The Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral enjoys an international reputation through its recordings, broadcasts, and tours. The choir’s last three recordings – of music by Anton Bruckner, Gabriel Jackson, and John Sheppard – all earned Gramophone Editor’s Choice, while the first recording under conductor Duncan Ferguson came seventh in the specialist classical chart and achieved an ‘Outstanding’ accolade from International Record Review.
In its day-to-day work the choir sings the daily services at St Mary’s Cathedral. The choristers (aged 9-14) all attend St Mary’s Music School, Scotland’s only choir school, on Cathedral or government bursaries. In 1978 the choir became the first with a daily choral tradition to allow girls to sing as well as boys and then, in 2006, the first to admit a female alto as choral scholar.
Over the years the choir has worked closely with a number of leading contemporary composers, commissioning, performing, and recording works by (for instance) Kenneth Leighton, Arvo Pärt, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, James MacMillan, Howard Skempton, and Gabriel Jackson. Collaborations with orchestras have included recent performances with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the sixtieth-birthday concert of American composer John Zorn, at the Glasgow Tectonics Festival and in a semi-staged version of Berg’s Wozzeck under conductor Donald Runnicles. The choristers will be performing again with the BBC SSO in Walton’s Henry V in January 2015. The choir is also well known through its many appearances on BBC Radio Three, Radio Four, and Radio Scotland, including live broadcasts of Choral Evensong.
Previous choir tours have included France, Hungary, Norway, and several trips to the USA and Canada. In 2011 the choir was invited to sing at the Taipei International Choral Festival and by the Little Singers of Tokyo at their sixtieth anniversary concert in Suntory Hall. The choir is planning to tour Germany in 2015.