Orlando Chamber Choir is a small and friendly London chamber choir which performs regularly in Central London venues. The choir specialises in Renaissance and Baroque music but doesn't shy away from the occasional more modern work, including by contemporary composers.
The choir, named after Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), is directed by William Dawes. He is an experienced choral conductor and a professional singer himself - so he knows precisely how to ply their voices into pleasing polyphony. William Dawes has been appointed Director of Chapel Music at Somerville College, Oxford, and J.S. Bach's St John Passion (BWV 245) in March 2017 will be his last as Orlando Chamber Choir's Music Director. The Choir is looking for a new Music Director, starting in September 2017.
Orlando Chamber Choir has just under 40 members, all enthusiastic amateur musicians. Most have had singing lessons or vocal training and many perform with other choirs as well. The sight-reading standard is such that we can afford to focus mainly on interpretation, blend and sound quality (and, in the interval, on biscuits and cake).
The choir organises four concerts in Central London each year. The most ambitious event is usually a large-scale performance with professional soloists and instrumentalists. Recent highlights include Alessandro Scarlatti's ten-part Stabat Mater, George Frideric Handel's Dixit Dominus and Dietrich Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri. Apart from these accompanied concerts, Orlando Chamber Choir usually organises two smaller-scale a cappella concerts in which choir members get the opportunity to sing in smaller ensembles or to take on a solo. Each singing year is rounded off with a traditional Orlandian Christmas concert. There is a summer break from mid-June until mid-September - but then they miss singing (and each other) so we plan a summer workshop in London, a choir weekend away or even a tour and concerts abroad.
Orlando Chamber Choir is a registered charity (no. 1059881). It also has a flourishing side-line in fabulous cakes, consumed during rehearsal days and concerts, and it is probably the only London chamber choir with a house gnome.