2017 highlights

Enormous thanks go to the two choirs and two record labels which are releasing two brand new CDs of Bob’s choral music in September.   The British choir, Commotio, has recorded All Good Things for Naxos, with Bob sharing the conducting with Matthew Berry, and Alex Hawkins playing jazz piano, and the American choir, Choralis, has taken a different set of repertoire, primarily for choir and brass, to record In Winter’s Arms for Signum Records.  All Good Things is Commotio’s second Chilcott Naxos disc and includes the Nidaros Jazz Mass, Jazz Songs of Innocence, and Ophelia, Caliban, and Miranda, together with Weather Report, The Real of Heart, Thou, my love, art fair, and two jazz folksongs.   The CD is released on 8 September and launched on 22 September with a concert in Borough Market, London SE1.  Tickets are free, but for catering purposes please let us know if you would like to join us by emailing launch@commotio.org

Later in September the next phase in the collaboration with Washington, DC-based choir, Choralis, takes the form of the release of a CD containing the Gloria, Wenceslas, My Perfect Stranger, The Nine Gifts, and Jesus, Springing.  Gretchen Kuhrmann conducts her choir and DC musicians for the release of their first Chilcott disc.  Released first in the US, then in October in the UK, this disc contains music which is suitable for programming over the Christmas season.
It has been announced that Bob has been honoured as a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music.  The FRSCM is an award for achievements in church music which have international significance, and in 2017 Bob is one of six recipients, together with Garmon Ashby, Katherine Dienes-Williams, Cecilia McDowall, Patrick Russill, and Jeremy Summerly.  The FRSCM will be conferred at a ceremony in October.  The RSCM is a worldwide organisation which offers support and materials for Church musicians, and Bob is thrilled to be recognised by it.

In 2017 he was short-listed for an RPS (Royal Philharmonic Society) Award for his 2016 work The Voyage.  The commission came from Age UK and was the brainchild of Paul Cann, then CEO of Age UK Oxfordshire, forming a part of a project to highlight and combat loneliness in people of all ages.  The libretto is by poet Charles Bennett, with whom Bob has made several collaborations.

Bob sang with the King’s Singers for 12 years, and congratulates the group on reaching its half centenary.  In February the singers recorded an anniversary disc which includes a brand new commission, We Are, and an arrangement of Shenandoah.  Bob was delighted to join them at the sessions, and at their US Summer School in De Pauw, IN in June.  In April 2018 he and they, with Simon Carrington, perform with massed choirs at New York’s Carnegie Hall in a DCINY concert.

Over the Summer, Bob has participated in two very successful choral festivals in Norway, performing his Little Jazz Mass at Coralua in Trondheim and his Missa Cantate and Ophelia, Caliban, and Miranda for the Norwegian Choral Association.  He returns to Scandinavia in the Autumn, to Haderslav in Denmark in September for a weekend of youth choir singing, and to Helsinki to adjudicate for Let the Peoples Sing in October.  In November he travels to Pennsylvania to conduct the Wheatland Chorale in a concert including his Gloria, and to spend the day at the choral conference of ACDA PA.  Later in November he returns to The Netherlands, to present some of his Christmas music to singers in Utrecht.  In the UK he visits South Wales on 16 September where the Come and Sing event will include his Little Jazz Mass, Congleton in Cheshire on 30 September (for Gloria and Five Days that Changed the World), and he leads another singing day on the Gloria in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, on 28 October.  On 18 November his hosts are the members of the Oxford Bach Choir for their annual singing day.  On 2 December there is another opportunity to hear The Voyage with a performance in Oxfordshire.

Opportunities to sing with Bob in 2019 include the DCINY concert in Carnegie Hall with the King’s Singers in April, and a concert in July with The Really Big Chorus at London’s Royal Albert Hall in which Bob will mark the 50th anniversary of his recording of the treble solo in the King’s College, Cambridge, recording of Fauré’s Requiem.  The Requiem will be paired on this occasion with Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise.  Visit the DCINY and TRBC websites for details of how to participate in these concerts