James Day was appointed as Musical Director in January 2015; Ralph Allwood remains as our Patron. Alexander Campkin continues his association with us as Emeritus Composer, and Ben Rowarth has been our current Composer in Residence from January 2015. Read more about them elsewhere on our website.
Founding and early years
Fulham Camerata was formed in September 2007 by Hermione Ruck Keene (Choir Manager) and Christopher Wray (Music Director) as a result of their commitment to the development of singing, both amateur and professional, in the local community. The first concert given by the choir included works by the sixteenth-century Orlande de Lassus, the twentieth-century Benjamin Britten and the twenty first-century young british composer Alexander Campkin, a selection of composers which exemplifies the vision which Chris and Hermione had in setting up Fulham Camerata.
The Camerata developed and grew from a small group of barely ten people to a choir of thirty-plus amateur singers. In an important development, Ralph Allwood and Alexander Campkin became formally associated with Fulham Camerata, as Patron and Composer-in-Residence respectively. Ralph is an eminent choral director, who brings a wonderfully positive belief in the capabilities of amateur singers. Alex composes challenging works for choirs, often involving a degree of improvisation for each singer.
Repertoire tackled over the years has been extremely varied, ranging from early music to contemporary. We have sung Vivaldi and McDowall, Purcell and Britten, Palestrina and Chilcott (hear us sing here and here), Bruckner and Barber, in Latin, French, English and Italian, and we aim to continue along this diverse path. We also sing Carol services for local churches (in 2013, St Andrews Greyhound road, St Peters and Fulham Palace Chapel) and join forces with members from the Fulham and Hammersmith Choral Society to sing Carols beneath the giant tree in Trafalgar square at Christmas.
The main Camerata remains an amateur choir, non-auditioning, made up of anything from 25 to 40+ singers, men and women of all ages and all walks of life, largely local. A small Ensemble made up of young professional or semi-professional singers (four to eight singers) usually joins forces with the main choir for concerts, contributing to the enthusiasm and inspiration of all.
You can also hear us sing here:
In the summer of 2014, Christopher and Hermione decided to leave the choir as they pursued their musical careers. Luckily for the Camerata, Hannah Parry-Ridout – associated with the choir since its inception as accompanist, organist and assistant director – agreed to be our interim Music Director for Autumn 2014, leading us in three successful concerts and ensuring the continuity of the choir.
A musician of diverse talents, Hannah Parry-Ridout performs as organ soloist, accompanist and conductor throughout the UK as well as composing and teaching. Hannah’s education started at Norwich Cathedral Girls’ Choir as a chorister and continued with Ann Elise Smoot at the St Giles’ Junior Organ Conservatoire and with David Graham, Sophie-Veronique Cauchefer-Choplin and Jane Chaplin at the Royal College of Music, winning the Harold Darke Prize for Organ, culminating in Masters studies at Royal Holloway, University of London. Hannah is accompanist to Ealing Common Choir, Assistant Musical Director of Songbyrds Ladies’ Choir and Musical Director of Fulham Camerata. She is also Assistant Organist at St Mary’s Putney and Director of the Children’s Choir at the Annunciation, Marble Arch. Recent recital engagements have included St Paul’s and Norwich Cathedrals and upcoming recitals are Holy Trinity Sloane Square and The Temple Church. Hannah’s compositions for choir and organ are growing in popularity. Hannah is also one half of Duo Bombarde, a saxophone and organ duo whose remit is the performance of new and newly considered works. Duo Bombarde will be undertaking their debut tour in 2015 entitled Shifting Perspectives. See more at www.parryridout.com.