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Oxford College Choir
Dates:August 10, 2018
Excerpts from The Choice of Hercules
My Soul, There Is a Country
Sure of the Sky, Sure of the Sun
Three Songs for Trebles
Our Love Is Here to Stay
Somewhere over the Rainbow
“Double Trouble” from Harry Potter
Dr. Stephen Darlington is one of the UK's leading choral conductors. He has been the director of music and tutor in music at Christ Church since 1985. Previously he was master of the music at St. Alban's Abbey and artistic director of the world-famous International Organ Festival. He has established Christ Church as an acknowledged centre of academic musical excellence, and maintained the highest choral traditions of the Church of England in the Cathedral. He is renowned for his direction of choral music of the 16th century, and of modern sacred music, with an extensive discography including several award-winning recordings. Stephen has travelled worldwide with the choir, performing with many great artists including Plácido Domingo, Jose Carreras, James Bowman, Paul Whelan and John-Mark Ainsley. He has collaborated with distinguished contemporary composers such as Judith Weir, John Tavener and Howard Goodall. Until recently Stephen was the president of the Royal College of Organists and he is currently choragus of the University of Oxford and is the holder of a Lambeth Doctorate.
Oxford College Choir
The Choir of Christ Church, Oxford was founded nearly 500 years ago and has a special and distinctive place within the great English choral tradition. Historically it is set apart from all other collegiate and cathedral choirs since it serves both an Oxford college and a diocese at once, as a unique and celebrated dual foundation. Musically it has become revered for the vibrancy of its collective sound and its artistic flexibility.
Under the direction of Stephen Darlington, the choir's tonal quality has been praised and admired throughout the world from Sydney to Rio de Janeiro, from Tokyo to New York, from Helsinki to Paris. Over the years the choir has provided a perfect platform for singers to progress to other award-winning choral groups such as the BBC Singers, The Sixteen, King's Singers, Tallis Scholars and Cardinall's Musick as well as to solo careers in oratorio, opera and musical theatre.
Director of Music, Stephen Darlington, also engages the choir in challenging collaborative initiatives in the UK and internationally. On recent tours, in addition to performing its own programmes, the choir has worked intensively alongside local community choirs in Portugal, Jamaica, Bermuda and the USA, culminating in successful and memorable joint concerts. In 2008 the choir opened the Leipzig Bach Festival and in 2010 it performed Haydn's Creation in Germany with the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2011 and 2014 the choir undertook sold-out tours to the USA and Canada. Concerts were broadcast by 17 radio stations across the USA. In 2012 the choir undertook its first tour to China, giving the opening concert in the prestigious annual choral festival in the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing. As well as tours further afield, the choir gives concerts throughout the year around the UK.
Oxford College Choir also boasts a lasting legacy of ground-breaking recordings which have excited the critics and the listening public over the last 30 years. Amongst many awards for its recordings under Stephen Darlington's direction, the choir secured a Grammy nomination for An Oxford Elegy by Vaughan Williams and, more recently, More Divine than Human: Music from The Eton Choirbook (Avie) was voted CD of the Year and nominated for a 2010 Gramophone Award, and Howard Goodall's Eternal Light: A Requiem with London Musici (EMI Classics) won a Classical Brit Award. The Treasures of Christ Church (Avie) was the highest new entry in the classical CD charts, as well as being Radio 3 CD of the Week. Mendelssohn's arrangement of Handel's Acis and Galatea (Nimbus) and a second volume of music from the Eton Choirbook, Choirs of Angels (Avie) were released in 2012 and 2013 respectively, to critical acclaim. The latter was featured on Radio 3's The Choir and CD Review and was nominated for a 2013 Gramophone Award in the Early Music category. The choir's latest recording, a third volume of Eton Choirbook music, Courts of Heaven (Avie), was released in the autumn of 2014 and has received excellent reviews.
The astonishing versatility of this choir has given them a strong media profile, featuring in more than 15 documentaries in the last ten years including Howard Goodall's BAFTA winning Big Bangs. The Cathedral continues frequent radio broadcasting of evensong and other key concerts and services. And of course, the choir is heard regularly singing the Mr. Bean and Vicar of Dibley theme tunes on TV, in addition to other incidental music for TV dramas and films.