Summer Update

Present and former members of St Peter’s Choir have been very busy over the summer! 

Director of Music Jeremy Summerly has been busy throughout, notably at the William Byrd Festival, Oregon and the Edington Festival, Wiltshire.

Choral Scholar Eleanor Roda helped to administer an Eton Choral Course.

Sam Adamson, Sula Cotterell, and Kerenza Hurr participated in the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.

Former Choral & Instrumental Scholars also were busy:

Sam Buttler played once again with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales.

Lucy Cox is part of the Fieri Consort, who won the Cambridge Early Music Prize at the York Early Music Festival, and have recently returned from an international tour, receiving warm reviews.

Piers Kennedy was commissioned to write music for the Three Choirs Festival, and the Edington Festival.

Rory McCleery was spotted at the BBC Proms singing with the Dunedin Consort.

John Warner took the St Peter’s College Chamber Orchestra on a European tour, performing works by Gustav Mahler.

Alumni Profile: Lucy Cox

16652009_10154376892942685_1942566374_nAfter leaving St Peter’s College, Lucy completed a performance Master’s at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Switzerland. She now works primarily as a soloist and small ensemble singer, travelling all over the world with organisations including the Fieri Consort, Alamire, Polyphony, and the Gabrieli Consort. She also enjoys opera performance, most recently playing First Witch in Purcell’s Dido and Aneas for the New London Consort at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, and she performs oratorio solos across the country, which last year included the soprano solos in Haydn’s Creation and Mozart’s Mass in C minor. Lucy also regularly participates in other projects, from running eduactional workshops, to recording backing tracks for Susan Boyle’s latest CD, to taking part in a series of interactive performances at Hampton Court Palace. Outside of singing, Lucy enjoys spending her time walking and hiking, and more recently bouldering along with several other London-based singers.


An open day for prospective Choral and Organ Scholars will be held tomorrow, April 22nd:

Alumni Profile: Rory McCleery

Rory graduated from St. Peter’s College, where he was organ scholar, in 2008 with a first in Music, subsequently gaining an MSt in Musicology with Distinction from the Queen’s College in 2009.

While an undergraduate at St. Peter’s, Rory founded The Marian Consort, an early music vocal ensemble with whom he now performs across the UK and Europe: recent highlights have included recitals for Aldeburgh Music, the Tage Alter Musik Regensburg and the Festival de Música Antiga Valencia; concerts for the Leipzig A Cappella Festival and the St Magnus International Festival, Orkney; performances at the Festival Alte Musik Knechtsteden, Cheltenham Festival and the British Academy; and a lecture-recital for BBC Radio 3’s The Early Music Show.

The Marian Consort is also a proud exponent of contemporary repertoire, and as part of this commitment to new music, the group has commissioned works from leading British choral composers, including Cecilia McDowall, Matthew Martin and Cheryl Frances-Hoad. The Marian Consort often collaborates in performance and recording with a variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles: recent project partners have included the Carducci Quartet; the Choir of Merton College, Oxford; the Berkeley Ensemble; the Rose Consort of Viols; the Monteverdi String Band; and Ludus Baroque in repertoire ranging from Byrd, Parsons, Bach and Monteverdi to Arvo Pärt and Michael Berkeley.

The Marian Consort has to date released seven CDs with Delphian Records, all of which have met with considerable critical acclaim in the broadsheets and specialist press. Their discs have been praised for ‘performances that glow with golden purity and soul’, ‘precision and pellucid textures’, ‘impeccable polish and blend’ and for ‘drawing the listener in by quiet persuasion and musical intelligence of the highest order’.

Rory also greatly enjoys working as a countertenor soloist and consort singer with ensembles including The Dunedin Consort, The Monteverdi Choir, Ludus Baroque, The Sixteen, The Gabrieli Consort, Contrapunctus, Le Concert d’Astrée, The Academy of Ancient Music, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and The Cardinall’s Musick.

Recent solo performances have included Bach St John and St Matthew Passions; Handel Messiah, Dixit Dominus and Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne; Pärt Passio and Stabat Mater; Purcell Come ye Sons of Art, Ode to St Cecilia and Welcome to All the Pleasures; and Britten Abraham and Isaac in venues including the Chapelle Royale de Versailles, The Concertgebouw Brugge, the Snape Maltings Concert Hall, and the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh.

Rory is also in demand as a guest conductor, chorus master and workshop leader, and is a passionate believer in the importance of music education and singing for young people: he is the Associate Director of the Oxford Youth Choirs.

An open day for Choral and Organ Scholars will be held on April 22nd: 

Alumni Profile: Mary Anne Barclay

Mary Anne Barclay

mabFollowing graduation from in 2011 St Peter’s Mary Anne worked as the administrative and librarian assistant for The King’s Consort and also as an audience and youth development intern at a small arts centre in Suffolk. There she worked on setting up an ArtsAward scheme to encourage local young people to obtain extracurricular arts qualifications.
In 2012-2014 Mary Anne undertook the masters in music therapy training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.While there she worked on student placements at Coram Adoption Centre, a specialist school for those with autism, and for the NHS at an adult mental health inpatient service. Her final viva work focussed upon work with individuals living in the community with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Her research project examined the ecological concept of affordance in relation to musical instrument use in clinical improvisations.

Once qualified, she worked for the Methodist Housing Association charity as part of their large music therapy provision for residents with a diagnosis of dementia and those at the end of their lives. Subsequently she moved to work for Suffolk Music Therapy Services where her case load is varied and includes work in primary schools with survivors of domestic violence, in secondary schools with those with severe emotional and behavioural needs, and with adults with learning disabilities and neurological conditions.
In addition to clinical music therapy work, Mary Anne also runs Singing for Lung Health groups in hospital and in the community, having been trained by the British Lung Foundation to provide singing classes for those with lung disease such as COPD. She continues to work with the BLF on their research into the health benefits of singing.
She is currently a fellow of the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme2016/17 which is enabling the development of various of her projects into social enterprises to allow more people sustained access to music therapy and music for health.

An Open Day for Choral and Organ Scholarships will be held on the 22nd April:

Alumni Profile: David Quinn ARCO

David Quinn ARCO
David Quinn is 18009934_10155041907021708_1848886182_na conductor, organist and accompanist based in Oxford. He combines being Assistant Organist at Radley College and a Music Teacher at Headington Prep School with freelance work throughout the UK and further afield. He founded Polyhymnia, a female chamber choir based in Oxford in January 2016. Hailing from the North East of England, David was a chorister at Durham Cathedral where a long enduring passion for choral music developed. As well as touring and recording with the choir, it was in these early years that he took his first steps on the organ with James Lancelot. From there David moved on to Durham School and was subsequently awarded the organ scholarship at Newcastle Cathedral. Upon leaving his native North, David read music at Oxford University and held an organ scholarship at St Peter’s College. During this time he assisted the director of music Dr Roger Allen with all aspects of the chapel choir, frequently directing in services and concerts. He received organ lessons from Stephen Farr and conducting lessons from Paul Spicer and Patrick Russill. As well as his commitments at St Peter’s, David also directed the music at Pusey House. Upon graduating he moved to take on a postgraduate organ scholarship at Southwell Minster. During his tenure he accompanied the Minster Girls’ Choir and the Minster Chorale under the watchful eye of Simon Hogan and Paul Hale. He also accompanied the Cranmer Company of Singers in their programme of concerts and Cathedral tours.

An open day for prospective Choral and Organ Scholars will be held on April 22nd:

Alumni profile: David Mahoney

Since graduating from Oxford University, David has enjoyed success with Classical Brit Award winning group Only Men Aloud, including performances at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special and the Royal Variety Performance.


As a conductor and producer, David has worked with artists including Matt Cardle, Kerry Ellis, Ruthie Henshall, Russell Grant, John Owen-Jones, Lucie Jones, Sophie Evans, Caroline Sheen, Ben Forster, Lee Mead, Connie Fisher, Rufus Wainwright, Tim Minchin, Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Roger Daltrey, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Petula Clark, Tony Hatch, David Arnold, Gemma Arterton and Laura Mvula.

Recent performances as conductor of The Novello Orchestra include the Wales Millennium Centre’s 10th Anniversary production Broadway to the BayLive with Pink Martini (Wales Millennium Centre), The Golden Age of Dance (Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Wales Millennium Centre), and Broadway in Concert (Wales Millennium Centre and the London Palladium).

Further credits include Show Producer for the BAFTA Cymru Awards, Music Supervisor for the Roald Dahl centenary celebrations ‘City of the Unexpected’, Creative Director / Conductor for Christmas on Broadway with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Artistic Director of the Cardiff Music Festival and Producer of television productions for BBC and ITV.
Upcoming productions include Disney’s The Jungle Book in Concert with The Novello Orchestra (Royal Festival Hall, London) and Musical Director / Music Supervisor for Tiger Bay the Musical (Artscape Theatre Cape Town and Wales Millennium Centre).
An open day for Choral and Organ Scholarships at St Peter’s will take place on April 22nd.

Reunion Evensong (September, 2016)

It was a pleasure for the old and the new to collide at a ‘reunion’ Service of Choral Evensong in St. George’s Church, Bloomsbury. The service was led by the College’s Chaplain, Elizabeth Pitkethly, and directed by Jeremy Summerly (current Director of Music), Roger Allen (former Director of Music), Theo Lester, and Jonathan Lo. The organ accompaniment was provided by Daniel Pugh-Bevan and David Quinn.


To listen to highlights of this special occasion in a glorious acoustic, click below:


Trinity Term 2016 + Tour of Palestine

This post is long-overdue, although the timing of the post benefits from an opportunity of a period of gestation for many thoughts and reflections on the past few months. Trinity Term proved to be an incredibly busy time for the Choir, especially if the academic commitments on first year students and finalists are taken into account. It is a mark of the level of commitment offered by our musicians that so much can be achieved in such a short expanse of time.

Choir Dinner


The Choir Dinner is an annual celebration of the present Choir. It usually takes place following the Choral and Organ Scholarship Open Day. As ever, this was a night to remember.


Ascension Day 

ascen-2It has become a tradition for members of the Choir to sing a service of Choral Matins from the top of the Chapel tower on the feast of the Ascension.

ascen-1As a developing tradition, this year three trumpets were included in the climb. It was a glorious wake up call for all those living in and around New Inn Hall Street.  Unlike previous years, the tower top was bathed in blinding sunlight, which enhanced the breathtaking views of Oxford that can be enjoyed from the poor end of town. 

One of the more curious events of the day is the tradition of the so-called ‘Beating the Bounds’. This ancient custom sees the College temporarily invaded by the Parish Priest of St Michael at the North Gate, along with a rabble of willow-yielding parishoners boundsand tourists who then proceed to hit a brick in the wall above Bullwark’s Lane. It is reminder t
hat while the history of the College is relatively brief , it occupies a site that is soaked in the history of the City and University.




Frideswide Voices

We loved having Will Dawes and his girls-voice choir, the Frideswide Voices, to sing with our Altos, Tenors, and Basses. To have a foundation for the training of young female voices in the city is a real blessing, as it provides an invaluable experience that is otherwise of difficult access to Oxford-based girls. We hope our relationship with this choir continues to grow and flourish for many years to come.

Christ Church img_20160616_172247

St Peter’s Choir sang two services at Christ Church Cathedral.







On its first international tour in recent years the Choir embarked on a series of concerts and services as part of a the Palestine International Choral Festival. Tours of this nature to the region are a first for an Oxford College Choir, and so 25 singers from St Peter’s relished the opportunity that this provided. For the duration of the trip the Choir resided in the middle of a surprisingly bustling Bethlehem, a short walk away from the imaginatively-named ‘Manger Square’, on which the Church of the Nativity can be located.
The festival aims to bring a variety of musical experiences to locals in a part of the world where such activities cannot form part of daily life as they do here. The Choir participated in both concerts and workshops with various local groups.
In equal measure this two-week tour was thus both extremely busy, and intensely rewarding.  One of the highlights of the tour was the opportunity to stay with host families in The Galilee. This was the perfect opportunity to experience the extraordinary generosity of our hosts, while also having a chance to ask questions about what life is really like in this fascinating part of the world.
A special note must be made of solo performances by Rory Green (Finalist), Elena Hargreaves (Alumnus) and Dr. Matthew Thomson (Acting Tutor in Music 2016). In Haydn’s “St. Nicholas Mass”, which was incidentally performed by the choir in the church of St Nicholas, superlative performances occurred.
Ellie and Rory also took solos in performances of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem Mass, sung at the Lutheran Church of the Reeder, in Jerusalem, a church which is a stone’s throw from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. As in Bethlehem, it is difficult to express how it felt to be so close to these sites of such historic, cultural, and religious importance.


The tour was a fitting end to the Choir’s first year under new Director of Music, Jeremy Summerly. Jeremy’s relationship with the region is long-standing. Many thanks must be conveyed to him for providing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was a great privilege to visit, sing, and learn with a wonderful selection of people. A tour of the Holy Land was a wonderful close to three years at Oxford for many, and a renewing experience for those who are to return to the College to make music in the new academic year.
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