The Choir of Westminster Abbey is renowned worldwide as one of the finest choirs of its type. Comprising some thirty boy choristers (all of whom are pupils the Abbey’s unique Choir School) and twelve professional adult singers (known as Lay Vicars), the Choir plays a central role both in the daily choral services in the Abbey and in the many royal, state and national occasions which take place there. Notable recent events have included services to mark the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme and to celebrate the life and work of Sir Terry Wogan, both of which were broadcast nationally, and the Wedding of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April 2011, which was seen by a worldwide television audience of over two billion people.
In addition to fulfilling its responsibilities in Westminster, the Choir undertakes an extensive programme of broadcasts, recordings, concerts and tours, travelling in recent years to Australia, the Far East, the United States, Russia, Hungary and Spain. In June 2012 the Choir was invited to the Vatican by Pope Benedict to sing with the Sistine Chapel Choir at a Papal Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, and in January 2017 the two choirs renewed their collaboration with a joint concert and Ecumenical Vespers in Rome’s Papal Basilicas of St John Lateran and St Paul Outside the Walls. Closer to home, the Choir gives regular concerts in the Abbey and has appeared at many major festivals including the London Festival of Baroque Music and the BBC Proms.
The Choir of Westminster Abbey’s celebrated series of recordings for Hyperion includes the complete Great Service by William Byrd, choral works by Edward Elgar, and the critically acclaimed Mary and Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey, chosen by Gramophone as a Critics’ Choice and hailed as ‘a showcase for English choral singing at its most charismatic’. The latest addition to the catalogue is a disc of twentieth-century English choral music by Finzi, Bax and Ireland.
The Choir of Westminster Abbey is directed by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers.
Follow the Abbey Choir on Twitter: @WAbbeyChoir