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Belfast Cathedral Choir

Existing since 1904, when the cathedral was consecrated, the Belfast Cathedral Choir became a professional group in 2019. It has recorded and toured widely, and it often champions contemporary music. The Belfast Cathedral Choir originated with its home institution. Belfast Cathedral, often called St. Anne's and officially St. Anne's Cathedral, Belfast, was consecrated in 1904. At the time, a choir was formed, with 24 boy choristers and 24 adult men and women singers, designated sopranos, lay clerks, and choral scholars. After several stages of evolution, the Belfast Cathedral Choir became a professional group in 2019. Matthew Owens became the choir's director and continues to hold the position. A new Belfast Cathedral Children's Choir was formed at the same time. The Belfast Cathedral Choir sings at Sunday services (the 11 a.m. Eucharist service and the Evensong service at 3:30 p.m.) and at three other services during the week, as well as performing at special events through the liturgical calendar. The choir has also been heard on the BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Ulster networks. Although it performs compositions from the medieval period forward, the Belfast Cathedral Choir has been notable for its focus on new music. The group has given world premieres of works by Judith Bingham, John Joubert, and Philip Stopford. A Belfast Christmas, the Belfast Cathedral Choir's debut recording (an earlier iteration of the choir was heard on volume 22 of the Complete English Hymnal in 2005), was released on the Resonus Classics label in 2021 and featured many new compositions. An even larger engagement with contemporary music began in the fall of 2021 as Owens led world premiere performances of new works for the Cranmer Anthem Book, a project spearheaded by Owens, to commission and perform new settings of 92 collects (short prayers) from the Book of Common Prayer. Composers represented in the project included Richard Allain, Naji Hakim, and Gabriel Jackson.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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