David Hill, Music Director of The Bach Choir which was founded in 1876, has come out strongly against comments from Lesley Garrett, the well-known soprano, who has said that there should no longer be choirs that don’t admit girls.
Ms Garrett, said recently that its time to stop excluding girls and that change to boys only choirs was long overdue and called them “a throwback to a bygone age.” She singled out King’s College Choir, Cambridge, one of Britain’s best-known choirs, for not introducing change and that it should “wake up and listen to the music, with regard to its exclusion of girls.
David Hill, former Director of Music at Westminster and Winchester Cathedrals and St John’s College, Cambridge. Initiated the implementation of Girls’ Choir at Winchester Cathedral. Now The Bach Choir’s Music Director he says:
“The idea that all choirs should be mixed misses the central point that there is a place for both separate boys’ and girls’ choirs as well as mixed where appropriate.”
“The situation in Cambridge – which reflects what is happening nationwide – is there are only 3 choirs with boys’ and men’s voices. ALL the other amazing choirs in that city are females and males. This does not in any way represent lack of balance but the opposite.”
“Removing the boys’ and men tradition would be removing something which is unique in the choral sound world and for which this country is revered. Removing opportunities for boys to sing (you could not double the size of the choirs) would be affecting the future number of tenor, basses and counter-tenors from emerging. That would affect the entire singing industry, including opera for which Lesley is most famous.”
Renowned for his fine musicianship, David Hill is widely respected as both a choral and an orchestral conductor. He became The Bach Choir’s ninth Musical Director in 1998; he is also Associate Guest Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of Leeds Philharmonic Society and Principal Conductor of Yale Schola Cantorum.
Born in Carlisle in 1957, David Hill was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists at the age of 17, and won an organ scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge where he served under the direction of the late Dr George Guest. Since Cambridge, David has held the posts of Sub-Organist at Durham Cathedral, Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral, Master of Music at Winchester Cathedral, Director of Music at St John’s College, Cambridge, and Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers.
Over a century of song
Founded in 1876, The Bach Choir is recognised as one of the world’s leading choruses, building upon a tradition that combines musical excellence with creativity and innovation. From the first performance in Britain of Bach’s Mass in B minor to the soundtrack for Ridley Scott’s 2012 epic Prometheus, our musical heritage is as rich as it is diverse. Directed by David Hill, one of the country’s most eminent conductors, we regularly perform and record across London and the UK in prestigious venues, from the Royal Albert Hall to Abbey Road Studios.
A unique collective voice
Described by the London Evening Standard as ‘probably the finest independent choir in the world’, we value the freedom that our independence brings, allowing us to work with the very best conductors, orchestras, and soloists, and to choose the music we perform. To date we have sung over 200 works in more than 80 venues, and continue to share our work with audiences around the world.
A distinctive, challenging repertoire
From oratorio to film scores and from St Paul’s Cathedral to Sydney Opera House, our repertoire – which covers works from the 16th century to the present day – celebrates the power that music has to connect us, to take us beyond ourselves, and to spark our imagination. Our work has an emotional intensity that only a large choir can evoke.
A list of notable names
It is our people who define us. Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sir David Willcocks: these are just a few of the eminent musicians that have played a part in our history and created the musical pedigree that we build upon today. With HRH The Prince of Wales as our Patron, John Rutter as our President, and David Hill as our Musical Director, our performances and recordings go from strength to strength. Our Accompanist/Assistant Conductor is Philip Scriven, who is widely regarded as one of the finest organists of his generation, and highly respected as a conductor.
A choir for the 21st-century
The Bach Choir has always been and continues to be characterised by the commitment of its members. With over 220 talented singers coming from all walks of life, an international touring schedule, and an outreach programme that takes our passion for music into inner-city schools, we are an active community performing, recording and sharing music for everyone to enjoy, whatever their age or background.