Thames Philharmonic Choir will perform an exciting programme of modern music by some of the UK’s finest choral composers, all of whom are at the very cutting edge of the musical genre. The chosen works are by composers including Sir James MacMillan, Cecilia McDowall and Jonathan Dove.

The concert will take place on Saturday 15 June at St Paul’s Knightsbridge at 7.30 pm. Solo parts will be sung by Thames Philharmonic’s choral scholars, James Orford will be playing the organ, and the concert will be conducted by TPC Music Director, Harry Bradford

You can now get your tickets here.


Talking about the choice of music he and Accompanist James Orford made for the concert, Harry Bradford says:


“We wanted to programme something a bit different – hopefully repertoire that would be largely unfamiliar to the choir and challenge them in new ways. What better way to do this than with music written by some of the UK’s leading contemporary composers of choral music? And for a performance at the wonderful St Paul’s Church Knightsbridge with its fabulous organ (an instrument with which James is well acquainted as the church’s organist), we thought that a programme of contemporary church music would fit the bill. 

“We wanted to pick a selection of pieces that would give choir and audience alike a sense of the ways in which musical boundaries – melodic, rhythmic, textural, harmonic and others – are being pushed by contemporary composers. Many choir members have already expressed how much they are enjoying the music because they have been ‘exposed to sound worlds they had never heard before or more importantly never associated with “classical” music’. 

He and James are huge fans of Jonathan Dove’s music and thought this was an obvious place to start. Says Harry: “I remember the first time we performed his epic ’Seek Him That Maketh The Seven Stars’ together and I was completely taken by the overwhelming magnitude of the work, as well as the very cleverly crafted musical effects in the organ, which created the mood for the piece. His Missa Brevis was an obvious counterpart to this with its sparkling and somewhat funky ‘Gloria’ and ‘Sanctus’ (a serious rhythmic and counting challenge for the choir) contrasted with the serene majesty of the outer two movements. In many ways this excellent writing is underpinned by simplicity, which is also the key to MacMillan’s A New Song in which a chant-like melody over drones is contrasted with hypnotic organ interludes and moments of MacMillan’s characteristic folk-inspired charm and fervour. 

“York minster is the connection between our pieces by Francis Jackson and Philip Moore. Francis Jackson was director of music at York for 36 years until 1982 and his famous set of canticles in G, or as he referred to them ‘me in G!’, have become staples in cathedrals up and down the country. I first came across his setting of the Benedicite as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations at St Paul’s Cathedral and found it to be an extremely fun piece to sing, especially with different characterisations of the various elements invoked – lighting, clouds, seas, floods, fire and heat – it’s got it all. Philip Moore succeeded Francis Jackson and remained director of music at York until his retirement in 2008 – his anthem All Wisdom Cometh from the Lord includes an epic baritone solo to be taken by our Bass Scholar Allyn Wu. 

“Cecilia McDowall’s Psalm 65 was a recommendation from James who had come across it playing for its premiere with the London Pro Arte Choir. I’ve loved getting to know the piece and think it is extremely well written for choral forces with a particularly buoyant and playful second section that encourages the choir to experiment with constantly changing rhythmical meter. 

“I’ve been singing Richard Allain’s music since I was a child as he worked alongside my father teaching music. I’ve always loved his rich and extended harmonic palette allowing choir and audience members alike to bathe in a sea of scrumptious and often unexpected harmonies.

“So that’s the music for our June concert; we hope you’ll come and join us.”



More About Thames Philharmonic Choir


TPC is a vibrant and musically ambitious amateur choir based in South West London. With a repertoire spanning over 800 years, the Choir enjoys performing everything from renaissance polyphony to contemporary compositions and everything else in between. We perform with some of the country’s finest oratorio soloists, orchestras and period instrumental ensembles, both locally and in prestigious London venues. Rehearsals are high energy, high pace and designed to improve vocal technique, expand musical horizons and to share in the joy of communal music making. 

Harry Bradford is a prize-winning conductor and choral director working in the UK and Europe. Since winning Second Prize in the prestigious Eric Ericson Award 2021, he has collaborated with a number of the world’s finest vocal ensembles including the MDR Rundfunkchor, the Eric Ericsons Kammarkör, the Sixteen and the Swedish Radio Choir. He is the conductor and co-founder of the professional vocal ensemble, Recordare, with whom he has performed extensively across festivals in the UK, and holds permanent positions as the Music Director of the Thames Philharmonic Choir, the English Baroque Choir and North Herts Guild of Singers.

James Orford is a prize-winning organist and pianist based in London. He is currently organist and assistant director of music at St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, and is pursuing a portfolio freelance career, working as a soloist, accompanist, continuo player, repetiteur and teacher. His most recent positions include being the acting college organist and head of organ at Eton College and the organist in residence at Westminster Cathedral. He has also completed organ scholarships at St Paul’s and Truro Cathedrals, the Royal Hospital Chelsea, and King’s College, London.