UK Registered Charity Number 1090818
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Robert Hanson (Bob) has been head of department in two institutions famous for their musical traditions - Dartington College of Arts and Morley College but now works freelance in order to have more time for composition, conducting and writing.
Initially, he trained as a pianist but then took the organist route for a time, which brought him to singing and the immense richness of the English choral tradition. On the way, however, he obtained a doctorate in the music of Webern and evolved a method of musical analysis which forms the basis of his theoretical teaching, the focus being on meaning and communication rather than dry technicalities. This rather unusual combination of interests helps Bob to empathise with and draw people into a wide range of music.
His compositions cover the gamut of instrumental, orchestral, solo song and choral genres, the latter including a number of works composed or arranged for chamber choir, of which perhaps the most notable is a 40-part motet And There Shall Be No Night There, conceived as a companion piece to Tallis's celebrated Spem in Alium.
Paul joined the choir as accompanist in 1997 and became Musical Director in March 2000.
Paul was the Director of Music at St Stephen's, Gloucester Road in Kensington from 1997 to 2002, and was a Junior Fellow at the Royal College of Music between 1998 and 2000. He is now one of London's most highly regarded vocal coaches and has worked extensively for the Royal Opera (Covent Garden), Opera-OT (Rotterdam) and New York International Opera Partners. He is also in demand as a recital accompanist.
Pauls first assignment as Musical Director of the choir was to conduct the successful tour of Prague and Vienna in May 2000. He worked hard to improve our vocal technique, initiating regular singing workshops, and presented us with challenging material, from Hildegard of Bingen to Jacques Brel.
Jean was the co-founder and first conductor of the choir.
A graduate of Trinity College, London, she studied singing with Ilse Wolf and conducting with James Gaddarn.
In 1984, Jean became a member of the Swingle Singers with whom she made many recordings and toured extensively.
Since her Swingle days, Jean has been working in schools and boroughs across London, developing music with children and young people. Her infectious enthusiasm for all kinds of music and her faith in the abilities of the choir led to some memorable performances and gave the choir a solid base from which to develop.