Faculty

Dr Edward Wickham
Artistic Director, and Director of Music at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge

Dr Edward Wickham was appointed Director of Music at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge in 2003 and later became Fellow and Director of Studies in Music. In 2008 he formed the St Catharine’s Girls’ Choir, the first and only college-based choir for girls in the country.   He is also the Director of Gramophone Award-winning vocal group The Clerks.

Dr Wickham has been an Affiliate Lecturer at the Faculty of Music in Cambridge since 2006, where he delivers courses on Late Medieval and Renaissance music and its notation. He is Course Director of the MMus in Choral Studies, and chairs a working party on Choral Outreach.  His current research interest entails the examination of modes of text understanding and intelligibility within a range of choral repertories.

Educated at Oxford and King’s College, London, where he received his PhD for a study in 15th century sacred music, Dr Wickham has throughout his career maintained a busy schedule both as conductor and academic. Soon after leaving Oxford he established the vocal ensemble The Clerks, with which he has made over two dozen recordings, and received many plaudits including the Gramophone Early Music Award. As director of The Clerks, his recordings and performances of Renaissance repertoire have made a significant contribution to the understanding and appreciation of composers such as Ockeghem, Obrecht and Josquin Des Prez; and their innovative performances from manuscript facsimiles (notably a late-night BBC Proms performance) have done much to illuminate issues of period performance in Renaissance polyphony. He is equally engaged with contemporary music, commissioning new work from composers as diverse as Christopher Fox, Joanna Marsh, Robert Saxton and Stevie Wishart.

Dr Wickham is much in demand as a choral coach, and has given workshops and masterclasses throughout the UK, USA and Europe; he was also for several years a guest conductor at the Tokyo Cantat Festival. He is a committed advocate of choral outreach, and is the founder and Artistic Director of The Oxford and Cambridge Singing School, which runs vacation singing courses for children in London, Cambridge and Oxford. With The Clerks he has run many collaborations with schools, most notably with the Tower Hamlets Music Education Service, resulting in performances at the Spitalfields Festival and in Cambridge.

Graham Ross
Director of Music, Clare College

Meet Graham Ross in Clare Chapel here.

Graham Ross has established an exceptional reputation as a sought-after conductor and composer of a very broad range of repertoire. He is co-founder and Principal Conductor of The Dmitri Ensemble and Director of Music and Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, with whom his performances around the world and his extensive discography have earned consistently high praise. In demand as a regular guest conductor of other ensembles in the UK and abroad, recent collaborations have included London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, BBC Singers, BBC Concert Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, Purcell School, and Australian Chamber Orchestra. Highlights in the 2022/23 season include return engagements to BBC Singers, London Mozart Players, Aalborg Symfoniorkester, DR Vokal Ensemblet, and Salomon Orchestra, and debuts with Music in the Round, Gothenberg Symphony Orchestra, Tallis Vocalis in Hong Kong, and concerts with the Choir of Clare College across the UK and overseas in Denmark, the Netherlands, and the USA. At the age of 25 he made his BBC Proms and Glyndebourne debuts, with other opera work taking him to Jerusalem, London, Aldeburgh and Provence. He has conducted and recorded world premières of a wide spectrum of composers, including James MacMillan, Judith Bingham, Giles Swayne, Vaughan Williams, Imogen Holst, Nico Muhly, Brett Dean, Lydia Kakabadse and Matthew Martin. He has conducted more than twenty albums and since 2011 he has recorded exclusively for Harmonia Mundi, including a highly-acclaimed series of music for the church year. His latest album Ice Land: The Eternal Music is was released in 2022. As a composer commissions have included BBC Concert Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra, O Duo, Park Lane Group, Wigmore Hall and the Solstice Quartet. As an animateur and through outreach work he has conducted projects in Tower Hamlets, Wigmore Hall, English National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and overseas in Nigeria, Palestine, across Europe and the USA. He is founder and Artistic Director of Singers Abroad, running annual courses for singers of all ages, and a Trustee and Patron of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music. He is a regular contibutor on BBC Radio, including as a recent guest presenter of Inside Music. In 2021 he was made an Honorary Fellow the University of Macau, where he was presented with a Half Moon Award for the Arts in 2019. He studied music at Clare College, Cambridge and conducting at the Royal College of Music, London. He held a conducting scholarship with the London Symphony Chorus, has served as assistant conductor for Vladimir Juroswki, Diego Masson, Sir Roger Norrington and Nicholas Collon, and acted as Chorus Master for Sir Colin Davis, Sir Mark Elder, Ivor Bolton, Edward Gardner, Richard Tognetti and Lars Ulrik Mortensen.

Dr David Skinner
Director of Music, Sidney Sussex College

Meet David Skinner in Sidney Sussex College Chapel here.

Dr David Skinner is Fellow and Osborn Director of Music at Sidney Sussex College, and artistic director of the early music ensemble Alamire.

His research has centred around music institutions, manuscripts and composers of 16th-century Europe, and is particular specialism is music and the Reformation in England. A large portion of his doctoral thesis was published in the Roxburghe Club volume The Arundel Choirbook (Arundel: Duke of Norfolk, 2003), and he has since published a number of music editions, facsimile volumes, and articles. as well as more than 30 commercial recordings (awards including Gramophone, BBC Music, Limelight, Times CD of the Year, and others). Dr Skinner’s recent publications include The Anne Boleyn Music Book: Facsimile with Introduction, DIAMM Facsimiles 6 (London: Royal College of Music, 2017), and ‘‘Deliuer me from my deceytful ennemies’: A Tallis Contrafactum in Time of War’, Early Music (Oxford University Press, 2017). The latter project, in which Queen Catherine Parr was identified as the author of a contrafact of Tallis’s grandest antiphon Gaude gloriosa dei mater, received wide media coverage including all major broadsheets, BBC 4 Today Programme and BBC Breakfast News. As a presenter he has worked extensively for BBC radio, appearing in and writing a variety of shows on Radio 3 and 4. He acted as music advisor for the Music and Monarchy series on BBC 2 with David Starkey, and was Music Consultant for the recent BBC4 documentary on the history of Evensong with Lucy Worsley. He is currently completing a new edition of Tallis’s Latin church music for Early English Church Music (Stainer & Bell).

Dr Simon Jackson
Director of Music, Peterhouse

Dr Simon Jackson is Director of Music at Peterhouse and a Bye-Fellow of the College. Alongside his position at Peterhouse, he is also Organist and Director of Music at the neighbouring Church of Little St Mary’s, which served as Peterhouse’s chapel until the current building was consecrated in the 1630s. Simon is a former member of the choirs of York Minster, Peterborough Cathedral and Jesus College, Cambridge, and in addition to his musical activities, he leads an active academic career. He has recently completed a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Warwick, and his research examines the relationship between poetry and music in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His doctoral thesis, exploring the literary and musical activities of the poet-priest George Herbert, won the George Herbert Society Chauncey Wood Prize, and a recent article won the English Literary Renaissance award in 2015.

Sarah MacDonald
Director of Music at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and Director of the Girl Choristers at Ely Cathedral

Sarah MacDonald is a Fellow and Director of Music at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and Director of the Girl Choristers at Ely Cathedral. A Canadian organist, conductor, pianist, and composer, she has been at Selwyn since 1999, and is the first woman to hold such a post in an Oxbridge Chapel. She studied piano, organ, and conducting at The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould School in Toronto with Leon Fleisher, Marek Jablonski, and John Tuttle. She continued her studies as Organ Scholar of Robinson College, Cambridge, where she read for a degree in Music, and studied the organ with David Sanger.  

 Sarah has played numerous recitals and conducted choirs on tours throughout the UK, North America, the Middle East, New Zealand, and mainland Europe. She has made over 40 recordings, variously in the guises of pianist, organist, conductor, and producer. She works most frequently with Regent Records, with whom she has made 15 single-living-composer recordings with Selwyn Choir and the Ely girls.

Sarah is a winner of the Royal College of Organists’ (RCO) coveted Limpus Prize, and has taught organ and conducting for Eton Choral Courses, Oundle for Organists, the Jennifer Bate Organ Academy, and courses run by the RCO. For its first decade, she was a Director of the annual Girl Chorister Course at St Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York City, and she is in demand as a guest conductor for international residential courses run by the RSCM and other organisations.

Sarah holds the Fellowship diploma of the RCO, and is an Examiner for the RCO. She teaches conducting, harmony, counterpoint, fugue, and composition for Cambridge University, where she is also an Examiner. She has had over 40 choral compositions published by Encore Publications, the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), August Press, and St James Music Press, and is series editor for the “Sarah MacDonald Choral Series” with Selah Publishing, featuring liturgical choral works by female composers. Sarah also writes a popular monthly column for the American Guild of Organists’ magazine The American Organist, called ‘UK Report’

In 2018 Sarah received the honorary ARSCM in recognition of her contribution to choral music in the UK and Canada, and the citation made particular mention of her support of contemporary British composers. She is an Honorary Patron of the Herbert Howells Society, and a Patron of the Society of Women Organists. In her spare time, she is a keen amateur photographer.

Sarah MacDonald

Drew Sellis
Organ Scholar, Jesus College

Drew Sellis is the Senior Organ Scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he is in his third year reading for a Music Tripos. He studies organ playing with Ann Elise Smoot and improvisation with David Briggs. His responsibilities include the accompanying of and rehearsal for the Chapel’s five sung services per week and assistance with the training of the choristers and probationers. He is also Harry Gabb Scholar and prize-winning Associate of the Royal College of Organists, achieving the highest overall mark in the country for his cohort. He has recently given recitals in Liverpool Cathedral and various Oxbridge Colleges.  

In addition to organ playing and choral direction, Drew is an experienced saxophonist and pianist in classical and jazz genres, holding an ARSM Diploma with Distinction in both. 

In his spare time, Drew enjoys perusing medieval music manuscripts, riding electric scooters, and baking.   

Christopher Too
Organ Scholar, Jesus College

Chris is in his final year at Cambridge, studying organ with Margaret Phillips alongside his music degree. He began organ lessons as a chorister at Bridlington Priory under the newly founded Dr Martin Clarke Young Organ Scholars Trust. He joined Ampleforth College with a music scholarship between 2013 and 2018, during which time he gained his ARCO. Chris subsequently spent a year as the Organ Scholar at Gloucester Cathedral under Adrian Partington where he regularly accompanied the numerous choirs of the Cathedral, as well as a number of local choral societies, and for part of the famous Three Choirs Festival.

Throughout the national lockdowns, Chris has played an integral part of the regular live streams from Jesus College, conducting and accompanying services, and providing music for the organ meditations and recitals when singing was prohibited. After graduation, Chris is looking forward to joining Salisbury Cathedral as Organ Scholar, playing for their daily services as well as assisting with the training of their choristers.

Christopher Too, Organ Scholar

Helen Groves
Vocal tutor

Helen has enjoyed a varied and high level career as a solo and ensemble singer. Solo highlights include her BBC Proms’ debut in 1996 and recitals at Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room. Her repertoire ranges from Schütz to Szymanowski, appearing with many leading orchestras abroad and in the UK – including English Chamber Orchestra, The English Concert, The Tallis Scholars, Gabrieli Consort and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Helen has lived in Cambridge for twenty years during which time she has built an extensive teaching practice, working at many of the leading University colleges. Her professional performance experience underpins her teaching, providing an invaluable perspective on the joys and frustrations of singing in a team. Helen’s teaching style is light but informative and choral scholars appreciate her uplifting and sympathetic approach.

She lives in central Cambridge with her husband and two girls and, when teaching from home, finds students arriving early for a quiet moment or two with Freddie, her calm and friendly Goldendoodle!

Rebecca Duckworth
Vocal tutor

A former Choral Scholar reading History at Christ’s College, Cambridge, Rebecca toured widely with the University Chamber Choir, making recordings for BBC television and radio and , later, singing at Salzburg, Paris and Edinburgh Festival’s with professional freelance choirs. Leading solo roles include Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Dorabella (Cosi fan Tutte), Zerlina (Don Giovanni) Gilbert and Sullivan (Duchess of Plaza Toro, Lady Psyche) and Oratorio (The Messiah, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Rossini’s  Petite Messe Solennelle). 

Rebecca is singing teacher to the choristers of  Norwich Cathedral, delivering both individual and group training. She has worked on vocal research projects with the Institute of Education and has been guest conductor at youth choir festivals .  Previously Assistant Director of Music at King’s College School, Cambridge, Rebecca is ‘Singing Animateur’  at Ely Cathedral, directing  its children’s choir, giving training and conducting performances for teachers and children; she aims to de-mystify and to practically apply vocal technique to the repertoire at hand. She enjoys coaching across a full age range both with the experienced and inexperienced singer.

Rebecca Duckworth

George Herbert
Organ Scholar, St John’s College

Born in Manchester in 2001, George’s passion for music was kindled in earnest when he started singing in Manchester Cathedral Choir aged nine. George is now the Assistant Organist at St John’s College, following three years as Organ Scholar there whilst studying German and Music. He accompanies the choir’s regular services, recordings and concerts, and assists in the training of the choristers. In 2021 he conducted St John’s College Choir in their Advent Carol Service, which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

George is now building a varied freelance career as an organist, conductor and animateur. He directs Aquila, the all-female a cappella ensemble at St John’s. He has coached on the Oxford and Cambridge Singing School and enjoys regular collaborations with groups including Kantos Chamber Choir, the Armonico Consort, and funk band Lepage-Dean. In March he played for the Manchester premiere of Bernstein’s Mass with the Royal Northern College of Music.

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