Principal Conductor – Alexander Berry
The Principal Conductor of the choir is Alex Berry, Organist and Director of Music at Bradford Cathedral. Alex is the Founder and Director of the Mercian Consort and was formerly Assistant Organist to the choir of Magdalen College, Oxford, (2015) and previous to that, assistant organist to the Ely Cathedral Girl’s Choir.
Alex was Organ Scholar at Queens’ College, Cambridge from September 2009 – July 2012 where he played for, conducted and rehearsed the twenty-four-strong choir of choral scholars and volunteers three times a week. He organised tours and cathedral visits, including a collaboration with the choir of Nuremberg Conservatory and a recording for Bavarian Radio. He also worked with Stephen Cleobury and the CUMS Chorus as Assistant Conductor and Accompanist and was King’s Voices Organ Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge in 2011 and 2012.
Principal Organist – Richard Leach
|Richard Leach Richard Leach is Shinn Fellow in Piano Accompaniment at the Royal Academy of Music. He has both accompanied and directed the choir since 2006. He has held Organ Scholarships at Nottingham Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin; Pembroke College, Oxford; and Canterbury Cathedral and studied the organ with John Keys, (a former Principal Organist of the choir), John Wellingham and David Goode. He completed his PGCE at Cambridge and was Assistant Director of Music and Organist at Worksop College from 2005 to 2012. As a piano accompanist he has performed a wide-ranging repertoire with both singers and instrumentalists; he studies currently as a Junior Fellow with Andrew West at the Royal Academy of Music. He has been organist of St Benedict’s Abbey Choir at Ealing Abbey in London since September 2012.|
From 2006 to 2017 the Musical Director of the choir was Matthew O’Donovan. He stepped down at the end of August 2017 when we visited Lincoln Cathedral.
Matthew tours internationally with the early music group Stile Antico which is well represented in the CD catalogues with some excellent recordings by Harmonia Mundi. Whilst at Merton College Oxford he directed well-reviewed recordings for Lammas Records with the Arcadian Singers of Oxford University.
|The choir’s founder, Musical Director from 1979 to 2006, is Martin Hall (Reigate). Martin was Head of Music at Reigate College from September 1986 until 2005. He holds the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Choirmaster’s Diploma (CHM). After undertaking research into 18th Century music at New College Oxford he is now based at Royal Holloway College.|
Musicians who have assisted in directing and/or playing over the years include John Keys (former Principal Organist), Tony Henwood (former Principal Organist), Martin Hall (Southampton), David Turner, William Wingate, Ed Yeo, Nick Morris, Marcus Reeves, David Quinn, Peter Ward Jones, Kit Downes, Alex Goodwin, Douglas Tang and Graham Bull.