University Choir and Symphony Orchestra in York Minster

University Choir

The University Choir is a chorus of around 250 voices drawn from students and staff of the University as well as the general public from the surrounding area.

Singing in University Choir is a fantastic opportunity and a great pleasure.  The size and sound of the choir is massive.  It is wonderful to be able to share our department’s musical expertise with the York community and be able to sing extremely large and often rarely-performed choral pieces.

Anna, 3rd year

Rehearsals are held on Monday evenings during term and the choir usually gives three concerts in each academic year.

Concert programmes feature a wide variety of pieces, from later Baroque to 20th century, and focus on large-scale repertoire usually performed with orchestra. The choir has performed with University Orchestra as well as outside professional orchestras; most recently the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Yorkshire Baroque Soloists.

Soloists appearing with the choir are of a high calibre and have included:

Catherine Bott, Lynne Dawson, Wendy Goodson, Julie Kennard, Emma Kirkby, Mhairi Lawson, Katherine Manley, Nicola Mills, Helen Neeves, Rachel Nichols, Lynda Russell, Carolyn Sampson, Bethany Seymour, Yvonne Seymour, Catrin Woodruff; Jeanette Agar, Susan Bickley, Robin Blaze, James Bowman, Frances Coad, Margot Oitzinger; Joseph Cornwell, Charles Daniels, Jason Darnell, Joshua Ellicott, James Gilchrist, Nicholas Mulroy, James Oxley, Adrian Thompson, William Knight; Tom Appleton, Matthew Brook, Michael George, Thomas Guthrie, Glenville Hargreaves, Peter Harvey, Johnny Herford, Richard Jackson, Stephan Loges, Russell Smythe, Julian Tovey, Stephen Varcoe, Roderick Williams.

Recent repertoire

  • Bach  St Matthew Passion
  • Beethoven  Symphony No. 9
  • Beethoven Missa Solemnis
  • Brahms  A German Requiem
  • Brahms  Zigeunerlieder
  • Britten   War Requiem
  • Bruckner  Motets
  • Elgar   The Dream of Gerontius
  • Fauré   Requiem
  • Handel   Coronation Anthems
  • Handel   The Messiah
  • Handel   Saul
  • Haydn   The Creation
  • Haydn   Nelson Mass
  • Haydn   The Seasons
  • Mendelssohn Elijah
  • Mozart   Coronation Mass
  • Mozart   Mass in C Minor
  • Rachmaninov  The Bells
  • Rossini   Petite Messe Solenelle
  • Verdi   Requiem
  • Walton   Belshazzar’s Feast


The choir is open to all. University members, both staff and students, can join without audition - contact Catherine Duncan for registration details; non-university members are required to audition and should contact Catherine Duncan to arrange a time.

University Choir Concerts 2017/2018

  • 1 December 2018 (Central Hall)
    Handel -
    Mhairi Lawson soprano, Nancy Cole alto, Jason Darnell tenor, Frederick Long bass, Yorkshire Baroque Soloists
  • 13 March 2019 (York Minster by kind permission)
    Britten - 
    St Nicholas Op. 42
    Parry - Blest Pair of Sirens
    Bruckner - Motets 
    University of York Chamber Orchestra and Trebles of York Minster Choir (Robert Sharpe conductor)
  • 19 June 2019 (York Minster by kind permission)
    Puccini - 
    Messa di Gloria
    Verdi - Quattro pezzi sacri ('Four Sacred Pieces')
    with Ruari Bowen tenor, Ben McAteer baritone, University of York Symphony Orchestra