Founded in the mid-nineteenth century, the choir has a rich history and very close links to the annual Three Choirs Festival, supplying many singers to the Festival Chorus, where they enjoy performing with the Philharmonia Orchestra which has had a residency at the Festival for several years.
GCS stages five concerts per season and also raises significant funds for local charities by singing carols around Gloucester and Cheltenham. Membership of the choir stands at one hundred and fifty; in addition, there is a thriving young singers’ scheme with around twenty students aged between 14 and 18 each year, boosted by the current choral scholars of Gloucester Cathedral Choir.
Notable recent concerts include Britten’s War Requiem and the Berlioz Te Deum (both with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Bristol Choral Society) and Bach’s B minor Mass (with Music for Awhile). Other recent concerts have featured Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Te Deum, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Bruckner’s Te Deum.
A highlight of the current season is a special Spem in Alium day; 320 singers descend on Gloucester to prepare Tallis’s forty part setting and perform it in the nave of the cathedral with its unique and soaring acoustic.
All concerts in Gloucester are prepared and conducted by our Musical Director, Adrian Partington, who has been Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral since 2008 and Artistic Director of The Three Choirs Festival when it is in Gloucester.
He is also Artistic Director of the BBC National Chorus of Wales, Conductor of the Bristol Choral Society, and Director of the new choral conducting course at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Since his BBC appointment in 1999, Adrian has prepared the BBC NCW for almost 100 concerts and recordings for BBC Radio 3, many of which he has conducted himself. His work with BBC NCW on a recording of Sir Hubert Parry’s music has recently earned Adrian a Grammy nomination!
Adrian has directed many of the country’s principal choruses –The BBC Symphony, The London Symphony, The Philharmonia and the Bach Choir. He has also worked with leading UK orchestras: regularly conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, directing the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Opera Galas, Summer Proms and in GCS’ Vaughan Williams Festival in Gloucester Cathedral in May 2008; touring with the Mozart Festival Orchestra, and conducting the Philharmonia, the English Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic at the Three Choirs Festival.
Adrian is active as a pianist and organist. He performs with the international Baroque violinist, Margaret Faultless, giving festival recitals both in the UK and Germany, and plays continuo with the ECO, Florilegium – and Collegium Musicum 90, featuring on many Chandos CDs.
Adrian was Organ Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge and subsequently enjoyed organist’s posts at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and Worcester Cathedral.