University of Essex Choir
University of Essex Choir
The University of Essex Choir was founded in 1977 and is made up of about 150 singers. Its membership is drawn from staff and students of the University and from the local community.
Since 1981 the conductor has been Richard Cooke. The students of the university make up about 1/5 of the Choir. The Choir performs concerts three times a year.
The University of Essex Choir is a great experience for any singer. We are provided with the opportunity to sing fantastic and well-known music in stunning venues.
Please get in contact with any of the committee if you have any other questions.
University of Essex Choir’s Official Page: http://www.universityofessexchoir.org/
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Richard Cooke is now in his 36th season as Music Director of the University of Essex Choir, during which time the choir has gained an enviable reputation performing a wide repertoire in the East of England. He holds similar positions with the Royal Choral Society (since 1995) and Canterbury Choral Society (since 1984).
A boy chorister of St Paul’s Cathedral, and then Choral Scholar in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Richard was Conductor of the London Philharmonic Choir for ten years from 1982, working with the world’s leading conductors, including Haitink, Muti, Mehta, Solti and Klaus Tennstedt. He has appeared many times in the concert halls of London with the Royal Choral Society since 1995. Most notable of these have been their annual Good Friday performances of Handel’s Messiah and spectacular Christmas Carol Concerts in the Royal Albert Hall. On Remembrance Sunday, 9th November 2014, marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War he conducted a performance of Britten’s War Requiem in the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Choral Society, the London Philarmonic Orchestra and an international team of soloists which included Bryn Terfel. This followed the earlier performance of the War Requiem with the University of Essex Choir at Snape Maltings.
Born in Cornwall, he returns there each summer for his favourite outdoor activity, body-surfing off the north Cornwall coast. He also enjoys cycling and hill walking (climbing Munros and their equivalents) in Scotland and Wales. In 2009 he took part in a sponsored cycle ride through Jordan raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre in Canterbury, for which many amongst the University of Essex Choir generously provided sponsorship.
He has conducted over one hundred and fifty concerts in Canterbury Cathedral with Canterbury Choral Society, including each year in the Canterbury Festival. In January 2005 they recorded Elgar’s Oratorio The Apostles with The Philharmonia Orchestra, released on CD in January 2006. He has also recorded Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Royal Choral Society and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He has appeared with the Gothenburg and Helsingborg Symphony Orchestras, and on many other occasions in Sweden and Denmark.
Richard Cooke had an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music at the University of Kent conferred on him in Canterbury Cathedral in November 2010. He was similarly honoured in 1996 by the University of Essex in recognition of his work for the musical life of the University.