If it weren't for

Clare, I wouldn't

be the singer

I am today

Elin Manahan Thomas, soprano (1995-98)


Reviews for ‘Rolling River: American Choral' | 2023

"Graham Ross and Clare College Choir make a strong case for Bernstein’s stripped-down version of the Chichester Psalms. Organ, harp and percussion provide the accompaniment, and allied with youthful voices, light on vibrato, produce an altogether leaner, more transparent aesthetic impression than the fuller orchestral version. The tricky curlicues of the opening movement’s choral writing emerge unusually clearly, as does the percussive detailing. Countertenor Iestyn Davies, luxury casting in the second movement setting of Psalm 23, sings with a crystalline plangency. Organist George Gillow provides a gripping prelude to the finale, whose hushed coda is beautifully shaped by Ross and his singers. Bernstein’s Hashkiveinu, a short setting for cantor, choir and organ, is also included, and gets a ringingly committed performance.

Among the six pieces by living American composers on the album Jennifer Higdon’s O magnum mysterium stands out, the choir’s luminous harmonies set evocatively against a glimmering accompaniment of two solo flutes, chimes and crystal glasses. The delicate textures of Nico Muhly’s A Great Stone, with its two soprano soloists, are exquisitely interwoven under Ross’s sure direction, and the swelling crescendos of Muhly’s A Good Understanding reveal the choir’s excellent command of dynamics. A boldly expressive performance of Eric Whitacre’s virtuoso showpiece Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machinerounds out the programme, the piece’s manifold technical difficulties grasped with a refreshing confidence."

4 BBC Music Magazine


"The ancient English choral tradition meets contemporary American choral music in ‘Rolling River’, the latest recording from Graham Ross and the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. It’s a happy union. The silvery, naive sound of the current Clare line-up finds a good match in the ingenuous quality of much of this attractive spread of repertoire.

The Chichester Psalms is the headliner, with no less than Iestyn Davies as soloist. It’s a starry choice, and makes sense with a top line of women rather than boy choristers. Light-footed and gilded-bright in the Bernstein, elsewhere the choir are at their best in a sequence that moves from Higdon’s glistening, gauzy O magnum mysterium for choir, flutes, crystal glass and chimes, through Caroline Shaw’s airy psalm-setting and the swallow, with its wordless melodic contrails, to arrive at Eric Whitacre’s rhapsodic Leonardo Dreams of his Flying Machine.”

4 Gramophone


Reviews for 'Pan's Anniversary' | 2022



"Once again, singers and instrumentalists excel here…The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, and the string players from the Britten Sinfonia really outdo themselves here in a marvelous fusion of elegance and passion"

5star Fanfare Archive


"But I’ll return most often to a student choral creation, To Sleep! To Sleep!, circa 1896 (blessed with an immediately striking opening phrase), and the album’s finale: a recent arrangement by Timothy Burke of VW’s Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, featuring 39 voices from Clare College, Cambridge, weaving wondrously radiant textures above the Britten Sinfonia strings. Most inspiring."

4★ The Times


"There are two early choral settings Peace ,Come Away and To Sleep! To Sleep! with beautifully dark coloured choral and orchestral writing."

"Burke’s vocal scoring with stratospheric sopranos is actually rather magnificent. It made me think of the sun streaming through a multi-coloured cathedral rose window!"

British Music Society


"The chorus used simply but effectively as an echo device is both beautiful and effective as music device and actual performance here...The Choirof Clare College providing fresh-voiced and expressive support alongside the Britten Sinfonia"

Music Web International


"…it it all flows swimmingly along, providing some forty minutes of delightful entertainment. The performers were clearly enthused by this project, judging by the commitment evident in the performance itself."

5★ Customer Review


"An absolute joy from beginning to end."

5★ Customer Review


Reviews for 'Ice Land: The Eternal Music' | 2022


"An ethereal, escapist set of recordings from the Cambrigde choir, bringing together Icelandic choral music from the last half-century. Saevarsson's Requiem forms the centrepiece - a hypnotic, reflective wonder."

5★ BBC Music Magazine


"An entrancing sound world...Ross and his choir are on top form throughout the disc"

4★ Planet Hugill


"The beauty of Ross' program is that it finds a thread linking the contemporary language of Anna Thorvaldsdóttir, the more traditional Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson, the rock avant-garde of Sigur Rós, and various mixtures of these. The performances from the young Clare College choristers are superb...A beautiful and valuable release."

5★ AllMusic.com


"Unlike most multi-composer projects, there is consistency with variety, a common commitment to the kind of slow, drone-based music one might associate with the ECM label, but done here with a freshness and simplicity of diction that reflects the Clare voices at their best. The singing is glorious and the programming faultless."

Choir and Organ


"...the choir’s flexibility in capturing subtly different moods is plain..."

Presto Music (Recording of the Week)


"Great album, highly recommended"

"The ambient aura of the album is resolutely contemplative and rarely stirred by dynamic movements more intense than a placid ether."

"Saevarsson’s a cappella Requiem is particularly therapeutic, as peaceful as a body in weightlessness."

"...this is a choral symphony of beauty shrouded in reverence, mystery, emotion and great spirituality."



"...contemporary and timeless at the same time..."



"Each and every one of them beautiful, unhurried, polyphonic music, in which the cold, crystal clear atmosphere of the special island is made audible in an almost weightless way."

"New simplicity at its very best, which gives a soothing, unpretentious, meditative rest..."

Klassieke Zaken


"...stunningly beautiful collection of choral pieces by Icelandic composers..."

"The Choir of Clare College have clearly been at pains to perform this music idiomatically, aand their performances are quietly thirlling. And I simply can't praise Saevarsson's Requiem setting highly enough; although the piece is thoroughly modern, it nevertheless invokes a timeless sense of reverence, regret and devotion. A must have for all library collections."



Reviews for 'A Ceremony of Carols | 2020

“The icing on the cake is the mixed-voice choral singing itself: the clean-toned freshness of the female sopranos, balancing against the warmth and depth of the overall sound; articulation crisp and warm in equal measure, and always with a beautiful feel for the texts themselves. Harpist Tanya Houghton though is an indisputable joy from start to finish – listen in particular to the beautiful shaping she brings to There is no rose, a true conversation between her and the singers thrown into even sharper relief by the attention the engineering has lavished upon her.The programme as a whole is refreshingly non-standard, and all presented via choral singing at its finest.”



“This disc from the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, does double duty as a survey of Britten’s music for choirs and a seasonal celebration. Britten may have preferred A Ceremony of Carols to be performed by boy trebles and altos, but the work’s immediate success soon led to an arrangement for four-part choir. Most of the existing recordings feature the original version, but the Choir of Clare College has women students rather than boys, and its performance of the full-choir arrangement brings an uplifting rush of energy.

A central interlude features some attractive music by three composers to whom Britten had connections: John Ireland, Gustav Holst and his much-loved teacher, Frank Bridge.

Otherwise, music director Graham Ross has filled the disc with a selection of Britten’s other short works for unaccompanied choir. There is fine, youthful singing in early pieces, such as Britten’s own favourite A Hymn to the Virgin, and a handful of less familiar festive numbers. What better time to get to know Britten’s arrangement of The Holly and the Ivy and his New Year Carol?"

4★ Financial Times


“Graham Ross writes in the notes of his own love for Britten’s works for the voice, and he has clearly conveyed that to the young singers of his collegiate choir. They attack each piece with verve and relish; their robust sound makes everything else I have listened to for this issue seem slightly tame (sonorous bass lines are particularly impressive). There is some excellent organ playing too.” 

4★ Choir and Organ


“A vibrant, limpid performance of Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols sits at the heart of a new album by the mixed-voice Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. Conductor Graham Ross relishes the lustiness of ‘Wolcum Yole!’ without allowing scrappiness, and ‘There is no rose’ has a wealth of alluringly controlled dynamic detail. Tanya Houghton’s harp playing is unfailingly sensitive. A clutch of shorter pieces by Britten is also included, as are works by Ireland, Bridge and Holst. Warm blend, fresh attack and a sense of keen vitality mark all the singing, and the sound is excellent."

4★ BBC Music Magazine


"Stunning performance!"

Alexander Armstrong, Classic FM


“This is an excellent performance of A Ceremony of Carols. Not only does the choir sing splendidly but the success of the performance is enhanced by the marvellous playing of harpist Tanya Houghton. She excels throughout, nowhere more so than in the atmospheric Interlude based on ‘Hodie Christus natus est’. ... I’m a longstanding admirer of the recordings by The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and Graham Ross; this is another excellent example of their work. The standard of performance never falls below the level of excellence that we’ve come to expect from this choir. Not only is the sound of the choir a delight in itself, in addition their discipline is enviable and their diction is consistently very good. The disc has been produced and engineered by John Rutter and he’s captured the choral sound excellently. In addition, the balance between choir and harp in A Ceremony of Carols and in some of the other items between choir and organ is ideal. An interesting booklet essay in which Graham Ross shares his enthusiasm for the music is the icing on the cake.”



Reviews for ‘Arvo Pärt: STABAT’ | 2020

“Singing of breathtaking virtuosity from the magnificent Cambridge choir, directed with passion by Graham Ross”

Apple Music


“Rapt, intense...visions of the spiritual in the modern era”

4Financial Times


“The sung sonorities require meticulous shaping and balancing to achieve the magical naivety intended. The Choir of Clare College Cambridge under Graham Ross achieve all this and more in this beautifully meditative album”

4The Scotsman


“Soothing music for troubled times.  A must-have for those seeking solace in today’s troubled world.”

San Francisco Classical Voice


“Emotionally charged … the best recording of Vasks’ Plainscapes to date”

The Classic Review


”The confidence with which these young singers attack the opening bars of the Nunc dimittis is jaw-dropping”

“An outstanding collection … This performance of Pärt’s Stabat Mater from Graham Ross’s superbly drilled Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and The Dmitri Ensemble is exceptional”

The Arts Desk


“Crystalline, ethereal … exciting and moving interpretations”



“This recording from the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge under the direction of Graham Ross cements their position as one of the finest church ensembles in the country ...'

Classical Music Daily


“A wonderful programme … with Graham Ross's magnificently schooled and beautifully balanced Choir of Clare College, Cambridge.  Stunningly recorded too.”

Gramophone: The Listening Room


“Beautifully performed by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. Sung with mesmerising beauty...fine performances, really well put together, luminously recorded”.

BBC Radio 3 Record Review


“Performed with the skill and musical awareness that have meant that Ross' choir is recognised to be, and deserves to be hailed as, one of the finest of its type”

Classical Music Daily


“Ross and his forces give us magical moments, showing us a wide selection of highly sophisticated textures leading to a very satisfyingly varied programme … the young performers show themselves attuned to the emotional complexities underlying the music.”

“Completely magical performances … Ross and his singers keep the performance tightly focused and beautifully poised.”

5Planet Hugill

St John's, Smith Square, London Holy Week Festival Concert | April 2019

''If ever there were a case for a Cambridge college having a mixed-gender choir, Clare College’s singers made it bewitchingly in their choral miscellany of music for Passiontide, at the close of St John’s Holy Week Festival on Saturday evening... Director, Graham Ross, clearly understands and transmits the requirements of the genre, such that the ebb and flow of the dynamic worked well. The opening Viadana Sicut ovis shimmered out of nowhere, and the subsequent performances of Victoria’s O vos omnes and Alonso Lobo’s Versa est in luctum were models of control. Byrd’s Ave verum corpus, delivered ‘in the round’ was a thing of beauty.The choir gave an account full of panache, containing moments of hushed blend, a splendid tenor melisma, wall-of-sound homophony and a throbbing low-bass-underscored pianissimo close. Jonathan Harvey’s works are a challenge to any performers, and the choir tackled his I love the Lord and Nunc dimittis with élan, mastering the bi-tonal nature of the former piece to produce some well-tuned note clusters, and bringing off the hocketing, stuttering notes and portamenti in the latter with confidence and verve.''

Barry Creasy OMH 

Reviews for 'O lux beata Trinitas: Music for Trinity' | 2018

"Graham Ross and the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, have released a series of albums on Harmonia Mundi that outline the liturgical year, with programs devoted to Advent, Christmas, Passiontide, Easter, All Saints and All Souls, and Epiphany. This 2018 album, O lux beata Trinitas, rounds out the series with music on the subject of the Trinity, featuring works from the British and Russian choral traditions. The increasing popularity of Orthodox Christian chant and liturgical music by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Sergey Rachmaninov, and to a lesser extent Alexander Grechaninov, Mikhail Glinka, and Pavel Cesnokov, may have revitalized the Western choral repertoire, but the core of most English church music still depends on the customary mix of Renaissance masters (represented here by William Byrd and John Sheppard), Victorians (Charles Villiers Stanford, John Stainer, and Charles Wood), and modern and contemporary composers (Benjamin Britten, James Macmillan, Gabriel Jackson, and Joshua Pacey), giving the Clare College Choir a great variety of sacred styles and moods to choose from. Of added interest for choral fans are the two world premiere recordings: Ross' Duo Seraphim, an ecstatic antiphonal work of haunting intensity, and Pacey's Tres sunt, a contemplative motet that essentially outlines the Trinitarian doctrine in English and Latin texts. This collection demonstrates the group's extraordinary versatility and compelling ensemble sound, which give the performances an air of excitement not usually associated with English choral music."

4.5 AllMusic

Reviews for 'REFORMATION 1517-2017' | 2017

"Luther’s hammering of his Ninety-five Theses onto the door of a church in Wittenberg in 1517 echoes down the centuries. This far-sighted programme follows the Reformation from two of Bach’s most celebrated cantatas — Ein feste Burg and Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild — through Mendelssohn and Brahms to Vaughan Williams, each work being preceded by its (often Lutheran) chorale. This is primarily joyful music and the buoyant performances by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, and Clare Baroque, conducted by Graham Ross, lift the spirits."

 4Financial Times

Reviews for Pange lingua: Music for Corpus Christi' | 2017

"Renaissance polyphony, sung like this by young singers of great energy, is a tonic. The basses sound rich without being heavy, the tenors are bright and flexible, the altos are vigorous and the sopranos crest above the whole with angelic purity and gleaming brightness."  

MusicWeb International

"Radiantly sung"

4 Financial Times

Reviews for 'Mater ora filium: Music for Epiphany' | 2016

"eloquent and translucent singing" San Francisco Chronicle

"The climax of the disc is the title track, Arnold Bax’s multi-section eight-voice 'Mater ora filium', and here the choir excel themselves, with radiant top Cs from the sopranos and a wide dynamic and expressive range. It’s beautifully shaped by Ross, and sets the seal on a treasurable release.... Just the thing for those who like to continue their seasonal celebrations into the New Year, and a splendid addition to the choir’s ongoing series." 



"With rewarding and varied music, marvellously performed, this disc is a sure-fire winner." 

MusicWeb International


"...Clare College has emerged in recent years to the pinnacle of international recognition, and the fact that Graham Ross corrals these young men and women, who turnover every year, into such a unified and tonally suave unit is a testament to his innate musicality and leadership." 

4 Audiophile Audition

Reviews for 'Remembrance' | 2016

“Graham Ross’s programme binds the Tudor grief of Tomkins and Weelkes with romantic Elgar and the hallucinatory stasis of Tavener’s ‘Song for Athene’.  In the ideal ambience of Lincoln Cathedral, Ross and the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, rise to a high-class performance [of Duruflé’s Requiem] that breathes an elevated air of Gallic sensuality and measured grandeur.”

4 The Financial Times


“Sublime … I’ve never had such a reaction to my Album of the Week” 

John Suchet on Classic FM, Album of the Week


“Thoughtfully conceived…expertly performed…the Clare College Choir is among the finest of the UK collegiate choirs”  

MusicWeb International


“A very polished performance … lovely singing” 

Opera ramblings


“This is a gorgeous disc”

St Louis Post-Dispatch

Marc Rochester on The Choir of Clare College's concert at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Concert Hall, Singapore | September 2016

"There can be very few people in the Singapore choral scene who have not encountered the work of John Rutter. What would any choral concert be - especially at Christmas - without his lovely arrangements?

This recital by the choir of Clare College Cambridge ended with a moving little piece which Rutter had written especially for them. He owed them that, for it was through the music he arranged for this choir when he was its conductor during the 1970s that his international reputation was made. There was also a clever arrangement of Summertime by the current conductor, Graham Ross, an over-the-top one of Nobody Does It Better by another British choral arranger, Jim Clements, and a very animated medley of American folk tunes arranged as an almost manic piece of choral chatter by Ward Swingle. For the most part, however, the Clare College Choir chose to perform for its Singapore debut concert the core English repertory which it sings on an almost daily basis in its Cambridge University chapel. This ranged from the English Reformation of the 16th century - Byrd's Laudibus In Sanctis - to the almost hypnotically atmospheric setting of Come Holy Ghost written in the 21st century by Jonathan Harvey. For this, the choir members spread themselves out all around the auditorium and up in its galleries too, creating a most extraordinary and captivating surround- sound effect.

Music with a strong connection with the college figured prominently. A breath-taking, jazz-infused Magnificat by Giles Swayne, a former composer-in-residence, found the choir dancing nimbly over its monumental technical complexities. And the delicate part-song, The Bluebird, by a former professor of music, Charles Stanford, showcased the extraordinarily soft and caressing tone Ross coaxes from his student singers.

Mostly, the choir performed unaccompanied. In Pierre Villette's mouth-wateringly luscious Hymn To The Virgin and William Harris' ravishing Faire Is The Heaven, the sound it produced was almost mind-blowing in its opulence. But this concert also marked the first public outing for the conservatory's new pipe organ.

In Bach's funeral motet and Purcell's Jehova, quam multi sunt, organist Michael Papadopoulos revealed that this new instrument sounds every bit as beautiful as it looks.

The German baroque works perhaps exposed a lack of stability within the choir, but in the English songs, it was never less than outstanding.

Unconducted and unaccompanied, it gave a fabulous account of a Vaughan Williams folk song, while in Britten's terrifically challenging Hymn To St Cecilia, it showed that, in addition to being a vehicle for good choral arrangers, it is also a world-class choral group."

The Straits Times

Reviews for 'Haec dies: Music for Easter' | 2016

"The sound is exceptional, and the resonating commitment of these young musicians easily belies their youth. The mix of composers and periods is apt and successful, making for an adventurous and entrancing hour of Paschalia"

5★ Audiophile Audition 


"... beautifully sung ... the narcotic account of Taverner’s 'Dum transisset' which follows is exquisite"  

Early Music Review


" ... This recording is every bit as desirable as its predecessors. ... The Choir, subtlety modulated by conductor Graham Ross, spins a wonderfully fluid, mellifluous texture. ... These are, all told, performances of real quality and intelligence, by a choir which has carved a highly distinctive niche for itself amid the Oxbridge scramble'" 

4.5★ BBC Music Magazine


"Despite the annual change of personnel that is inevitably part and parcel of collegiate choirs the Clare College choir achieves remarkable consistency – and excellence."  

Musicweb International


"I can't think of a better collection of music for Easter."

Musicweb International


"The choral singing is formidable throughout, with a combination of full-bodied, translucent textures and eloquent phrasing."

San Francisco Chronicle


"This latest release in an on-going survey of the church year from Graham Ross and the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge is well worth hearing. ... In all there are four plainchants and 17 other pieces, all sung very well and those looking for some first rate choral singing for Easter will not be disappointed in this collection."

Cross Rhythms


"The liturgy for Easter Day is beautifully explored. Most of the works on the recording are superbly rendered polyphony. ... This recording is a fine addition to the too-small shelf of Easter music."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch 


"Clare College Choir set the gold standard for mixed collegiate choirs and maintains its prowess in this disc of Easter music. ... Matthew Martin's new setting of Haec dies, ear-catching and spirited, receives its world-premiere recording. Rachmaninov’s Dnes’ spaseniye has a dark resonance, complemented by the full harmonies of Samuel Wesley’s Blessed be God and Father. ... Dic nobis Maria by the Venetian Giovanni Bassano goes with a real swing and might have been composed yesterday."

The Guardian


"... the tone is predominantly uplifting in its celebration of the Resurrection ... virtuoso singing"

 4★ The Financial Times


"The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, has been maintaining consistently high quality since Graham Ross assumed its directorship in 2010. ... Its latest release is a smartly programmed collection of choral music relating to Easter, all of it of topmost caliber. ... Timbres and textures are carefully balanced, and the program is captured in a vivid but not overly reverberant acoustic. ... Elegantly rendered selections of Easter plainchant weave through the recital, including the supremely beautiful Easter sequence 'Victimae paschali laudes.' It’s hard to name favorites in this collection, but listeners will doubtless hit the replay button after Byrd’s jubilant six-part 'Haec dies' and Lassus’ spacious, polychoral 'Aurora lucis rutilat." 

The Santa Fe New Mexican


"...the ensemble [is] very nicely coordinated with clear lines and lovely choral sound, led by those bright and beautiful and judiciously balanced sopranos ... Anyone who’s a fan of the Clare College Choir will not hesitate to add this disc to their collection." 9/10


Reviews for 'Requiem: Music for All Saints & All Souls' | 2015

"...the Choir of Clare College, conducted by Graham Ross, summons all its eloquence for a masterpiece of the genre."

The Financial Times


"...it's a tribute to the excellence and commitment of these young singers"

Musicweb International


"...all the pieces on this disc are performed with Clare's customary accomplishment and minute attention to musical detail..."



“a marvellously sustained and thought-through performance by the Clare College students...Careful but unobtrusive detail is paid to dynamic detail...a firm, enthusiastic recommendation.”

BBC Music Magazine

Clare Colvin on the Choir's performance of Mozart Requiem Mass in d minor with the Aurora Orchestra at King's Place, London | April 2015

"The university choir of Clare College, Cambridge, under the direction of Graham Ross, were in resounding form".


Reviews for 'Ascendit Deus: Music for Ascensiontide & Pentecost' | 2015

"Ascendit Deus' distinguishes itself not only through expert singing, but through a program that hangs together very well... a state-of-the-art seasonal sacred recording, beautifully engineered."

All Music


"splendidly bright...vigorous...haunting effect...all beautifully performed by this accomplished choir. Let’s hope an Easter disc is on its way."

4★ Gramophone | 4★ BBC Music Magazine


"I love the idea of this disc, and I loved the hidden treasures. The performances, as expected, are top notch."

The Buffalo News


"beautifully blended choral sonorities … [this] superb recording serves as a sonorous reminder of the British choral tradition and its vibrant contemporary life" 

Opera News

Anne Midgette on the Choir's performance at the Library of Congress, Washington D.C. | December 2014

"the young singers moved crisply and adroitly through a packed program...Graham Ross, the group’s director, capitalizes on youthful energy with brisk tempi, and lets his singers be themselves."

Washington Post 

Reviews for 'Lux de Caelo: Music for Christmas' | 2014

No. 8 in UK Specialist Classical Charts

Album of the Week - WQXR Public Radio, New York

Album of the Week - Radio 4, Netherlands


"One of the best recordings of the season" 

BBC Radio 3 CD Review


"This might just be the best disc of the year. These young voices are game for anything, impeccably drilled and musically sensitive"

Sinfini Music


"an enthralling seasonal experience, sung with passion and warmth" - Audiophile Audition

"A major winner in the British holiday album genre." 

All Music


“Mathias's A babe is born typifies the choir's nimble alacrity, crisply accompanied by the Dmitri Ensemble.”

4BBC Music Magazine 


"spine-tinglingly skilful" 

Gramophone Magazine


"A little special...it works brilliantly.... There is plenty here to celebrate"

MusicWeb International


"The Schoenberg at the end is radiant"

 4Financial Times

Reviews for 'Stabat mater dolorosa: Music for Passiontide' | 2014

"This is an outstanding disc. ... I find it hard to believe that the music has ever been better sung than in this searing performance by the Clare choir"

MusicWeb International 

John Quinn


"Ross draws fine performances from his young singers"


Planet Hughill 

Robert Hugill 


"carefully chosen, elegantly sequenced, excellently sung: one of the most attractive new Easter recordings of the year"

BBC Radio 3 ‘Building a Library’ 

Andrew McGregor 


"Graham Ross...cultivates a harmonious balance between music-making for the head and powerful expression for the heart. The approach delivers outstanding results… His choristers reflect the exceptional quality of Cambridge collegiate choral singing, arguably finer today than ever”

4Sinfini Music | March 2014

Andrew Stewart


"not only a collection of some of the most beautiful choral music to be heard but exciting evidence of the evolving and unique identity of the choir itself. ... All the works on this disc [have] been extensively and intelligently crafted. The singing and, above all, direction are of such consummate musicianship"

Gramophone | March 2014

Caroline Gill


"highly sentient, technically excellent performances...atmospherically recorded"

Performance | 4★ Recording | 5

BBC Music Magazine | April 2014

Terry Blain


"Warm yet pure-toned emotion pours from these 27 voices, and a fine corps of basses grounds the whole with exemplary gravitas."

Choir and Organ | February 2014

Rebecca Tavener

Robert Hugill on The Choir of Clare College singing J.S. Bach's B Minor Mass with the Aurora Orchestra, directed by Nicholas Collon | December 2013

"The choir were in stunning form, taking the faster passage-work with a wonderful deftness, but also bringing a bright, focussed young tone to all the music and a remarkable attention to detail. ... The choir was fully responsive with a remarkable attention to text  There were moments of ravishing tone, such as in the Et incarnatus est and Crucifixus. ... I went away amazed at the assurance and technical facility of the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge."

Planet Hugill | December 2013

Mark Berry on The Choir of Clare College singing J. S. Bach's B Minor Mass with Aurora Orchestra, directed by Nicholas Collon | December 2013

"There was real musicianship on display here. ... Clare Choir's contribution stood pretty much beyond reproach".

Boulezian | December 2013

The Choir of Clare College's disc 'Veni Emmanuel: Music for Advent'

“Tavener’s flair for drama is here; so are the influence of the Russian Orthodox liturgy and his gift for writing melodies and harmonies that are hard to shake off. The rest of the programme is attractive enough, but among the Howells, the Rutter and Rachmaninov, Tavener’s five minutes act like a bolt of lightning...Here is music with the power to transform your life.”

4 The Times | November 2013 


This is a marvellous programme of Music for Advent and it is executed superbly by the Clare College Choir. It’s obvious that the standard built up during Timothy Brown’s long leadership, especially, has been fully maintained by Graham Ross.”

MusicWeb International | November 2013

Mark Berry on The Choir of Clare College singing J. S. Bach's St John Passion with Aurora Orchestra, directed by Nicholas Collon | March 2013

"The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, offered fine performances, by turn angry and devotional, as text and role required. The turba choruses were vivid, the chorales heartfelt but clear-eyed. Diction, moreover, was thoroughly excellent."

Boulezian | March 2013

The Choir of Clare College singing The Dream of Gerontius with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, directed by Sir Mark Elder | January 2013

"The choral singing – the London Philharmonic Chorus, with the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, supplying the semi-chorus – was unstintingly sumptuous and secure."

Andrew Clements, The Guardian | January 2013


"The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge were on excellent form. ... They sounded very much as the best of the English choral tradition. ... There was seraphic beauty to be experienced from Clare’s voices ..."

Mark Reed, Seen and Heard International | January 2013


"The Choir of Clare College (director Graham Ross) sang the semi-chorus parts, singing with superb control and providing the still small voice amidst the grander choral gestures"

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill | January 2013


"The two choirs had all the necessary power for the big choral moments, with a marvellously terraced sound that suggested vast distances"

Peter Reed, Classical Source | January 2013

"The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge served as the spiritual semi-chorus. ... Impeccably drilled"

Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk | January 2013

The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge at St John's, Smith Square | 2012

“The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, is one of the various nurseries for future BBC Singers and an organisation that’s undergone major change in recent years with the departure, after distinguished decades in office, of Tim Brown as music director and the arrival of the young, thrusting and prodigiously talented Graham Ross as his successor.

Ross is not much older than his singers, but his discipline is strong, secure and musically astute.  He shapes and phrases with real mastery.  And for this concert at St John’s, Smith Square, he devised a fascinatingly non-standard programme that included three versions of In dulci jubilo in rapid succession (one by Ross himself), a rare outing of Schoenberg’s Friede auf Erden (which is totally on-message for Christmas but something few choirs would think of throwing into a carol concert), and a period-conscious performance of Stille Nacht with the sort of 19th-century guitar that would have accompanied the original performance (given that the carol was written for a village church where the organ wasn’t working).

For good measure we also had a new, extended choral work, Uncommon Prayers, written with characteristic maverick quirkiness by Clare’s current Composer-In-Residence, Giles Swayne.  And inevitably there was something by John Rutter, who was Tim Brown’s predecessor at Clare and will forever be associated with its choir.  Sadly, it wasn’t the one Rutter carol that I truly love, What Sweeter Music, but the earlier, cheesier Nativity Carol which I don’t love but I understand why others do.  You have to make allowances at Christmas.”

Michael White, The Catholic Herald | 4 January 2013

Reviews for 'Imogen Holst: Choral Works’ | 2012

"Thrilling... A tribute to the superb ensemble singing of the Choir of Clare College under Graham Ross, who has trained with choir with its impeccable ensemble.  Clear, well-defined recording

Edward Greenfield, Gramophone | October 2012

"These performances are poised, immaculate.”
Performance 4★ / Recording 4★ "

Malcom Hayes, BBC Music Magazine | September 2012

"This programme, all of which is new to disc, shows her terrific gift for textured harmony, drama and vocal beauty. Performances and recording are of the highest standard, as one might expect."  

4★ Classical Music Magazine | September 2012


"The choir responds skilfully under Graham Ross... admirably committed performances from the Choir of Clare College and The Dmitri Ensemble, in very fine sound"

John Warrack , International Record Review | September 2012

Beethoven Symphony No. 9 - Australia Tour (Perth Concert Hall Performance) | 15 August 2012

'The choir's rich yet clear sonority and firm yet delicate expressiveness made the strongest possible impression.'


'The real surprise, however, came from the sheer volume of sound issuing from such small forces - especially true of the choir, so well drilled by its director, Graham Ross, and the soloists in the famous final Ode to Joy movement.'


'This was Beethoven for the 21st century - and for the 19th.'

William Yeoman - The West Australian

Beethoven Symphony No. 9 - Australia Tour (Hamer Hall, Melbourne, Performance) | 12 August 2012

'The first Beethoven piece Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage from his middle period introduced us to the exquisitely honed skills of the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. This band of young performers is touring with the ACO this season and is preceded by a justifiably high profile and even higher expectations.'


'The Choir were the highlight of the symphony. They have a youthful voice and vigour of presentation which brought a brightness and newness to the familiar choral movement. Strong individual sections ranged from distant and floating in some passages to authoritative and demanding of attention in others. The men in particular offered a hugely substantive range; more than just an under-current but a dominant and driving force to match the parts given by Beethoven to his solo male singers.'


'Young voices, confident and energetic demanded to be heard and presented an undeniably attractive departure from the formality and grandeur associate with this work.'

Gregory Pritchard - Concertonet.com

Beethoven Symphony No. 9 - Australia Tour (City Rectial Hall, Sydney, Performance) | 7 August 2012

'The Choir of Clare College (directed by Graham Ross) took to the top section of the Hall – above the platform – and sang with great and subdued beauty in the first half (‘Calm Sea’), while opening up in the second section (‘Prosperous Voyage’) with a power that belied their relatively small size.'


'Truly one of the best concerts this year, and an interpretation of Beethoven that will remain with this critic for a long time.'

5★ - Tomas Boot - artshub.com


'The first half of this work (Calm sea of Beethoven's Calm Sea and Propsperous Voyage) featured some exquisitely sensitive playing from the ACO and the opening quiet entry from Clare Choir was electric, drawing us into the music in a thoroughly engaging way. The choir’s first loud entry in the Prosperous voyage section hit us like a thunderbolt, providing the music with a truly thrilling moment, the choir demonstrating the vocal power of their talented young singers.'


'Following this we were treated to a performance of Brahms’ Geistliches Lied, with the organ part having been arranged for strings. This for me was one of the highlights of the concert. The performance had a wonderful organic nature to it, the musical phrases perfectly shaped, with each line blending with the next and perfectly timed. This was an unfussy performance where Brahms’ music was allowed to do the talking. The climax of each phrase reached its natural peak and was then allowed to die away naturally at its conclusion. As in the Beethoven in the second half, the choir performed from memory, delivering the music from the heart.'


'It is easy to forget that the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge is made up of students and there were only 29 of them competing against a full orchestra. Much of the last movement is consistently loud and high in the vocal range, although there were no signs whatsoever of vocal fatigue. The singers produced a full, vocally mature sound, filling the hall in an impassioned manner with Schiller’s great words of hope. The cheers at the end of the work and the standing ovation spoke for itself.'

4★ Oliver Brett - Bachtrack.com

Beethoven Symphony No. 9 - Australia Tour (Syndey Opera House Performance) | 5 August 2012

'The choir of Clare College, Cambridge, was warm, true and magnificent, preserving the crucial line even in extreme high notes and problematic passages like the slow ''Seid umschlungen, Millionen!'' (be embraced, ye millions).'


'Messiaen's Prayer of Christ ascending towards his Father from L'Ascension, Beethoven's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, and Brahms's Geistliches Lied set off the Ninth's splendour with sophistication.'

4.5 ★  Peter McCallum - Sydney Morning Herald

Beethoven Symphony No. 9 - Australia Tour (Llewelyn Hall, Canberra Performance) | 4 August 2012 

"Superlatives seem inadequate for this latest and consummate instalment of the Beethoven cycle by Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. In short, it is simply a triumph. Intoxicating and exhilarating, this is a performance for the history books.'


'With 84 musicians on stage - an expanded ACO buttressed by 30 young choristers from Clare College, Cambridge - the ensemble very nearly matched the original forces. Arguably, they created the sounds the deaf Beethoven was striving to hear. Shorn of the gargantuan forces deployed for hall openings and royal visits, here was clarity, precision and dramatic sweep.'


'For many of us, this Beethoven Ninth sets the bar well into the future.'

Vincent Plush - The Australian 

Bordeaux Tour | June 2011

'Clare Choir were wonderful in Saint Emilion. I took my father (Barry Brown, 1956) and some friends, it was a searingly hot evening but soothingly cool inside the old Eglise Collegiale. They put on an ambitious programme effortlessly - just beautiful.

Clare Tooley (1989, nee Brown), former Choral Scholar

The Dream of Gerontius - Royal Festival Hall, London | March 2011

“This was one of the occasions when that chemistry was exactly right - as good as any live account of the work I've heard in years. The singing of the London Philharmonic Chorus, with the Choir of Clare College Cambridge forming the semi-chorus, was full-blooded and intense, the playing of the London Philharmonic Orchestra utterly secure.” 

4★ The Guardian


As for the London Philharmonic Choir, reinforced in the centre by the raspberry-robed choir of Clare College, Cambridge, their clear, fervent sounds were always the instruments of bliss.”

4 The Times

USA Tour | September 2010

'Lovers of choral music were given a treasurable lesson in sublime ensemble singing by the visiting Choir of Clare College, Cambridge.'  

The Daily Page

French music with the Schubert Ensemble - King's Place, London | June 2010

'If you ever needed confirmation of the fantastically high standard of choral singing that exists in the UK, look, or rather hear, no further than the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge.'

Classical Source

The Christmas Oratorio - Israel Tour | December 2009

'[The Choir's] singing of the choruses was fresh, exacting, fired with energy, well punctuated and articulated; Brown's attention to text, dynamics, diction, language, pronunciation and phrase-endings is reflected in the enthralling performance of this choir.'

The Jerusalem Post

CD Review - Vaughan Williams 'Sacred Music' | July 2009

'There's no doubt [Vaughan Williams] would have doffed his boater to the last recording...from Clare College...the sweeping energy and rich detail of Tim Brown's interpretation draw out the best from his young singers, in matters musical and mystical.'

Classic FM


'This performance, lovingly moulded and well balanced in the play of solo voices and full choir, is in the best tradition.'



'Compliments to the Naxos sound team for achieving clarity within a faithful representation of the St John's College acoustic...what impresses about this performance is the exceptional sense of shape, both in overview and in tiny details...This comes with a strong recommendation.'  

BBC Music Magazine

BBC Proms: Prom 8 - 800th Anniversary of the University of Cambridge - Royal Albert Hall, London | July 2009

'...exemplary choral clarity made even Stanford's Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in A sound thrilling...starred firsts all round for the performers...'

The Times

Fauré Requiem - King's Place, London | May 2009

'...the Clare College Choir and soloist Raphaela Papadakis sang with great beauty...'

'...Timothy Brown's pacey direction illuminated the Requiem's often neglected dramatic dimensions rather than its more characteristic intimacy...'

The Guardian