New Artistic Director and Conductor of The Exon Singers
The Exon Singers are delighted to announce the appointment of Joseph Judge as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Exon Singers.
Joe has sung counter-tenor with the choir for the last several years whilst developing his conducting career. He will conduct his first Festival in Tavistock from Tuesday 31 July to Sunday 5 August 2018. This year’s Festival marks the 700th anniversary of St Eustachius Church, and we will open the Festival with Parry and Handel anthems joined by the Exon Festival Chorus.
Joe takes over from Richard Wilberforce who has conducted the choir for the last 6 years, and has now moved to Paris. We are very grateful to Richard for some wonderful music making together, and for introducing the Exon Festival Chorus. Richard’s last engagement with the choir was a recording of music by Toby Young in January 2018, which we expect to be issued later this year.
Joe says of his appointment:
“It’s a real privilege to be given this opportunity to continue the exceptional standard of music making that the Exon Singers Festival annually brings to the South West. I am so looking forward to directing the Exon Singers, who seem shy of almost nothing in the choral repertoire, and to take a lead role in shaping the Exon Festival, which showcases many talented musicians, from soloists to chamber ensembles, frequent collaborations with orchestras, and live BBC Radio broadcasts. I find it particularly exciting that the Festival has also been responsible for offering many outstanding young professional musicians performance opportunities at the highest level, whether as a member of the Exon Singers, or as part of a visiting chamber ensemble or orchestra. Equally, it attracts well-known Guest Artists, and regularly commissions new music and the work of particular composers through the Composer-in-Residence scheme. It is also excellent that there is a chance for many of the local community to get involved and sing with the Exon Festival Chorus, as part of a fun and engaging Singing Day and then to experience a concert performance alongside the Exon Singers. All of these things are going to make planning and programming for the Exon Festival 2018 a real joy, so do keep in touch for further announcements!”
Secretary of the Exon Singers, Graham Wood, says:
“We’re delighted to welcome Joe as our new Conductor. We had a very strong field of candidates, 6 of whom we interviewed and auditioned. Joe impressed the choir and the committee with his musicianship and his enthusiasm for and commitment to the choir and the Festival. This year’s Festival will be an important one as we help to celebrate the 700th anniversary of St Eustachius church in Tavistock. We look forward to sharing exciting plans with you in the coming weeks.”
Joseph is in demand as a Countertenor, frequently engaged as an oratorio soloist. He was one of the eight inaugural Fellows of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB), performing as part of an elite vocal octet throughout the UK and in Malta, Shanghai and Hong Kong. He continues to sing and work with many ensembles, including Siglo de Oro, Armonico Consort and Westminster Abbey Choir. He studies with Nick Powell, and has participated in masterclasses given by James Gilchrist, Harry Christophers CBE, Neil Ferris, and Lucy Schaufer.
Joseph has worked with Leeds Philharmonic Chorus, Hallé Youth Choirs, St George’s Singers, Gorton Philharmonic Orchestra, as music staff on NYCGB Courses and adjudicator for Jersey Music Service’s PwC Young Musician of the Year, directed the vocal recording session for the PlayStation 4 advert, The King, and conducted in the Bridgewater Hall as part of the Thank Hallé It’s Friday series. He is the founder and director of Turton Consort, who often broadcast live on BBC Radio and whose performances have included a highly acclaimed recital of Monteverdi Madrigals at St Ann’s Church, Manchester, and at the Whitworth Art Gallery for the opening of the Marcantonio Raimondi exhibition.
The Exon Singers, founded in 1966, is recognised as one of the UK’s leading chamber choirs.
The choir broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 3 and has made a number of highly acclaimed recordings for Albany, ASV, Delphian, Regent and Rubicon Classics record labels. Under the direction of Matthew Owens and Richard Wilberforce the choir has received recognition through commissioning new works from some of the UK’s most exciting composers—Richard Allain, David Briggs, Brian Chapple, Robin Holloway, Grayston Ives, Francis Jackson, Gabriel Jackson, George Lloyd, Matthew Martin, Philip Moore, Joseph Phibbs, Howard Skempton, Philip Wilby and Toby Young, and the US composer Gary Davison. The Exon Singers’ most recent CD
Before the Ending of the Day celebrates these commissions in a sequence of music for Choral Evening Prayer. BBC Music Magazine said “A superb choir marks its 50th anniversary in style with this disc of music that it has commissioned over the years. Even choral buffs will find new discoveries here… exquisitely sung.”
Since 1973, the annual Exon Singers’ Festival has been centred in the historic market town of Tavistock on the edge of Dartmoor, based in the town’s beautiful parish church of St Eustachius, and at Buckfast Abbey. The choir’s festival performances include the Oxford Festival of Contemporary Music and the Edinburgh Festival, as well as concerts in St John’s College, Cambridge, Gloucester Cathedral, Wells Cathedral and at venues in London, Winchester, Salisbury and Belfast.