“... one of Scotland’s (indeed the UK’s) musical jewels...”
The Choir of St Mary’s was founded in 1879 to provide choral music for the daily services at Edinburgh’s new St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, with its own choir school. This tradition, of singing regular weekday and Sunday services in the Cathedral, continues to this day, the only place in Scotland to do so.
The choir comprises the choristers (aged 9-14) who all attend St Mary’s Music School, and up to twelve lay clerks and choral scholars. In 1978 the Cathedral allowed girls to join boys as choristers, the first cathedral in the UK with a similar pattern of services to do so.
In addition to singing services at St Mary’s the choir is well known for its recording work, concerts, and broadcasts. Recent recordings have included single-composer discs from Tudor England (Taverner, Sheppard and Mundy respectively), Bruckner (a Gramophone Recommended Recording), contemporary composer Gabriel Jackson, Stravinsky (with instrumentalists from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra), and Kenneth Leighton, celebrating the ninetieth anniversary of the birth of the former Edinburgh Professor of Music (5* from BBC Music Magazine). Three of the discs were Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine. The choir will be recording again with Delphian Records in May 2023.
There are annual broadcasts of Choral Evensong on BBC Radio Three during the Edinburgh Festival. Other recent events have included music for the Steve Coogan film The Lost King, a collaboration with the Traverse Theatre and recording for BBC Scotland’s Christmas Watchnight service 2022. The choir has toured widely, performing in venues such as Suntory Hall, Tokyo and at the International Choral Festival in Taiwan, as well as the USA and Canada, and in Europe, most recently to Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Over the last decade or so the choir has worked with many orchestras including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Dunedin Consort, Opera North, Scottish Opera, and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
The choir is always keen to hear from parents of potential choristers; see Joining the Choir for more information about what this involves. Or, if you would like to know more about how you might be able to support the choir, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are keen to stay in touch with former members of the choir; please see Former Choir Members for more information.