The Whitehall Choir is one of London’s leading amateur choirs. It has a varied repertoire including challenging unaccompanied pieces as well as larger choral works, and looks to present a selection of more rarely performed pieces alongside favourite classics. The Choir performs regularly at major central London concert venues, alongside professional orchestras and soloists, and has an extensive repertoire from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century.
After 17 years as musical director of the Choir, Paul Spicer is leaving at the end of this season.
Since 2000, Paul Spicer has conducted at least three major concerts each year. He is well known as a choral conductor, partly through the many CDs he made with the Finzi Singers for Chandos Records. He conducted Bach Choirs in Chester and Leicester before moving to conduct the Bach Choir in Birmingham in 1992. He taught at the Royal College of Music between 1995 and 2008, and now teaches choral conducting at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where he also directs both chamber choirs, and at Oxford and Durham Universities.
The first complete recording of Paul Spicer’s large-scale Easter Oratorio was released in 2005 to critical acclaim, the work being recognized by Gramophone magazine as "the best of its kind to have appeared ... since Howells’s Hymnus Paradisi". The Deciduous Cross, for choir and winds, which is based on poems by R S Thomas, was premiered in 2003 and was recorded by the Whitehall Choir in 2006. Paul Spicer’s Advent Oratorio, setting a libretto by the New Testament scholar Dr Tom Wright, formerly Bishop of Durham, who had also written the text for the Easter Oratorio, was first performed in Lichfield Cathedral on 5 December 2009.
Paul Spicer’s biography of his composition teacher, Herbert Howells, was published by Boydell & Brewer in August 1998, and his biography and study of works of the composer Sir George Dyson was published, again by Boydell & Brewer, in May 2014.
To view Paul’s biography, please click here .
Joanna Tomlinson has joined the Choir as assistant musical director for the remainder of the 2016/17 season, and she will take over from Paul Spicer as musical director from September.
Joanna is the Music Director of Constanza Chorus and Chamber Choir, the internationally renowned Farnham Youth Choirs and the choirs at Reading University. She is Associate Director of East London Chorus. She is also on the tutor panel for the Association of British Choral Directors.
In demand as a workshop leader, recent workshops include sessions for UK Choir Festival, ABCD, London Choral Conducting Masterclasses, and the Gabrieli Consort “Roar” and Philharmonia Orchestra education schemes.
Joanna has studied conducting with Neil Ferris and Peter Hanke, and at the Sherborne Summer School under George Hurst. She has participated in masterclasses with Paul Brough, Patrick Russill, Peter Broadbent, Michael Reif and John Dickson. She studied singing at the Royal College of Music, where she gained the post-graduate diploma in singing with Distinction. She has appeared as soprano soloist in much of the core oratorio repertoire. As a choral singer, Joanna works with BBC Singers, Philharmonia Voices, Britten Sinfonia Voices, Gabrieli Consort and Sonoro.
Joanna teaches singing and conducting. She has taught at Bedales School, Trinity Laban Junior Department and Royal College of Music Junior Department and worked as vocal coach to the Polish National Youth Choir.
To view Joanna’s biography, please click here .
Ian Tindale is a graduate of Royal College of Music (RCM), having gained a Distinction on the Master of Performance course in Piano Accompaniment, studying with Simon Lepper, John Blakely and Roger Vignoles. Subsequently Ian was the Lord and Lady Lurgan Junior Fellow in Piano Accompaniment at the RCM. Prior to his studies in London, Ian read Music at Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he was also Organ Scholar. He graduated with a double First in 2011, receiving the Tony Bland Prize for academic achievement, the Williamson Prize for performance and the Brian Runnett Prize for organ.
Since leaving the RCM, Ian was awarded the Royal Overseas League Music Competition Accompanist's Prize and the Help Musicians UK Accompanist's Prize in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards in April 2015, following performances on both occasions with soprano Soraya Mafi. Previously Ian had been named winner of the Gerald Moore Award, the Help Musicians UK Accompanist's Prize (Maggie Teyte Competition), and the Association of English Singers and Speakers Accompanist's Prize (Courtney Kenny Competition). He has performed at venues across London including recitals and masterclasses at Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall, as well as concerts at the Oxford Lieder Festival and Buxton Festival and further afield in Scotland, Paris, Corfu and Malta. Ian is also a Samling Artist and a Britten-Pears Young Artist.
As a répétiteur Ian has worked with British Youth Opera (The Bartered Bride, 2012), Cambridge Handel Opera (Atalanta, 2013), Ryedale Festival Opera (The Coronation of Poppea, 2014) and Samling Academy Opera (L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, 2015). As an orchestral pianist Ian has appeared with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on BBC Radio 3 and at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Ian is the grateful recipient of support from the Leonard Hancock Memorial Trust.
In Spring 2016, the Choir went on tour to Vienna, performing in the Votive Church in Vienna, and in the town of Krems.
Over the years, the Choir has made a number of other visits both abroad and in the UK including to Toulouse, France and to Riga, Latvia.
In 2008 the Choir made its debut at The Banqueting House, Whitehall, singing Elgar and Vaughan Williams, and has returned four times since, most recently for its 70th anniversary concert in July 2013 with a programme including Choral Dances from Britten’s opera Gloriana, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the coronation of the Queen.
To celebrate its 70th anniversary, the choir also launched a Young Composer Competition, and the prize was awarded to Samuel Parsons for his piece Christ on the Cross at our carol concert in December 2013 (see photo).
The choir performed the winning piece at its April 2014 concert in St Alban’s Holborn, as part of a programme of works suitable for performance between Passiontide and Ascension Day, which also included works by Gibbons, Purcell, Leighton and Vaughan Williams. The choir also recorded a CD of the works performed in the concert.
Over the past few years, the Choir has recorded three CDs, one of rarely heard Christmas music, one of Bruckner’s Mass in E Minor and Paul Spicer’s The Deciduous Cross, and a third in 2014 of music suitable for passiontide to Ascension. Read more
Other performances and workshops
Since November 2006, the Choir has hosted 'come and sing' events, originally at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Narbonne Ave, Clapham, SW4, and latterly at St Sepulchre’s, Holborn Viaduct. In May 2012, we hosted it jointly with the Whitehall Orchestra, exploring Brahms’ Requiem, and in May 2013, we worked with the Orchestra on Verdi’s Requiem.
In addition to these informal events, the Choir organises day-long workshops, which provide an opportunity both to work on vocal technique and to enjoy some time together over lunch.
Anyone interested in the history of the Choir can read more about it in the archive.back to topˆ