History

Crouch End Festival Chorus is one of Britain’s leading symphonic choirs with a reputation nationally and internationally for its eclectic repertoire.

Based in north London it was founded in 1984 by tenors David Temple and John Gregson to sing Verdi’s Requiem at Hornsey Town Hall as part of the Crouch End Arts Festival.

David has remained as music director ever since while John Gregson is now a patron.

the original Singers Wanted poster

Under David’s leadership and with around 150 singers on our books, we are proud to be known for our wide range of singing skills - from performing and recording traditional classical works to modern and specially-commissioned pieces.  

The Chorus promotes its own concerts at major venues such as the Barbican and Royal Festival Hall in London, while also celebrating its local roots with performances in Alexandra Palace Theatre and Highgate.

The choir has been playing a leading role in classical and popular music for almost four decades.

In 1994 it began cementing its international reputation with the first-ever performance in Poland of Tippett’s A Child of Our Time at the Wratislavia Cantans Festival in Wroclaw.

Around that time, the chorus was also engaged by Silva Screen Records and has subsequently appeared on over 100 recordings, leading to work with future patrons, composers Ennio Morricone and Hans Zimmer.

In 1997, the choir reached the Top Ten in the US Billboard Charts with its Cinema Choral Classics CD which led to international acclaim.

Crouch End Festival Chorus sang at the National Maritime Museum to welcome in the new Millennium with celebrated artists including Eurythmics, Bryan Ferry and Lesley Garrett.

Another landmark was in the 2001 when CEFC performed in Ennio Morricone’s first UK concerts and became his UK choir of choice until his final appearance in 2018.

The choir has appeared regularly at the BBC Proms since its first appearance in 2001 with the Kirov Orchestra and Valery Gergiev. A particular highlight included Mahler’s Eighth Symphony at the First Night of the Proms in 2010 which was preceded that summer by an appearance with Sir Ray Davies on the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage.

In 2022, the choir appeared once more on the First Night of the Proms, performing Verdi’s Requiem under Sakari Oramo.

In the past 20 years, the choir has recorded many movie soundtracks including Rocketman, A Cure for Wellness, 1408, Six Minutes to Midnight – as well as numerous television series including Doctor Who, Good Omens, The Crown and Thunderbirds are Go!

The Chorus is well known for regularly commissioning new works from such eminent composers such as Joby Talbot, Will Todd, Ryan Latimer, Sally Beamish and Jessica Curry.

As well as the many successful recordings of film and rock music, the 2017 recording of Bach’s St John Passion for Chandos Records has been a major triumph.

You can read a full list of our repertoire here.

 

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