has been at
the very heart
The Director of Music is always willing to meet with prospective music students and Choral Scholars at any point throughout the year
Graham Ross is Director of Music and Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. Responsible for all practical music-making in the College, he builds on and seeks to enhance the continued excellence of musicianship of Clare’s instrumentalists, composers, conductors, and the internationally-renowned Chapel Choir. He continues to broaden the liturgical repertoire by commissioning new music, and to develop the Choir’s schedule of concerts, broadcasts and international tours. Since he returned to Clare as Director of Music in 2010, he has established a new recording relationship for the Choir with Harmonia Mundi, instituted the Clare College Masterclass Series and Friends of Clare Music scheme, and secured tours to the Netherlands, France and Australia.
He studied music at Clare College, Cambridge and conducting at the Royal College of Music, London. He held a conducting scholarship with the London Symphony Chorus, and has served as Chorus Master for Sir Colin Davies, Ivor Bolton and Edward Gardner. He guest conducts ensembles and orchestras across the UK and beyond, with recent performances with Tallis, Kensington, Haydn, East Anglia and Covent Garden Chamber Orchestras. In 2010 he made his BBC Proms and Glyndebourne debuts, with other work taking him to Jerusalem, Nigeria, Aldeburgh, Provence and London. He holds a special relationship with Aalborg Symfoniorkester, Denmark, where he has appeared many times as guest conductor.
With The Dmitri Ensemble he has conducted acclaimed première recordings of works by James MacMillan, Judith Bingham and Giles Swayne (all for Naxos) and discs of previously-unrecorded works by Vaughan Williams (Albion Records) and Imogen Holst (Harmonia Mundi).
A composer and conductor of a wide range of repertoire, he has had works performed throughout Europe and beyond. A passionate believer in the unveiling of both unjustly-neglected and newly-penned works, he has given numerous first performances as both a pianist and conductor of a very broad spectrum of composers. Recent performances have been given by, amongst others, Aurora Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, National Youth Choir of Great Britain, O Duo, and the Solstice Quartet, at the Edington, Colourscape, Al Bustan (Lebanon), Musique-Cordiale (Provence), Three Choirs and London Contemporary Church Music Festivals, at venues including LSO St Luke’s, Wigmore Hall, Westminster Abbey and Sydney Opera House.
Graham Ross is always willing to meet with prospective music students and Choral Scholars interested in applying to Clare College at any point throughout the year. There will be an opportunity to offer advice, informally sing a piece of your choice, and to discuss the choral admissions process.
"The Choir is a whopping jewel in Clare's musical crown"
"Clare is a lovely home for a composer to hang his rather crumpled hat. I started teaching composition in Cambridge in 2002 at the suggestion of my old friend Tim Brown; so I have had close contact with the College since then, and have worked frequently with the Choir. The Composer-in-Residence scheme brought me into much closer association with the College; and when Graham Ross (my former composition student) took over as Director of Music in 2010 the links were further strengthened. It is wonderful to work with Graham, who is an inspiring colleague and a very good friend."
Giles Swayne is Composer-in-Residence at Clare College, Cambridge, where he also teaches composition. He has written several pieces for the Choir, including The Silent Land for cello and 40-part choir, premièred at the 1998 Spitalfields Festival by Raphael Wallfisch with the Choir under Tim Brown, which was described by The Times as "a masterpiece", and Swayne himself as "the most accomplished choral composer in Britain". Other pieces written for the Choir include Hubbub, a choral setting of an especially written poem by Kevin Crossley-Holland, commissioned by Linda and Jack Hoeschler of Minnesota and The Word for solo flute and choir, another text by Crossley-Holland, premièred by the Choir and Nicholas Mogg (flute) during the Choir’s USA tour in 2010. In 2011, performances of CRY in Cologne and Aachen by the Westdeutschrundfunk Choir under Rupert Huber produced standing ovations for the composer. His recent choral work Dolorosa - an extension of his Stabat mater - was highly praised when it was performed in Leipzig and Dessau in 2011, the review in the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung describing it as "vestörend schön" ("disturbingly beautiful"). He is now working on a new piece for the Choir's Australian tour in summer, 2012.
In 2010, The Dmitri Ensemble under Graham Ross recorded a CD of Swayne's choral music for Naxos, including The Silent Land of 1997 (with Raphael Wallfisch as solo cellist) and the Stabat mater of 2004. Also in 2010 Swayne's work was represented at the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music in several performances, including the Stabat mater, and the world première of Zig-zag for organ by James McVinnie at Westminster Abbey. Zig-zag was commissioned by Leeds Catholic Cathedral, but rejected by them as unsuitable, and Swayne's work was banned from Leeds Cathedral after he wrote a letter to the Guardian newpaper criticising the religious indoctrination of children in 'faith' schools. In the same month, Swayne received the ultimate accolade of an article in Private Eye which described him as "amiably bonkers".
His Symphony No. 1 - a small world, commissioned by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, was premièred by them in Cardiff under conductor Jac van Steen in 2007; Leonardo's dream for alto saxophone and piano was premièred at the Purcell Room on London's South Bank by Hannah Marcinowicz and the composer in 2008; and Agnes Wisley's Chillout Fantasy was first performed at the Barbican Hall, London in 2008 by the Guildhall Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by Peter Gane.
In 2009 Swayne completed his String Quartet No. 4 (the turning year), which was commissioned by Clare College, Cambridge, and premièred by the Solstice String Quartet at the Cambridge Festival in 2009. The Joys of Travel, a song-cycle for voice and piano celebrating the horrors of package holidays, was commissioned by tenor Benjamin Hulett for a CD; and Swayne also composed a setting of Adam lay ybounden for the Advent Carol Service of St. John's College, Cambridge in 2009. Between 1990 and 1996 he lived in the eastern region of Ghana, but now lives in London with his wife, violinist Malu Lin.
"The Clare Organ Scholarship is a unique opportunity to experience something of the life of a professional musician"
Peter Harrison, studied the organ at Winchester College, where he was an academic and music scholar. At Winchester he studied under Christopher Tolley, Paul Provost and Malcolm Archer, and he has studied in France under Erwan le Prado, Marie-Louise Langlais and Sylvie Mallet. He is now in his second year of reading music, and is studying the organ with Jamie McVinnie and Douglas Hollick.
"A unique experience to work with a choir of the highest calibre"
Matthew Jorysz is in his first year reading music. Last year he was organ scholar of Salisbury Cathedral where, in the absence of an Assistant Director of Music, his duties included playing for the majority of the daily services. Whilst at school he was taught by Ann Elise Smoot, gaining the Associateship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists with four prizes in 2010. More recently he has studied with Daniel Moult and he now learns with James McVinnie. As a recitalist he has played st St David's, Canterbury and Salisbury Cathedrals, and at the 2011 Three Choirs Festival in Worcester.
"An opportunity not to be missed"
“There are few more thrilling experiences than being in a choir. Coming together to sing wonderful music in fantastic concert venues, including the beautiful Clare College Chapel, is an unforgettable experience, and I know that many of my performances with the Clare College Choir will stay with me for the rest of my life. Add in the wonderful friends that you make, and the opportunity to tour the world and it really is an opportunity not to be missed.”
"It was a dream come true when I learned I'd been accepted as a Choral Scholar at Clare."
"It was a dream come true when I learned I'd been accepted as a Choral Scholar at Clare. As an international student, I knew comparatively little about the various Cambridge colleges, but I knew Clare had an excellent reputation both for singing and for my subject. The past two years have been thrilling and challenging. Not only have we had incredibly exciting performance opportunities, but the daily work of being in the choir has made me a better musician, created lasting friendships, and provided a truly lovely break from academic tasks. The wide variety of music we sing and the high standards to which we are help make Clare Choir a particularly rewarding place to sing."
"The traditional Evensong we sing every week is constantly reinvented"
"I applied to Clare because of the stunning international reputation of the College for music-making and Clare Choir has given me unforgettable opportunities for travel and friendship, as well as for wonderful music. The choir is dynamic and ambitious, and the traditional Evensong we sing every week is constantly reinvented. Students from all academic disciplines provide new ideas and methods for our performances, including new compositions pushing the boundaries of traditional classical music. I have found singing in Chapel many times a week and participating in exciting concerts, recordings and tours to be a challenging and rewarding complement to any academic subject at Cambridge, and places you right at the heart of college life."