Founded by Christopher Dawe in 1995, Anton Bruckner Choir is established as one of London’s leading amateur choirs. Membership is drawn from the best chamber choirs and symphony choruses across the capital.
Repertoire is wide-ranging, from the sixteenth century to some of the most challenging a cappella choral works of the twentieth century including Britten’s A Boy Was Born, Daniel-Lesur‘s Le Cantique des Cantiques, Martin’s Mass For Double Choir and Poulenc’s Figure Humaine. Anton Bruckner Choir is also noted for its performances of the large-scale works of J. S. Bach, performing the Christmas Oratorio at St. John’s Smith Square in December 2007, and since then returning for the Mass in B Minor, St John Passion and St Matthew Passion. Other performances at St. John’s include Handel’s Messiah, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Brahms' German Requiem.
Anton Bruckner Choir appeared at the Snape Maltings as part of the Aldeburgh Easter Festival in 2009 and 2010, and in October 2015 completed its first international tour to Lisbon, Portugal. In October 2018 the choir will tour to Germany, performing at the Schlosskapelle in Köthen and the Thomaskirche in Leipzig.
Anton Bruckner Choir is a Registered Charity in England and Wales, number 1110712. Further information can be found here.
Vacancies occasionally arise for high quality singers with excellent sight-reading skills. Application is by CV and audition, and potential new members are invited to sing for a trial concert. Please contact us for further information.
Conductor Christopher Dawe started his career aged eight as a chorister at Durham Cathedral. He was top music scholar at Malvern College and Choral Scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge.
He studied composition with Sir Lennox Berkeley, Robin Holloway and, at the Royal Northern College of Music, with Anthony Gilbert. He studied conducting at Morley College and Trinity College of Music where he was awarded the Ricordi Prize.
In 1999/2000 he was Assistant Conductor of the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Ivan Fischer. He has been Music Director of choirs and ensembles across the UK including Morley College Chamber Orchestra, Nonesuch String Orchestra, Newbury Symphony Orchestra, Brockham Choral Society, Grange Choral Society, Dorking Camerata, Imperial College Choir and Kingston Choral Society.
He is currently Director of Music at University College School, London.
"A Stylish Interpretation in a Historic Location
Anyone who loves Bach's music would like to visit the places where he worked, and feel the flair of his spiritual presence. The Anton Bruckner Choir, one of the most powerful amateur chamber choirs in the city of eight million people that is London, also had this desire. After Leipzig and Köthen, the choir and organist Nicholas O'Neill gave a concert on Wednesday evening in Mühlhausen's Divi Blasii church with choral and organ works by Johann Sebastian Bach. The conductor was choirmaster, musicologist and composer Christopher Dawe, who founded the choir in 1995. On the programme, accompanied as in Bach’s time by a chamber organ basso continuo, were three motets: Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden, BWV 230; Singet dem Herrn ein Neues Lied, BWV 225 and Jesu Meine Freude, BWV 543. The artistry of almost 40 singers was characterised by secure intonation and vocal guidance; through homogeneous sound and precise interaction of the voices, even in complicated polyphonic passages; through precise rhythm, convincing linguistic and musical declamation and sensitive differentiation within a wide dynamic range. They consistently renounced superficial effects that are not intrinsic to the composition. Their interpretations left a very authentic impression.
Bach compositions on a Bach organ
Between the motets, Nicholas O'Neill performed the preludes and fugues of E flat major (BWV 552) and A minor (BWV 543) on the Schuke organ. Inaugurated in 1959, the organ follows the original Bachian disposition with its silvery, overtone-rich treble parts, and has few competitors worldwide. The E flat major Prelude combines, as with Buxtehude, toccata-like and fugue-like parts. One might think of a Glenn Gould quote in which he considered that Bach's music could create the "impression of an expanding universe". Even more, the Prelude and Fugue in A minor revealed the possibilities of the Schuke organ, harmoniously combining timbres and juxtaposing them in contrast. The artistic highlight of the 75-minute concert was Jesu, meine Freude (Jesus, my joy), probably the most popular of the Bach motets. Its composition of the various formal components, such as the choral stanza, declamation, free chorale and fugue, embodying contrasting expressive content, make it particularly artful. And the chorale melody composed by Johann Crüger has the quality of an ear-worm more than any other. The chorale verses were interpreted by the choir in a way that was at the same time simple and expressive. The choir rewarded the warm applause with a composition by Anton Bruckner, its namesake: the eight-part motet Os Justi (the mouth of the just). With influences from Gregorian chant and in emotional-romantic style, this was a dynamically finely modulated motet."