Leicestershire Chorale and Tom Williams
chose Tom Williams
as its conductor in January 2005.
As the senior choral scholar at King’s College Cambridge, he had been musical director of Collegium Regale.
combines a successful singing career with Exaudi, Polyphony and the Temple Church
, with singing teaching at Uppingham School
It has taken him very little time to come to terms with the expectations and needs of a successful amateur choir, perhaps not surprising when his
father has been a well known choral conductor in Derbyshire, and his
mother not only sings but accompanies choirs.
direction Leicestershire Chorale
has already won the prize for the Best Classical Performance of the Year awarded by the Leicester Mercury newspaper.
has been working for a vibrant but more cohesive sound and this process has been helped by the latest additions to the membership, some of whom have professional music experience.
Although somewhat flexible, numbers in the bass section have doubled.
has also been able to call on deputies when needed or to augment the choir for works with orchestra.
The numbers of sopranos and altos have also increased, and auditions help to keep numbers down and ensure a balanced sound.
is also working to expand the choir’s repertoire even further.
One of his
early triumphs was “a stirring performance of the Vespers” of Rachmaninov in the church of Holy Cross Priory
, which has an acoustic to rival that of St James.
The Leicester Mercury newspaper described the performance as “sonorous, passionate and colourful – a tour de force of choral agility”.
It also reported that “all eyes were on Tom Williams
who produced a superbly balanced tapestry of sound, with wide-ranging dynamics, good attack and glowing tome – underpinned by the splendid basses who came near to the ‘organ pedal’ sonority of their Russian counterparts.” This is evidence, if needed, of growing discipline in the choir.
has a good idea of what he
wants to achieve and expects all his
singers to be focussed on that.
In his first two years Tom
had conducted works by composers as varied as Handel, Lauridsen, Whitacre, Britten, Skempton, Sullivan, Vaughan Williams, Gabrieli
Through his links with Exaudi
is in contact with contemporary composers and three of them – James Weeks, Ruth Almgill and Howard Skempton (see below) – have become honorary friends of Leicestershire Chorale; and Ruth is the current composer-in-residence for the choir.
As with his predecessors, Tom is helped by an experienced and hard working committee who, under current chairman, Claire Deare, do much to ensure that programmes are successful.