The Brixi Singers are...
Johnston (appointed June 2016)
Siobain Barnes (on sabbatical)
Officers for 2016/17:
Chair: Eleanor Hill
Secretary: Patricia Zukowskyj
Librarian: Pauline Murphy
Publicity: David Griffiths
Who are we?
The Brixi Singers were formed in 1994
as a small chamber choir in Bolton, to perform a variety of works, with a maximum number of 22 singers. This small group first
sang in a much larger concert, and the piece they chose to sing was Veni Spiritui Sancto, by a 17th century Czech composer
called Brixi. As the group became established, they took inspiration from this, and named their group after this composer!
The Brixi Singers undertake 4-6 concerts a year, and have performed many sacred and secular pieces, either alone as a group,
or in collaboration with other groups. In this way, they have been able to give small intimate performances of pieces such
as Handel's Messiah, and larger works, such as Bach's B Minor Mass, or Karl Orff's Carmina Burana. The Brixi Singers
are also much in demand for charity concerts, where a lighter programme is provided, and for weddings. In 2001, the Brixi
Singers undertook a tour of Normandy and Brittany, where the highlights were singing for the tourists on Mont St Michel, and
singing Mass in Rennes Cathedral. 2004 saw the Brixi Singers on a tour of the Czech Republic, where they sang a sacred concert
in the church of St Nicholas, in Prague's Old Town Square, and a much lighter concert in the Colonnades of the spa town
of Marianske Laszne. In 2006, the choir toured Belgium, giving a concert in the cathedral of Brussels, and having the immense
honour of singing for the daily service at dusk at the Menin Gate in Ypres. 2011 saw the group on tour in Paris, which
culminated in a concert in Notre Dame de Paris. Although Bolton in Lancashire is the home town of the Brixi Singers, the choir
has sung in places as far apart as Oxford's Merton College Chapel, the Lake District, and on BBC Radio Manchester. In
July 2014, the Brixi Singers undertook a very successful tour of concerts in the Rhine
Valley in Germany, centred on Rudesheim, including a spontaneous rendition of the Lorelei Song (in German,
of course), as we sailed past the Lorelei rock, on a cruise up the Rhine!
The Choir performs several concerts every year. These vary from light programmes to some very substantial classical
works. The "Concert Diary" page gives more details of our recent concerts.
Choir can be hired to sing at weddings. Our "Wedding Choir" page gives more details.
The Musical Director of the Brixi Singers, appointed in June 2016, is Rory Wainwright Johnston (b.1993). Rory is
a conductor, composer, tenor and pianist from Bradford-on-Avon near Bath. Rory read Music at the University of Manchester,
graduating in 2016 with a First Class degree. He is staying on at the University to work towards a MusM Masters degree in
Instrumental Composition with Camden Reeves.
During his time at as an undergraduate, Rory was heavily involved with the Music Society, conducting both the choirs
(University Chorus, Cosmo Singers and Ad Solem) and the orchestras (Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Wind Orchestra
and the New Music Ensemble) for his second and third years, culminating in a performance of Arvo Pärt’s Adam’s
Lament for Choir and String Orchestra. In his final year he was appointed the Musical Director of the University’s
Chamber Choir, Ad Solem, enjoying a successful year of concerts and recordings.
As a pianist
and tenor, Rory has performed in many capacities. A treble in the Bath Abbey Choir from 2003-2008, his last two as Head Chorister,
he re-joined the choir as a Tenor in 2011, going on to sing in live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and 4, as well as on the choirs
CD recordings. Rory studied piano with internationally renowned harpsichordist Sophie Yates from 2003-2013, with whom he studied
for his dipABRSM piano diploma. Under her tutelage Rory twice participated in piano masterclasses with Joanna MacGregor, one
of which lead to a performance of Debussy on one of Rachmaninov’s pianos held at the Holburne Museum in Bath. Whilst
at University, Rory studied piano for two years with Richard Casey, before focussing on conducting under the mentorship of
Justin Doyle and Mark Heron.