Aberdeen Youth Choir
Through the inspiration of Christopher Bell, the Aberdeen Youth Choir was formed in 1992 to give young singers from throughtout Scotland the opportunity to participate in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. 36 choristers aged between 16 and 25 were initially selected, and the Choir made its debut at the Mitchell Hall, Aberdeen, where it launched the Festival’s 1992 season to great acclaim.
The Choir expanded its activities in the 1993 and 1994 seasons, including performances of works by Grieg, Britten, Tippett, Paul Patterson, Walton, Haydn, Bernstein and Simon & Garfunkel, and was for the first time invited to record “The Daily Service” for BBC Radio 4.
At the 1995 and 1996 festivals the Choir took part in a series of workshops held by the Association of British Choral Directors as well as giving major concerts in St. Machar’s Cathedral. In both years the Choir also took part in a touring programme linked to the Festival, appearing at St. Giles’ Cathedral Edinburgh, St. George’s Chapel Windsor, Lincoln Cathedral, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and other locations. During 1996 the Choir was invited to record four programmes for BBC Radio Scotland’s “Sunday Morning” series. The programmes, entitled The Four Loves, were recorded at St. Machar’s Cathedral, Aberdeen, broadcast in December 1996, and form the basis of the choir’s debut CD on Divine Art.
From 1995 until 1999 the Choir was generously supported by Total Oil Marine plc, to whom our thanks are due for their help in sponsoring the production of their CD.
The choir was discontinued in 1999 but was reformed and currently provides a high profile and successful teaching and perfoming service to young people
Christopher Bell has appeared with many of the leading orchestras and choirs in the UK and Ireland. He has also worked in the Far East and Australia, where he currently spends each summer working and teaching. He is Chorus Master of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and was the first Artistic Director of the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union, as well as having conducted several of Britain’s leading regional opera companies.
Christopher was Director of the Aberdeen Youth Choir until 1998 and, showing his commitment to working with young people, was for seven years the conductor of the Strathclyde Schools Symphony Orchestra. He conducted Yo Yo Ma’s Children’s Concert at the London Barbican in 1995 and in 1996 realised a long-held ambition to establish a National Youth Choir of Scotland, which is already proving to be a body of formidable talent and acheivement, both in concert and recording.
John Kitchen regularly accompanies the Choir. He studied with Gillian Weir, whilst organ scholar at Clare College, Cambridge. He is now Senior Lecturer and Organist at Edinburgh University, Harpsichord Consultant to the RSAMD, director of the Edinburgh University Singers and organist of Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Edinburgh. His recordings include the complete keyboard works of 16th century Scottish composer William Kinloch, and he is a frequent broadcaster for BBC Radio.