Laidlaw Live: St Salvator's Chapel Choir
Wednesday 13th Oct, 1.10pm
McPherson Recital Room
St Salvator’s Chapel Choir
Claire Innes-Hopkins (Director of Chapel Music)
The Pilgrim’s Way: Motets by Bruckner and music by Vaughan Williams, Tippett and Bainton
St Salvator's Chapel Choir
St Salvator’s Chapel Choir is the flagship choir of the University of St Andrews, Scotland. A mixed voice ensemble of around 30 students, its history extends back to the founding of the University in the early fifteenth century, when students were obliged to sing in the University’s chapel. These choristers were referred to as the ‘Choristi Sanctiandree’.
Today, under the direction of Claire Innes-Hopkins, the choir performs a broad repertoire spanning the six centuries of the University’s history. In addition to three sung services per week and extensive ceremonial duties, the choir enjoys a busy schedule of concerts, international tours, broadcasts on radio and TV, as well as appearances at international festivals including, most recently, the Thueringer Bachwochen (Germany) and the Haarlem Koorbiennale (The Netherlands). Other recent tours have featured performances at Washington National Cathedral and Princeton University (USA) and with renowned baritone Peter Harvey in Sweden.
Recordings on the University’s own internationally distributed CD label have included Salvator Mundi charting 100 years of English church music after Purcell, Ca’ the Yowes, featuring British folk song arrangements and Bach and the Stile Antico, charting the evolution of the Credo from Bach’s Mass in B minor via works known to, and performed by, Bach during its composition.
Committed to the performance of new music, St Salvator’s Chapel Choir regularly commissions and performs works for both liturgical and secular contexts. In recent years the choir has been privileged to work with musicians such as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir James MacMillan, Paul Mealor, Arvo Pärt and Dame Emma Kirkby.
Claire was Organ Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge, where she read Music. After university Claire spent two years as Organ Scholar at Peterborough Cathedral, gaining her FRCO in the summer 2009. In 2010 she moved to Oxford to take up the post of Tutor to the Choristers at Magdalen College School, and Associate Organist at Magdalen College. Claire began her musical career as a chorister, and then moved to Christ’s Hospital for her sixth form studies, following which she took up the post of Assistant Organist at Winchester College for her gap year.
Moving to Lincoln Cathedral in 2011, her main responsibilities as Assistant Organist included accompanying the Cathedral Choir, training the probationary choristers, and conducting the chamber choir, Lincoln Cathedral Consort. For her swan-song upon leaving Lincoln at Easter 2014, Claire performed Giles Swayne’s virtuosic Stations of the Crosson Good Friday at Lincoln Cathedral, and was honoured that the composer attended the performance.
In April 2014, she took up the post of Assistant Director of Music at Rochester Cathedral, which included directing the girl choristers. In November 2017 Claire took on the role of Acting Director of Music at Rochester Cathedral, which included directing the boy choristers in addition to the girls.
Claire has extensive experience as a solo recitalist and an accompanist, playing at many cathedrals and concert halls, including St Paul’s, Westminster and Hereford cathedrals, and the Royal Albert Hall, where she performed Saint Saëns’ Organ Symphony, as well as playing for CD recordings and live radio broadcasts.
Claire is a Trinity College London theory examiner, and an ABRSM practical examiner. In her spare time Claire loves sport and currently plays hockey for Madras FPs Ladies 1st XI. Claire also sings, and is a soprano in the Holst Singers, conducted by Stephen Layton.