Oxford Choir of Merton College
The Choir of Merton College is one of Oxford’s leading mixed-voice choirs, singing during term-time in the thirteenth century chapel. The choir consists of thirty undergraduates and post-graduates, many of whom hold choral scholarships at Merton College. In recent years tours have included France, the USA, Sweden and Italy, and performances of Duruflé’s Requiem in Gloucester Cathedral, Tallis’s Spem in alium in the Beaujolais Festival, Mozart's Requiem in St Germain-des-Prés, Paris, and the première of David Briggs's Messe Solennelle in St Paul’s Cathedral. Regular appearances in London include concerts at Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square and The Temple Church.
The choir plays a leading role in the annual Passiontide at Merton festival, including performances of Bach's Mass in B minor, St John and St Matthew Passions, Handel’s Messiah, MacMillan’s Seven Last Words and Pärt’s Passio. In 2014 the choir gave the premiere of Gabriel Jackson’s The Passion of our Lord.
The choir regularly takes part in performances of large-scale choral works, performing Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014, and in 2018 performs Elgar’s The Apostles with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre.
The choir’s debut CD In the beginning was named 'Gramophone Choice' in the December 2011 edition of Gramophone; their most recent recording Viri Galilaei was named as a Critic’s Choice of 2016 by Gramophone. Forthcoming recordings include a disc of Christmas music, and the choral music of Richard Allain. The choir regularly broadcasts live on BBC Radio 3; highlights include two broadcasts in 2017, the second of which was Choral Evensong from St Peter’s Basilica, Rome.
In the last few years the choir has given first performances of new choral works by Judith Weir, John Tavener, James MacMillan, Jonathan Dove, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Cecilia McDowall and Sir Harrison Birtwistle.