The Girton College Choir, Cambridge, has dual functions as a regular chapel choir and a successful touring and recording ensemble.
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Girton College Choir, Cambridge Biography

by James Manheim

The Girton College Choir, Cambridge, is active both as the College's regular chapel choir and as a touring and recording ensemble. Not as old as other English collegiate choirs, the Girton College Choir has seen its profile rise rapidly since it was established in its modern form in 1979.

Girton College was established as a women's institution within Cambridge University in 1868, and its chapel was dedicated in 1902. It was not until 1979, however, that the current Girton College Choir, Cambridge, assumed its current mixed-voice configuration of between 24 and 28 singers, mostly undergraduates at Girton. Three years earlier, Girton College had become coeducational. The choir uses various names, even in its own descriptive materials and social media pages: Chapel Choir of Girton College, Choir of Girton College, Cambridge, and simply Girton Choir have all appeared. The choir sings weekly at the Girton College Chapel's Choral Evensong service every Sunday, at the evening service Compline every Tuesday, and at Vespers every Friday, rehearsing twice a week. The choir offers two organ scholarships annually, as well as choral scholarships. Its touring schedule has been busy. The choir often appears at major English cathedrals, including those at Canterbury and Salisbury, as well as Westminster Abbey. Its international tours are even more extensive than those of better-known choirs, encompassing not only Britain, continental Europe, and the U.S. (the latter including performances at Saint Thomas Church in New York and the National Cathedral in Washington), but also Israel and Palestine, southeast and east Asia, and Australia. The choir's current director is Gareth Wilson. It has collaborated with the Gabrieli Consort, the London Mozart Players, and other leading instrumental ensembles.

The Girton College Choir, Cambridge, has made several recordings, mostly for the Toccata Classics label. The group's repertory runs from the Renaissance to the present day, but its recordings thus far have focused on Renaissance music, including a critically acclaimed 2018 album devoted to the works of composer Manuel Cardoso. In 2020, the Girton College Choir, Cambridge, issued an album of masses and motets by Monteverdi's teacher, Marc'Antonio Ingegneri.

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