Crouch End Festival Chorus

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Crouch End Festival Chorus
Background information
OriginCrouch End, London
GenresClassical, popular music, soundtrack, film score
Years active1984 - present
LabelsSilva Screen, Silva Classics

Crouch End Festival Chorus (CEFC) is a symphonic choir based in north London which performs in a range of musical styles, including traditional choral repertoire, contemporary classical, rock, pop and film music.

Led by Musical Director David Temple, the choir has appeared in the BBC Proms concert series and has performed under the baton of conductors including Esa Pekka-Salonen, Semyon Bychkov, Edward Gardner and Valery Gergiev. CEFC also features on the sound track of films and TV series such as Disney’s Prince Caspian and the BBC’s Doctor Who.

CEFC’s patrons include the conductor Sir Mark Elder, bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, film music composers Ennio Morricone and Hans Zimmer, rock artists Ray Davies and Noel Gallagher, with whom the choir has performed live and in the recording studio and its co-founder, John Gregson.

David Temple was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List in January 2018 for his services to music.

History and Organisation[edit]

In 1984 John Gregson the Director of the then Crouch End Arts Festival, invited David Temple to become the Festivals's Music Director. John suggested that the festival should have its own choir and invited David to become its chorus master. A scratch choir of amateur singers was formed to perform Verdi’s Requiem and the choir was given the name Crouch End Festival Chorus. It went from strength to strength and over the past 35 years its membership has grown to around 150 singers who rehearse weekly in Muswell Hill and perform at venues across London including the Barbican Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and Royal Albert Hall.

CEFC is a charitable company run by a board of trustees elected by its members, with the day-to-day functions of the organisation carried out by a management committee of volunteers from the choir’s ranks. Members join the choir via a formal audition and all singers are re-auditioned every three years.

Classical Repertoire[edit]

CEFC has performed on a number of occasions in the BBC Proms series. In 2010, the chorus was invited to perform in a First Night performance of Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the BBC Symphony Chorus and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. Other Proms appearances include Verdi’s Requiem (2008), Berlioz’ Te Deum (2009), Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder (2012), the Sports Prom and Rachmaninov’s The Bells (2014), and Charles Ives’ Symphony No.4 (2015).

CEFC has also collaborated with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus to perform the War Requiem by Benjamin Britten in November 2013 under Semyon Bychkov.[1][2]

CEFC promotes and performs new and contemporary classical music. Its commissions include Orlando Gough’s Shift (2004), inspired by the composer’s fascination with the history of labour and traditional working song, two large scale choral works by James McCarthy: 17 Days (2012), which explores the emotional landscape of the Chilean mining accident of 2010, and Malala (2014), inspired by the story of Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Will Todd chose a setting of Dylan Thomas’s Rage Against the Dying of the Light for the second of four works commissioned to celebrate CEFC’s 30th Birthday in 2014. In 2015, CEFC gave the first performance of Roland Perrin's Lansky: The Mob’s Money Man, a fusion of New York and Cuban jazz and traditional Jewish Klezmer music written for jazz singer, narrator, choir and jazz orchestra.

Other presentations of works by living composers include choral music by John Adams, Philip Glass and Eric Whitacre.

In addition to supporting new music, CEFC performs traditional choral repertoire, with recent performances of Bach: Mass in B minor at baroque pitch, Mozart: Mass in C minor, Monteverdi: Vespers of 1610, Tallis: Spem in Alium, and Mahler: Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”.

Popular Music[edit]

In 2010, CEFC singers joined patron and regular collaborator Ray Davies on stage at the Glastonbury Festival performing to an audience of 50,000 people. The following year, the choir appeared again with Ray Davies in the final concert of the Meltdown Festival curated by the artist for the Royal Festival Hall. Also in 2011 came a performance with Basement Jaxx at the Barbican.

CEFC’s working relationship with Noel Gallagher began in 2008 with an Oasis gig for the BBC’s Electric Proms. After contributing to the debut album by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds in 2012, the choir toured with the band throughout the UK, and again in 2015.

Film and TV[edit]

CEFC features on a number of original film soundtracks including The Awakening (2011) and Prince Caspian (2008), as well as in music composed for the BBC’s classic sci-fi series Dr Who. Composers Hans Zimmer and Ennio Morricone have both booked CEFC to perform in live concerts of their music.


The choir has credits on more than one hundred CDs including albums by Lesley Garrett, Katherine Jenkins, Alfie Boe, and Kate Royal, and by rock and pop artists Travis, The Divine Comedy, Ray Davies, and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Ray Davies’ The Kinks Choral Collection featuring CEFC reached the UK top 30 best-selling albums in 2009 and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds achieved the top spot in the Official UK Chart in 2011.[3]

Commissioned Works[edit]

Date Composer Title
1985 Ian Lawrence African Hodie
1990 Howard Haigh Saeta
1993 John Woolrich Far From Home
1994 David Bedford I Am Going Home With Thee
1994 Simon Bainbridge Herbsttag
1994 Sally Beamish Love Is Leaping
1997 Joby Talbot Finding Silence
1998 Robert Hugill Here Be Angels
1998 Paul Patterson Hell's Angels
2000 Joby Talbot The Same Dog
2001 David Bedford The City And The Stars
2004 Orlando Gough Shift
2009 Roland Perrin Heaven On Earth
2009 Matthew Ferraro The Tension Of Opposites
2012 James McCarthy 17 Days
2014 Murray Gold ...When My Brother Fell Into The River
2014 Will Todd Rage Against The Dying Of The Light
2014 Bernard Hughes Salve Regina
2014 James McCarthy Malala
2015 Roland Perrin Lansky: The Mob's Money Man


  1. ^ David Nice, The Arts Desk, 11.11.13. Retrieved 2016-02-21
  2. ^ Colin Anderson, The Classical Source,10.11.13. Retrieved 2016-02-21
  3. ^ Archive Chart, UK Albums Chart, The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2016-02-21

External links[edit]