Dulwich Choral Society is marking its 75th anniversary this year in style with a concert of Bach’s Magnificat and Ascension Oratorio in November at All Saints, West Dulwich, following a memorable performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Cadogan Hall in April, which drew an audience of almost 500. The Society recently completed a multi-year Bach cycle including performances of the Christmas Oratorio at the Old Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich, and the St. Matthew Passion at Cadogan Hall.
The choir has gone from strength to strength over the past 13 years under the baton of Music Director Aidan Oliver, who was also appointed this year as Chorus Master at Glyndebourne, a role he added to his existing commitments as Chorus Director of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and founding director of Philharmonia Voices.
Dulwich Choral Society (DCS) was launched in 1944 as an evening class of both singers and orchestral players, focused on classical repertoire with a particular emphasis on sacred music. Over the years it has performed regularly under a succession of conductors, the first being Leonard Rafter, a composer and Dulwich resident. In 1962 Graham Stewart took over, and he led the choir for the next thirty years. During that time Stewart steadily built up membership and musical capability with increasingly ambitious performances.
He was replaced in 1993 by a young keyboard player Susan Farrow, and under her leadership a number of less commonly heard works were performed. During this period, the choir also started biennial trips to European venues, including Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2004 on the choir’s 60th anniversary, where it gave performances in Sarajevo and Mostar. Our most recent trip last year was to the Amalfi coast and the cathedrals of Sorrento, Salerno and Ravello.
DCS currently performs two main concerts a year with professional orchestras or ensembles and soloists, as well as a summer concert of lighter music and a charity Christmas carol concert. It collaborates with local school choirs and puts on workshops and 'Come and Sing' events. We welcome new members, and if you would like to try us out, please visit dulwichchoral.com