Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Yorkshire Bach Choir 2017-18: Masterpieces and miniatures







We are thrilled to announce full details of our 2017-18 concert season! Join us for a year of music packed with beautiful music.


Along with performing some real highlights of the choral repertoire we explore some new concert themes and programmes of music. Here are details of each of our six concerts coming up in 2017/18.

In the Midst of Life: 28.10.17





Our opening concert showcases some real peaks of not just in music but of art in the entire Renaissance period. The extraordinary 40-part motet Spem in alium is the first of four Renaissance choral masterpieces that all engage with and often soar above the troubles of their times. Sheppard’s haunting In Media Vita (‘In the midst of life we are in death’) is a haunting exploration of various texts, including the Nunc Dimittis. The dark splendour of Allegri’s renowned Miserere and Byrd’s mournful Ne irascaris, Domine will also feature alongside music by Tallis, Jeffreys and Ludwig Senfl.

For tickets click here >> bit.ly/YBOctober 


Handel, Vivaldi, Haydn: 9.12.17




This colourful programme features some of the 18th century’s most popular and invigorating music for chorus and instruments. Handel’s vivid setting of Dixit Dominus, composed during his stay in Italy, is one of his most virtuosic and impressive choral compositions. Vivaldi’s colourful Gloria pulsates with festive Venetian energy and is his best known, most popular, choral work. Haydn’s Nelson Mass is possibly his most electrifying and atmospheric mass settings, taking us on a musical journey where dark anxiety is dissolved in joyful triumph.

Tickets are selling quickly for what promises to be a choral highlight of the York Early Christmas Music Festival.

For tickets click here >> bit.ly/YBCXmas

Stories in Glass: Music for the Great East Window 4.02.18



2018 will see the completion of the restoration of York Minster’s iconic Great East Window. Marking this landmark in the life of the city we present music inspired by stained glass and the wider history of York. Events depicted in the window, such as the Death of Absalom with settings of When David heard by Tomkins and Weelkes, and scenes from Revelation, are included. The concert ends with an unabashed celebration of the celestial with Harris’s wonderful Faire is the Heaven and the life-affirming properties of light in Wood’s ecstatic Hail, gladdening light.

For tickets click here >> bit.ly/YBCGlass


Bach: St John Passion: 17.03.18



The Passio Secundum Johannem may be Bach’s most inherently dramatic passion setting. Telling the story of Christ’s sacrifice, it also offers a celebration of human feeling in evoking the joy and suffering of man’s pilgrimage on earth. The vivid, colourful playing of the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists will be joined by Joshua Ellicott and Peter Harvey two outstanding solo interpreters of the roles of Evangelist and Christus.

Book early for what promises to be a highlight of musical life in York in 2018!  

For tickets click here >> bit.ly/JohnPassion


Three Marys: 19.05.18



Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and the other biblical Marys were the focus of an extraordinary flowering of art during the Renaissance period. Composers were part of this movement, exploring the lives of the Marys in music that ranges from the deeply sacred to the sensual. This concert explores events from the anointing at Bethany to a grieving Mary at the foot of the cross. We will perform music including Palestrina Missa Assumpta est Maria, Guerrero Maria Magdalena, Sheppard Gaude gaude guade Maria and Stabat Mater settings by Palestrina, Padilla and Browne.

For tickets click here >> bit.ly/3Marys

Bach Motets & Rachel Podger: 23.06.18


JS Bach’s motets represent some of his most beautiful and mesmerising musical compositions. Each motet is crafted with complete originality and skill using a dizzying range of choral techniques, from double-choir sonorities to canon, fugue and counterpoint, to explore their deeply felt and varied texts. Complementing this choral feast Yorkshire Bach Choir is pleased to welcome Rachel Podger, a musician who has been described as ‘the queen of the baroque violin’, performing some of Bach’s most wonderful music for violin and harpsichord.

For tickets click here >> bit.ly/BachMotets


Tickets and further details

Full details of ticket prices and season subscriptions can be found on our website. You can save money across the season by subscribing for one of our season tickets. £5 student tickets are available.  

Further details on Yorkshire Bach Choir: bit.ly/YBChoir
Yorkshire Baroque Soloists: bit.ly/YBSoloists



All our concerts (except for the December concert at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall) are performed in the spacious St Michael le Belfrey a historic church in the heart of the city.

 YBC Concert reminder service: http://bit.ly/1nbRxIJ

Twitter: @YorksBachChoir 
Facebook: Yorkshire Bach Choir
Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/yorksbachchoir
Email: marketing@yorkshirebachchoir.org

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Yorkshire Bach Choir is auditioning for our new season!


Join Yorkshire Bach Choir

Yorkshire Bach Choir is always interested in hearing potential new members - we are currently auditioning for all sections of the choir in the run up to our new season.

Is Yorkshire Bach Choir the choir for me?

Yorkshire Bach Choir comprises around 45 voices and performs music mainly from the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical period so an interest (and enthusiasm) for this repertoire is helpful. We regularly perform vocal music in an historically-informed style with our specialist accompanying orchestra the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists. You will need a good, well-produced voice that blends with the current group of singers. Subject to vacancies, membership is open to anyone who has the ability to contribute at the choir’s core standards of high performance, regardless of any other factors. Current membership is a mix of professional, semi-professional and other advanced singers with about a third of the choir being students; some members travel quite a distance to sing with the choir.



What does being a member involve?

We have a programme of around six concerts each year. We rehearse intensively on Friday evenings between 7-9.30pm for about 30 weeks of the year.  Members are expected to make a commitment to attend all rehearsals and concerts unless there are exceptional circumstances.  This is essential in order that we maintain the high standards for which we are renowned. We usually perform on a Saturday evening with mandatory rehearsals on the Friday night and Saturday afternoon prior to this concert. All choir members are expected to contribute to membership via a subscription system which currently stands at £153 per year for standard members or £51 per year for student members (although any difficulty with this would be viewed sympathetically and you can split your payment over the year in 3 installments). 


What can I expect at an audition?

If you are interested in auditioning please email our conductor Peter Seymour <peter.seymour@york.ac.uk> with a short email introducing yourself, your singing experience, an indication of your voice type and suggested times that you might be available for an audition. Peter will then arrange an audition. As part of the audition you will be asked to sing 10-15’ prepared music and your vocal range will be gauged. 

Rehearsals for the first concert start on Friday 29 September so an early audition is advised. 

You can find out more information on the choir and our upcoming season at http://www.yorkshirebachchoir.org.uk/   

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Peter if you require further information!


Peter Seymour <peter.seymour@york.ac.uk>
6.9.17

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Artist spotlight - Baritone Frederick Long

Frederick Long is soloist in our upcoming performance of J.S. Bach Mass in B minor on Saturday 18 MarchFrederick is establishing himself as one of Britain’s most exciting and versatile young bass-baritones. Recent operatic highlights include Schaunard in La bohème for Opera Holland Park, Puck in a new version of  Purcell's The Fairy Queen at the Iford Arts Festival. Frederick's substantial and varied concert repertory sees him in frequent performance across the country and abroad, with recent highlights including the Matthew Passion at the Leith Hill Music Festival and Messiah with the English Festival Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. 2017 sees his first Papageno, for Mid-Wales Opera, and a return to the Iford Arts festival for Schaunard (La bohème) and Zebul (Jephtha). 


Catching up with Frederick in advance of our upcoming concert we began by asking him for his thoughts on J.S. Bach: 

It's always such a pleasure to perform Bach. His music has a directness of expression that is quite startling at times, combined with the richness and complexity that rewards continued study and investment. He can be pretty fun with his vocal writing too: often long, wide-ranging phrases with little room for breath.

Are there any particular challenges in this work?

Performing the bass solos in the B minor Mass requires you to wear two rather contrasting hats, as the movements would have originally been sung by different members of his choir. The famous Quoniam is a majestic aria whose long lines and low setting are suited to a lyric bass. However the gently rocking Et in Spiritum Sanctum is set in a much brighter, baritonal register. Luckily there's usually an interval in between to tighten one's belt!

Section of Et in Spiritum Sanctum from autograph score of Bach Mass in B minor

Musically, when have you felt the happiest?

Hearing Howells' Requiem for the first time was a revelation, in a choir right at the beginning of my university career. Being part of the Glyndebourne chorus that took Billy Budd to New York was outrageous fun. Still it's hard to beat singing Noel Coward with family round the piano at home!

Is there any piece of music or repertoire that you haven’t had the opportunity to perform yet but would like to?

Mozart's Figaro is a role I know well, and have been lucky enough to cover for English National Opera, but never actually yet performed. The challenge for us young-ish bass-baritones is to find parts which suit us both vocally and physically: often composers will use lower voices for the old baddy or pater familias. Not so with the fresh-faced Figaro, and hey, it's the title role in the best opera ever!

Frederick as Schaunard in La Bohème, Opera Holland Park With Shaun Dixon Credit: Robert Workman

What is your musical guilty pleasure?

I was brought up on the Beach Boys and they're the soundtrack to my every summer. I'm also an unashamed fan of certain Disney scores. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an overlooked masterpiece, and yes, I love Frozen too.

When you’re not practising or performing, how else do you like to spend your time?

Last year my wife (soprano Emily Vine) finally convinced me that we needed a dog in our lives. Of course I'm now pathetically in love with our Cavalier King Charles puppy. When we're not in the park with Smee, I'll be in the pub trying not to lose my voice shouting at Man United.

What keeps you awake at night?

Unfamiliar beds and lumpy pillows. Obviously there are wonderful perks to life travelling around as a singer, but that ain't one! 

What would your super power be?

Mind-reading. Terribly useful for audition panels...

Were you always destined to become a musician?

Everyone knows you'd be mad to try and make a career out of classical music, and this was the received wisdom despite a distinct musical bent to my family. I read music at university still very much with a law conversion course in mind, until a "see what happens" audition for London colleges resulted in an unexpected place at the Royal Academy. That was nearly ten years ago!

We look forward to hearing Frederick Long as bass soloist in JS Bach: Mass in B minor with Yorkshire Bach Choir and Yorkshire Baroque Soloists conducted by Peter Seymour. Vocal soloists include Bethany Seymour (Soprano), Anna Huntley (Mezzo Soprano) & Jason Darnell (Tenor).

The concert takes place on Saturday 18 March 7.30pm at St Michael le Belfrey, York.

In advance of the concert Peter Seymour will be giving a pre-concert talk on composition and communication in Bach’s mass.  The talk takes place at 6pm at the Belfry Hall, 52a Stongegate and is free for ticket holders for the concert.




Tickets for the concert are available in advance via bit.ly/YBach 


Further details about Frederick can be found at http://www.frederick-long.com/