Collegium Musicum of London Chamber Choir was formed in 1972 by László Heltáy. He built an excellent reputation for the choir both in Britain and abroad, was its director until 1989, and retains his involvement as its President. With a regular pool of around 30 singers, the choir has a broad repertoire, having performed masses by every major composer as well as early and contemporary works.
The choir performs unaccompanied choral work and collaborates with some of the country’s leading professional instrumentalists and soloists.
Subscription costs are kept down by performing various paid performances, usually around Christmas time.
The choir has a policy of attracting younger singers by offering highly favourable subscription rates for those under 25.
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At the end of summer 2017, CML moved its base to the historic church of St Bartholomew the Great in West Smithfield, EC1, though the ensemble has sung in a variety of venues from small parish churches to the Barbican, St James’s, Piccadilly and St John’s Smith Square. It has appeared in a number of English festivals and, in 1990, gave a series of concerts of English music in Denmark. In July 1999, Collegium Musicum took part in the world première of Jonathan Dove’s opera Tobias and the Angel in the Almeida Festival, and in 2000 the choir gave the first London performance in over 200 years of Benjamin Cooke’s A Christmas Ode. Regular appearances at the St Stephen’s Festival in west London and the Brandenburg Choral Festival have widened the choir’s reach in recent years, and in 2016 an exchange tour to Bavaria featured a Marian programme.
Works performed since 1998 have included Sir PeterMaxwell Davies’s Solstice of Light, music from The Fayrfax Manuscript, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Britten’s Saint Nicolas, Mozart’s C minor Mass, Handel’s Messiah, Vaughan Williams’s Flos Campi, Stravinsky’s Mass, Purcell’s King Arthur, Pizzetti’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, Orff’s Carmina Burana, as well as music by Bartók, Billings, Brahms, Bruckner, Byrd, Charpentier, Debussy, Dove, Dunstable, Dvořák, the Gabrielis, Gesualdo, Haydn, Holst, Howells, Ives, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Respighi, Scarlatti, Tallis, Vaughan Williams and Vivaldi.
Collegium Musicum of London Chamber Choir aims to present four full concert programmes per year, with at least seven rehearsals in the weeks preceeding each concert, as well as Christmas choral events. Repertoire encompasses sacred music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods as well as music of the nineteenth century, the great secular works of the last 100 years, folksong and popular classics.
Since July 2012, the choir has been led by Greg Morris.
photo: Robert Workman