"A contemporary hero of British choral music" The Observer
Bob Chilcott (b. 1955) is one of the most active composers and choral conductors in Britain today. He has been involved in choral music most of his life - he was a chorister in the choir of King's College, Cambridge, and sang the Pie Jesu on the renowned 1967 King's recording of Faure's Requiem, conducted by Sir David Willcocks. He returned to King's as a Choral Scholar, and between 1985 and 1997 was a member of The King's Singers.
Since 1997, Bob has poured his energy into choral composition, conducting, and promoting choral singing throughout the world. He is well-known for his compositions for children's choir, including Can you hear me? and more recently, Like a Singing Bird, which was commissioned collaboratively by 20 choirs through Chorus America's 2007 charity auction.
He is equally active as a composer of mixed-voice music. Of his larger works The Making of the Drum, a cantata for choir and percussion, has been extensively performed by choirs including The BBC Singers, the Tower New Zealand Youth Choir, the Chamber Choir of Europe and the Taipei Chamber Singers. In November 2005 Bob conducted his Jubilate in New York's Carnegie Hall. He has also written two contrasting works for professional and amateur performers to perform together, commissioned by Making Music. The first, A Sporting Chance, was written for Onyx Brass and primary school choirs, and the second, Tandem, a work for two orchestras, was commissioned in conjunction with BBC Radio 3. Future large-scale commissioning projects include Salisbury Vespers involving over 500 singers from 7 choirs across the City (23 May, 2009) and Requiem for the Oxford Bach Choir, accompanied by the RPO (13 March, 2010).
2007 saw the release of Man I Sing with the BBC Singers directed by the composer on Signum Classics. This disc showcases some of his exquisite writing for mixed voice choir, such as My Prayer and Weather Report. In October 2008, Bob's latest disc Making Waves was released to great acclaim on the same label, featuring recordings of his upper-voice music including A Little Jazz Mass and This Day. For more details, visit: Signum Records
As a conductor, Bob has worked extensively with choirs and festivals throughout the world. For seven years he was conductor of the Chorus at the Royal College of Music in London. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Singers, with whom he works regularly in studio recordings and concerts. He has also guest conducted the RIAS Kammerchor in Berlin, and the Elmer Iseler Singers in Toronto. Bob has been featured twice as conductor for the youth project at Festival 500 in Newfoundland, and has conducted at festivals throughout Canada and the United States, including The World of Children's Choirs in Vancouver and the Niagra and Toronto International Choral Festivals. In 2003 Bob was the first non-American conductor to conduct a National Honor Choir for the American Choral Directors Association, which he did in New York City. He has been a featured conductor for Europa Cantat in Sweden, Germany and Belgium, and in 2005 he conducted for the first time at the renowned Dartington International Music Festival in the UK. In 2009, Bob will be a session leader at the American Choral Director Assocation's National Convention in Oklahoma City, at Chorus America in Philadelphia, and will return as guest conductor and lecturer at the Japan Choral Association.
'One of the finest choral composers at work in Britain today' Gramophone Magazine
'His music possesses the winning combination of melodic beauty, harmonic attractiveness, imaginative textures and thematic development, which together form an immediately appealing style reaching across the age barrier in any choir.' Organists' Review
Biography courtesy of Oxford University Press
Composer portrait by Vicky Alhadeff