About Us
The Northampton Bach Choir
The Northampton Bach Choir is one of the foremost choruses in the region, and the largest choir in the county, numbering some 130 singers.

It owes its formation to Denys Pouncey, a former organist of St Matthew's Church, giving its first concert there on Palm Sunday 1935. During its time it has nurtured a series of young, enthusiastic, not to say visionary, musical directors, many of whom have gone on to forge careers of national and international significance. The most recent musical director Lee Dunlevy stepped down in Autumn 2022 to follow a new career in the priesthood. The choir enjoyed a year of guest conductors and now is pleased to welcome Simon Toyne as the new musical director from September 2023.

St Matthew's Church, with its great history of sponsoring music and the arts, continues to be the choir's home, but for many years it has given one concert a year at the Derngate concert hall, often with one of the major visiting orchestras. The choir has performed with the Hague Philharmonic under Ivan Fischer, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Edward Warren, the Czech Philharmonic under Ivan Fischer, and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Andrew Litton. In recent years it has formed a regular partnership with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra singing with Tolga Kashif and Owain Arwel Hughes, amongst others.

In addition to regular tours to its twin towns of Poitiers in France, and Marburg in Germany, the choir has sung at the Papal Basilica di San Pietro in Rome, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Paris, and in 2017 it sang in the Basilica di San Marco in Venice. Closer to home it regularly sings Choral Evensong in notable Cathedrals such as St Paul's Cathedral (for the third time in 2023), St George's Chapel, Windsor, Worcester Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Winchester Cathedral and most recently Peterborough Cathedral, St Alban's Cathedral and Southwark Cathedral.

The choir has performed a wide range of music from the choral repertoire, ranging from the sacred music of J S Bach to Stravinsky and George Gershwin. It sang Howells Hymnus Paradisi in the presence of the composer, Berlioz Te Deum in London's Royal Albert Hall, Tolga Kashif The Queen Symphony under the baton of the composer, and over the last few years has performed Bach Magnificat and Mass in B minor, Britten A Ceremony of Carols, Duruflé Requiem, Fauré Requiem, Haydn Nelson Mass, Monteverdi Vespers, Mozart 'Great' Mass in C minor, Parry Songs of Farewell, Poulenc Gloria, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, and Verdi Requiem. The choir sings in a variety of languages, most commonly English or 'church' Latin but have also sung in French, 'German' Latin and even the Rachmaninov Vespers - All Night Vigil in Russian at two separate concerts!

To mark the choir's 75th anniversary in 2010 the choir released a recording - Congaudeat! - featuring twenty-one carols, all with a Northamptonshire connection, including eight carols written especially for the choir. Carols by Former Musical Directors Stephen Cleobury (King's College, Cambridge), Simon Johnson (St Paul's Cathedral, London) and Andrew Reid (Peterborough Cathedral) were commissioned, alongside works by the Musical Director at that time, Lee Dunleavy. This was followed by a further recording of choral classics - I was glad! - which was released in 2012, another recording of Christmas carols - Be Merry! - was launched in November 2014, and a disc of Fauré's choral music, including the Requiem - Requiem Reflections - released in 2017.

In June 2022 the choir performed The Jubilee Proms, marking the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal and Derngate Theatre. It was a memorable occasion, with a full orchestra playing rousing music to an almost full house, all waving their flags - quite a milestone in the choir's history.