazine on The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge disc of ‘Stabat Mater dolorosa: Music for Passiontide’ for Harmonia Mundi
...not only a collection of some of the most beautiful choral music to be heard but exciting evidence of the evolving and unique identity of the choir itself ...All the works on this disc [have] been extensively and intelligently crafted. The singing and, above all, direction are of such consummate musicianship.Gramophone - Caroline Gill on The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge disc of ‘Stabat Mater dolorosa: Music for Passiontide’ for Harmonia Mundi
This is immensely beautiful singing, the Choir of Clare College under Graham Ross producing a sound which is neatly manicured and has been polished to an almost flawless shine. Balance and intonation are impeccable and every tiny nuance and inflection is lovingly nurtured. … One of the big successes is Gesualdo’s ‘Caligaverunt oculi mei’ – … with a choir which sings with such technical perfection as this, this is a performance which has real impact. At the climax of Bruckner’s ‘Christus factus est’ … Ross keeps his powder dry right up to the moment when it all bursts out with spine-tingling effectInternational Record Review, Marc Rochester on The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge disc of ‘Stabat Mater dolorosa: Music for Passiontide’ for Harmonia Mundi
The Choir of Clare College has long been a personal favourite, and this performance did not disappoint ... Graham Ross’ outstanding training of these young singers produced a sound which it was hard to believe was coming from a group of students. ... this was choral singing which it would be difficult to equal anywhere. *****Music OMH, Melanie Eskenazi on Choir of Clare College's Bach: St John Passion at King's Place, London
The choral singing … with the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, supplying the semi-chorus – was unstintingly sumptuous and secure.The Guardian
Selected Discography —
Ralph Vaughan Williams Pan's Anniversary
39 voices from Clare College, Cambridge, weave wondrously radiant textures above the Britten Sinfonia strings. Most inspiring.
ICE LAND: The Eternal Music
O lux beata Trinitas: Music for Trinity
the buoyant performances by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, and Clare Baroque, conducted by Graham Ross, lift the spirits.
Pange Lingua: Music for Corpus Christi
radiantly sung...gloriously recorded...
Mater Ora Filium: Music for Epiphany
This wide-ranging selection from Graham Ross and the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, is their most imaginative so far
BBC Music Magazine
This is a beautifully programmed and performed disc... Of recordings of the choir and organ version of Duruflé's Requiem, I've heard none better. This, though, is just the crowning point of an engaging and thought-provoking recital, including a perfectly poised and paced Harris Bring us, O Lord God and conductor Graham Ross's exquisite own arrangement of Abide with me.
Haec dies: Music for Easter
I can’t think of a better collection of music for Easter
Requiem: Music for All Saints & All Souls
the Choir of Clare College, conducted by Graham Ross, summons all its eloquence for a masterpiece of the genre.
Ascendit Deus: Music for Ascensiontide & Pentecost
Gramophone, April 2015
Splendidly bright...vigorous...haunting effect...all beautifully performed by this accomplished choir. Let’s hope an Easter disc is on its way.
Lux de Caelo: Music for Christmas
Sinfini Music, December 2014
Singing-wise, this might just be the best disc of the year. These young voices are game for anything, impeccably drilled and musically sensitive.
Stabat Mater dolorosa: Music for Passiontide
BBC Radio 3, April 2013
Carefully chosen, elegantly sequenced and excellently sung: one of the most attractive new Easter recordings of the year.
Veni Emmanuel: Music for Advent
The Times, November 2013
It’s heartening to find [Tavener's God is with us] sounding so exciting and magnificent in the Advent collection Veni Emmanuel from the excellent Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. ... Tavener’s five minutes act like a bolt of lightning. ... Here is music with the power to transform your life.
Imogen Holst: CHORAL MUSIC
Gramophone, October 2012
Thrilling... A tribute to the superb ensemble singing of the Choir of Clare College under Graham Ross, who has trained with its impeccable ensemble. Clear, well-defined recording
The Gramophone, December 1999
The challenge to singers is formidable and these young voices do marvellously well throughout. The quality of choral tone is remarkable ... a wondrous record
Vaughan Williams: SACRED CHORAL MUSIC
BBC Music Magazine
…what impresses about this performance is the exceptional sense of shape, both in overview and in tiny details…This comes with a strong recommendation
Related Media —
'For I am under the same accusation with my Saviour' - Choir of Clare College CambridgeFrom Benjamin Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb: A Festival Cantata Choir of Clare College, Cambridge View on SoundCloud
Hymne to Christ - Choir of Clare College CambridgeA Hymne to Christ, Benjamin Britten Choir of Clare College, Cambridge View on SoundCloud
- Ellie Shouls