Reading Bach Choir’s founder conductor was the late Simon Johnson, one of the leading choral conductors of his generation. He was succeeded by Julian Williamson in 1973, who concentrated on extending the choir’s repertoire. Sarah Tenant-Flowers took over the baton in 1992. Her seven years at the helm saw a steady rise in the choir’s standards of performance as well as a broadening of its repertoire. Both she and her successor, Mark Shepherd (1999) introduced the choir to a variety of lesser known secular and sacred works ranging from the Renaissance to the 20th century.
JanJoost van Elburg took up his appointment in November 2003 and during the following 6 1/2 years the choir flourished and prospered with many highly acclaimed performances. His knowledge of vocal technique and ability to communicate it to he choir, together with an immense attention to detail, always driving for perfection, meant the standard of performances improved hugely. This, combined with highly imaginative programming, often including rarely performed yet delightful works, led to a steady growth in audience and choir numbers. The whole choir was delighted when JanJoost accepted the position of President when he stood down as Music Director.
Matthew Hamilton, a highly talented musician in the early stages of his professional career became Reading Bach Choir’s 7th Music Director in March 2010. Although Matthew is still completing his musical studies, he has already worked with some of the UK’s and Europe’s leading choral conductors. This appointment is the start of a very exciting new chapter in the choir’s history.