Jack Apperley is a London based freelance conductor. Under the tutelage of Patrick Russill, he graduated from the Royal Academy of Music where he obtained a Masters in Choral Conducting. He was awarded a Distinction and received the Sir Thomas Armstrong Choral Leadership Prize. Prior to this, Jack read Music at the University of Birmingham where he was mentored by Simon Halsey CBE. In 2019 he received the Choir Prize at the Jazep Vitols International Choral Conducting Competition in Latvia and was a Semi Finalist in the World Choral Conducting Competition in Hong Kong. In 2018, Jack was awarded Second Prize at the inaugural London International Choral Conducting Competition. Jack is the Music Director of Goldsmiths Choral Union and Concordia Voices. He is also the conductor of Epsom Chamber Choir. Previously Jack was an Assistant Chorus Master of the London Symphony Chorus. This role saw Jack prepare the chorus for performances of Liszt's Faust Symphony, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Britten's Spring Symphony, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, Orff’s Carmina Burana and Lucas Adam's In the Name of the Earth.
Jack is in increasing demand as a conductor and Chorus Master, both in the UK and across Europe. Recently, he has been engaged by the Hungarian National Choir, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Gothenburg Symphony Vocal Chorus, and Choeur de Radio France. 2023 sees Jack work with the Berlin Radio Choir in their International Master Class Series.
Paul Ayres was born and bred in the suburbs of London, studied music at Oxford University, and now works freelance as a composer & arranger, choral conductor & musical director, and organist & accompanist. His works have been awarded prizes in composition competitions in Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the USA, and he has received over one hundred commissions from musical groups of all shapes and sizes.
Most of Paul's output is choral, vocal, small-scale instrumental, and music for theatre. He genuinely finds as much joy in writing a very simple arrangement of, say, a nursery rhyme for beginner violinists as in constructing a large-scale score for professional performers. A particular creative interest of Paul’s is exploring the interplay between popular styles and baroque/classical forms, and his works frequently use cross-reference, numerical patterns, and humour.
Paul conducts City Chorus and Questors Choir, accompanies Concordia Voices and Harrow Choral Society, and is a frequent deputy with many other choral ensembles in the London area. He enjoys leading music workshops with children, playing keyboards for improvised comedy shows, and devising cryptic crosswords.
Concordia Voices started life as The Apocalypse Singers having been founded in 2000 by Christopher Hodges, a former New College, Oxford Choral Scholar who went on to sing with The Clerkes of Oxenford and then with The Sixteen, of which he remains a Trustee.
The choir was renamed Concordia Voices in 2003 at the time of Neil Ferris's appointment as Musical Director. Neil was a choral scholar at Royal Holloway, University of London and has a Master’s degree in Performance Studies from the Royal College of Music, where he specialised in conducting.
After eight rewarding years of development for the choir, Neil was succeeded by William Petter in September 2011 and an exciting new phase in the choir's history began. William started his singing life as a chorister at New College, Oxford, under the direction of Edward Higginbottom and completed his postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music, for which he gained the highest award, distinction with DipRAM.
The choir has been fortunate to have excellent accompanists, all of whom have taken rehearsals from time to time. Christopher Cromar was the first, then Alex Chaplin and currently Paul Ayres.
The choir has performed many concerts, both in southwest London, where it is based and also further afield. Highlights include two Midland Sinfonia Concert Series appearances in Alvechurch, a summer concert in St John Smith Square, singing the services at Llandaff Cathedral, a nationally reviewed Messiah in Christ Church Spitalfields and regular Advent concerts in St. Luke's Chelsea. The choir has made tours to Berlin, Caen, Paris, Brussels and Bruges. Equally important have been the concerts supporting various charities, for example, Eyes Right. Notable recent performances have been Handel's Dixit Dominus with a small chamber orchestra at the 10th anniversary concert and Brahm's Requiem, performed in the original scoring for piano duet accompaniment.
As well as singing a traditional chamber choir repertoire Concordia Voices has a keen interest in performing contemporary works and has sung works by Jonathan Dove, James MacMillan, Jonathan Rathbone, Paul Ayres, Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre, John Tavener and Patrick Larley. In 2005 the choir gave the London premiere of Naji Hakim's Messe Solennelle and in 2009, the first performance of a specially commissioned piece by Paul Spicer.
Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms in March 2016 was William's last concert with the choir. William gave the choir nearly five years of inspirational and enjoyable music-making which was exceedingly rewarding and beneficial for the choir.
During the autumn 2016, Jack Apperley was appointed musical director for the choir and took up his position early in 2017.