Caius College Choir is one of Britain’s leading collegiate choirs. Gonville and Caius College was founded in 1348 but the musical tradition stems from the late nineteenth century when the well-known composer of church music Charles Wood became Organist. The choir in Wood’s day contained boy trebles; it is now a mixed undergraduate ensemble and is directed by Geoffrey Webber.
The Choir sings Chapel services during the University term and has a busy schedule of additional activities including concerts, recordings and broadcasts. The Choir travels extensively abroad, performing at a variety of venues ranging from major concert halls to universities, cathedrals and churches in Europe, America and beyond, often in connection with other professional ensembles such as Opera Northern Ireland and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra of San Francisco. The Choir also gives a number of concerts in the UK each year, appearing in venues such as St John’s, Smith Square and at the Spitalfields Festival in London, and many other venues around the country.
Live radio broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and 4 form a regular feature of the Choir’s schedule. Broadcasts of Choral Evensong have been notably adventurous in content and have ranged from baroque anthems performed with period instruments to Russian and Greek Orthodox music, South African music, and music composed especially for the Choir by leading British composers such as James Macmillan. The Choir has also appeared on television programmes on BBC 1, BBC 2, Channel 4 and on several foreign networks.
The Choir’s recordings have tended to specialise in the re-discovery of forgotten choral repertories, often including previously unpublished music from within the English choral tradition and beyond. A series of highly acclaimed CDs (mainly on the ASV label) has included music by English composers Samuel Wesley, William Child, Edmund Rubbra, Patrick Hadley and Rebecca Clarke, and by continental composers Joseph Rheinberger, Giacomo Puccini, Leonardo Leo and Charles Gounod. The Choir has also recorded two reconstructions – the Latin Mass in E Flat by Janá?ek and the St. Mark Passion by J. S. Bach – three programmes of Swiss choral music (in conjunction with the National Library of Zürich) and, on the Priory label, the complete anthems of Charles Wood and a disc of music by John Sanders. A DVD of music by Francis Poulenc featuring the Choirs of St John’s, Clare and Caius Colleges, has also been released, and other collaborations include a recording of music by John Rutter with the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (EMI). The Choir’s most recent CD releases include a recording of modern and medieval vocal music entitled All the ends of the earth (Signum Classics), a disc of music by William Turner (Delphian) and a CD of music by Michael Wise (Delphian).