Libera (choir)

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Libera in concert, July 2015
Background information
Also known asAngel Voices
OriginLondon, England
GenresClassical crossover
Years active1995–present
LabelsWarner Classics, EMI Classics, IHM/Libera Music

Libera is an all-boy English vocal group founded by the late Robert Prizeman.[1] Libera performs concerts in many countries, including the UK, the US and throughout Asia, and often makes recordings for their own album releases and other projects.

Many members also sing in the parish choir of St. Philip's, Norbury, in South London.[2] According to a 2009 Songs of Praise TV special, the group usually consists of approximately 40 members between the ages of seven and 16, including new members who are not yet ready to fully participate in albums or tours.[3] The group recruits from a variety of backgrounds in the London area,[1] and does not require its members to belong to any specific denomination.[2]

In addition to recording albums, touring and making TV appearances as Libera, the group sings on a weekly basis as part of the full choir of men and boys at parish choral services.[2] Libera is run as a not-for-profit registered UK charity,[1] "providing the opportunity for suitable boys to train as vocalists from any background". Members do not get paid for their work within Libera, but their expenses are covered when touring.[4]

The group's name comes from its signature song, "Libera", which is based on the "Libera Me" portion of the Requiem Mass.[which?] Libera is the Latin singular imperative of liberare, meaning "to free".


The Anglican (High Church) parish of St Philip's, Norbury has a long choral tradition. Their first non-traditional commercial work was in 1984, when the boys of the St Philip's Choir backed Sal Solo on his song "San Damiano". In 1987, the boys of St Philip's Choir released the single, "Sing Forever". In 1988, the choir released the single "Adoramus". In 1988, the choir released their first full commercial album, Sing For Ever under the name St Philip's Choir. The title track for this album was chosen by the BBC as the first Children in Need telethon anthem.

The second album, New Day, released in 1990, was the first album to use the name Angel Voices. During the 1990s, the names "St Philip's Boy Choir" and "Angel Voices" were both used to refer to the choir. The third album, Angel Voices, was released in 1992. It was re-released in 1993, with the choir referred to as the St Philip's Boy's Choir. Angel Voices 2 was released in 1996 and Angel Voices 3 was released in 1997. Both were released under the name of St Philip's Boy's Choir, by the record label MCI.[5][better source needed][6]

In 1999, Robert Prizeman released a single and a CD, Libera. The CD contained seven remixes of his original song, "Libera". The first four tracks feature Libera with Daren Geraghty as the main soloist; the last 3 tracks are performed by other artists.[7] In the same year, the choir, calling itself Libera, performed the song on the TV programme Sunday Live. In 1999, the choir released another album entitled Libera, published by Warner Classics. From that point on, the choir has been consistently referred to as "Libera" when acting in its commercial capacity. The next Libera album, Luminosa, was released by Warner Classics in 2001. In 2003, Warner Classics re-released Libera and Luminosa as a two CD set entitled Complete Libera. In 2004, Libera signed a contract with EMI. Their first EMI album was Free. Visions came out in 2005. Libera's 2006 album, Angel Voices, was nominated as Album of the Year by the Classical Brit Awards. New Dawn was released in March 2008.[8] In December 2008, they released their first double CD entitled Eternal (The best of Libera) which contains 26 tracks taken from earlier albums and six new tracks. Their album Peace was released in 2010. November 2011 saw the release of Libera: The Christmas Album. Libera remained under contract with EMI until its acquisition by Warner Music Group in 2013. While contracted to WMG the group made two DVDs and released soundtrack CDs before entering a partnership with the independent label Invisible Hands Music in 2016, with whom they have released 6 physical CDs and a Digital Album during the 2020 pandemic.

Libera as a charity[edit]

Libera became a registered charity in 2009 under the guidance of the late Steven Philipp (whose son Ben was a soloist in the choir).[9] A US arm of that charity was set up in 2014.

Television appearances and concerts[edit]

As Angel Voices, the group made frequent appearances on UK television, mostly on the BBC. During the earlier years as Libera, the group seldom made any TV appearances and concerts were also few and far between. It is only since the group turned into a registered charity in the UK, where a board of trustees consisting largely of parents of members makes all decisions, that Libera have made regular tours (usually three times a year) and more frequent TV appearances.

Major roles in the 1992 TV programme Titchmarsh on Song, presented by Alan Titchmarsh, and the 1993 TV programme Thora on the Straight and Narrow, introduced Angel Voices to a wider public.[10] The show featured the first public performance of the song "De Profundis", which would become "Libera" and give the choir its name. Libera has made numerous music videos for Songs of Praise and Classic FM TV. Other TV appearances include guest spots on GMTV, Blue Peter, Sunday Live, Christmas Cooks, Top of the Pops, Wogan, and Last Choir Standing.[11] In 1994, St. Philip's Choir sang in an episode of the TV series Poirot. In 2003, Libera was the last act to perform on the UK version of the famous TV series This is your Life; they performed for guest Aled Jones. During the episode, it was mentioned that Libera had performed at Aled Jones' wedding. In February 2007, Libera appeared on the television contest When Will I Be Famous? presented by Graham Norton on BBC One. They won, and were invited back the following week.[12] Libera has made several TV appearances in Japan and Korea. Libera also recorded the signature tune for Songs of Praise. Their rendition of "How Can I Keep From Singing" was featured on a British television ad for Waitrose.

On 30 and 31 May 2007, Libera recorded two free concert performances at the Pieterskerk in Leiden, the Netherlands, with the cooperation of the American Public Television. Footage from the performances was combined to create the TV special Angel Voices: Libera in Concert. The programme was featured on Public Broadcasting Service channels in the United States and released by EMI on DVD and CD. The DVD includes a bonus feature entitled "Libera in Their Own Words", which features interviews of some of the boys.

A 35-minute special about Libera aired in January 2009 as an episode of the BBC1 TV show Songs of Praise.

On 22 December 2013, Libera were featured singing an arrangement of Silent Night in the BBC1 Songs of Praise Christmas Big Sing, recorded in the Royal Albert Hall.

See the comprehensive list of Libera's TV appearances, concerts, and other relevant data further down this page.

Supporting roles[edit]

Libera has provided choral backing to a number of artists, including Aled Jones, Björk, Luciano Pavarotti, Hayley Westenra, Peter Skellern, José Carreras, Neil Diamond, Cliff Richard, and Michael Crawford.[10][13] Libera has also sung for several film soundtracks, including Romeo + Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Shadowlands and Hannibal. A movie preview for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button uses a brief selection from one of their songs, but they do not appear in the film's final soundtrack.[14][better source needed]

Several Libera members have performed solo work outside of Libera while still members of the choir. For example, Tom Cully sang for Silence, Night and Dreams by Zbigniew Preisner,[15][16] and can be heard singing in an episode of the British television series Foyle's War.[17][18] In 2002, Libera member Steven Geraghty was a featured soloist for the soundtrack of the PlayStation 2 game Ico.[19][20][21][22] More recently, Libera member Ciaran Bradbury-Hickey helped to record the soundtrack of [Road] which is a short film about motorbike racing. Former Libera member Ben Crawley did solo work for Paul Joyce's production of The Snow Queen in 2004.[23][24][25]



Libera has a distinctive sound. All of its singers are boys, most with unchanged boy soprano (also known as treble) voices, with those boys in their early teens singing the lowest parts.[2] Almost all their songs are either new compositions by Robert Prizeman or new arrangements of classical and contemporary tunes. Prizeman often composed and arranged pieces with individual soloists in mind, to emphasize the variety of characteristics and qualities in the boys' voices. His compositions blended innovative textures, meditative soloists and vibrant ecstatic chorus harmonies that stretch across the full range of the boys' range. Libera's music frequently combines elements of Gregorian chant, classical composers such as Debussy, Beethoven and Pachelbel, as well as contemporary pop and new age music. Some of their songs, such as "Sanctus", have appeared in different versions on several of their albums. Some more contemporary songs have been covered by the group, such as Enya's Orinoco Flow.

Most of Libera's lyrics come from traditional hymns, the Latin Rite liturgy, and contemporary songs by artists ranging from Brian Wilson and Billy Joel to Enya. However, lyrics from various poems and original lyrics are also used. For example, We are the Lost uses the poems "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae and "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon, along with a single stanza from the English hymn, "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" by Isaac Watts. While most of the Libera's original lyrics are written by Robert Prizeman, other individuals, including former Libera soloist Steven Geraghty, have also contributed new lyrics to recent albums.

Libera uses a variety of instrumentation. Robert Prizeman, Ian Tilley and Steven Geraghty play electronic keyboards, piano and organ. Steven Geraghty also played clarinet for Free, Visions and Angel Voices, and percussion for Visions and Angel Voices. All of their EMI albums feature Fiona Pears on the violin. Angel Voices: Libera in Concert has additional backing by Il Novecento Orchestra. The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra provides backing to their New Dawn album.


For most of their performances, the boys of Libera wear distinctive white hooded robes based on monastic cowls.[1] The boys can be seen wearing the robes on the covers of several albums.[26] Other Libera uniforms include white or black hoodies and black slacks with light blue shirts.[1] Some of their videos have featured the boys wearing ordinary, casual clothing.[27]

Cover art[edit]

Common motifs in the cover art of the choir's albums include birds, clouds, light as well as pictures of the choristers. The 2017 release of Hope adapts this theme using a line drawing of robed choristers, and this theme has been refined through subsequent releases..

The 1993 release of Angel Voices, Angel Voices 2, Angel Voices 3, Libera, Luminosa and Welcome to Libera's World all feature white birds (presumably doves, the bird of peace) on their covers. Sing Forever, the 1992 release of Angel Voices, Angel Voices: Libera in Concert and New Dawn show several of the boys dressed in white robes. Free and Visions both show a single, ghostly figure in white robes against a cloudy background. On album Free the ghostly figure featured is Callum Payne. The 2006 Angel Voices album shows several boys wearing what appear to be white hoodies.[6]



  • "Sing For Ever" (1987)
  • "Adoramus" (1988)
  • "Libera" (1995)
  • "Salva Me" (1999)
  • "Love and Mercy" (2008)
  • "Lead, Kindly light" (2010)
  • "What a Wonderful World" (2015)
  • "America the Beautiful" (2015)
  • "The Moon Represents My Heart" (2017)[28]


As Angel Voices:

  • Sing For Ever (1988), featuring Jaymi Bandtock, Jonathan Arthey, Ian Grimley, Sam Harper, Gareth Lowman and Mathew Arthey as vocal soloists.
  • New Day (1990), featuring Robert Chee-A-Tow, Jaymi Bandtock and Gareth Lowman as vocal soloists.
  • Angel Voices (1992), featuring Oliver Putland, Daren Geraghty and Anthony Maher as vocal soloists.
  • Angel Voices 2 (1996), featuring Chris Baron, Daren Geraghty, Liam O'Kane as vocal soloists.
  • Peace on Earth (1996)
  • Angel Voices 3 (1997), featuring Liam O'Kane, Steven Geraghty, Adam Harris, Chris Baron and Alex Baron as vocal soloists.

As Libera:

  • Libera (1995) There are seven tracks on this Disc Libera mixes, (Mercury Records Ltd.) London
  • Libera (1999), featuring Liam O'Kane, Adam Harris, Steven Geraghty, Alex Baron as vocal soloists. No instrumentalists are credited on the album, however Robert Prizeman did the keyboard work.[citation needed]
  • Luminosa (2001), featuring Steven Geraghty, Ben Crawley, Sam Coates, Simon Beston as vocal soloists.
  • Complete Libera (2003), two disc set with Libera and Luminosa.
  • Free (2004), featuring Ben Crawley, Joseph Platt, Christopher Robson, Anthony Chadney and Raoul Neumann as vocal soloists, and Robert Prizeman, Fiona Pears, Dominic Kelly, Steven Geraghty, Chris Dodd, Ian Tilley and Helen Cole as instrumentalists.
  • Visions (2005), featuring Tom Cully, Conor O'Donnell, Michael Horncastle, Joseph Sanders-Wilde, Callum Payne, James Vereycken as vocal soloists and Robert Prizeman as director, conductor and instrumentalist. Other instrumentalists included Ian Tilley, Fiona Pears, John Anderson, Steven Geraghty and Chris Dodd.
  • Welcome to Libera's World (2006), featuring Joseph Platt, Ben Crawley, Liam O'Kane, Michael Horncastle and Joseph Sanders-Wilde as vocal soloists, and Robert Prizeman, Fiona Pears, John Anderson, Steven Geraghty, Chris Dodd, Ian Tilley as instrumentalists. The album was released only in Japan. Most of the tracks are re-released from the earlier albums. It includes only one new track, "Far Away".
  • Angel Voices (2006), featuring Michael Horncastle, Ed Day, Connor O'Donnell, Tom Cully, Joshua Madine, Joseph Platt, Christopher Robson, Anthony Chadney, Joseph Sanders-Wilde and James Vereycken as vocal soloists, and Robert Prizeman, Fiona Pears, John Anderson, Steven Geraghty, Chris Dodd and Ian Tilley on various instruments.
  • Angel Voices: Libera in Concert (2007), featuring Joshua Madine, Ben Philipp, Tom Cully, Ed Day, Liam Connery, Sam Leggett and Joe Snelling as vocal soloists, and Robert Prizeman, Fiona Pears, Steven Geraghty, Il Novecento Orchestra as instrumentalists.
  • New Dawn (2008), featuring Tom Cully, Joshua Madine, Ed Day, Liam Connery, Joe Snelling and Benedict Philipp as vocal soloists. Robert Prizeman, Fiona Pears, Ian Tilley, Steven Geraghty, Sam Coates and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra filled instrumental roles.
  • Prayer: You Were There (2008), with Tom Cully, Ed Day, Joshua Madine, Liam Connery, Ben Crawley, Joseph Sanders-Wilde, Joseph Platt, Christopher Robson and Anthony Chadney as vocal soloists. The album was released only in Japan. Most of the tracks are re-released from the earlier albums.
  • Eternal: The Best of Libera (2009), a two disk compilation album with a mix of old and new songs.
  • Peace (2010), featuring Benedict Philipp, Joshua Madine, Tom Cully, Stefan Leadbeater, James Threadgill, Jakob De Menezes-Wood, Daniel Fontannaz, James Mordaunt and Ralph Skan as vocal soloists. The album was also released in a DeLuxe Edition.
  • Miracle of Life (2011) was released only in Japan. "Song of Life" was used in a Japanese television drama.[29][30]
  • The St. Philip's Boys Choir: The Best of Angel Voices (2011), a compilation of songs from Angel Voices (1992) and Angel Voices 2 (1996), from the time period from before the choir became known as Libera.
  • Libera: The Christmas Album (2011), a Christmas album, also released in a deluxe edition and Japan edition under the name Winter Songs.
  • Angel Voices 2012, a special compilation CD for the Japanese market, was released for the April 2012 Spring Tour in Singapore and Japan.
  • Song of Life: A Collection (2012), featuring a new song, "Song of Life", and songs from Free (2004), Visions (2005), Angel Voices (2006), Eternal (2008), New Dawn (2008), and Peace (2010).
  • Angels Sing: Christmas in Ireland (2013), a live concert recording of Libera's performance at the Armagh Cathedral.
  • Angels Sing: Libera in America (2015), a live concert recording of Libera's performance at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C., US in August 2014.
  • Libera at Christmas (2016), featuring songs "Hymn To Mary" and "Santa Will Find You", and three re-recorded songs from Angels Sing: Christmas in Ireland (2013).
  • Hope (2017), featuring a large number of brand new tracks and some older ones redone.
  • Beyond (2018), featuring songs "In Paradisum" and renewed versions of "Sanctus", "Voca Me", and "Salve Regina". It has 11 tracks and was released 12 October 2018.[31]
  • Christmas Carols with Libera (2019)
  • If (2021)
  • Forever (2022), the first release without the group's founder Robert Prizeman at the helm.

Movie soundtracks[edit]

Supporting roles on albums and singles[edit]

As Angel Voices:

As Libera:

Concerts and appearances[edit]

Since becoming a registered charity in the UK, Libera has made numerous appearances on TV, radio, and in concert.



















2022 Libera at Ely Cathedral - May 2022.


  1. ^ a b c d e Ross, Daniel (12 March 2010), Libera Peace Review, BBC
  2. ^ a b c d Harris, Bryan (May 2006). "St. Philips, Norbury ... and the phenomenon that is Libera" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Libera". Songs of Praise. 25 January 2009. BBC One.
  4. ^ "Aleteia--The boys of Libera sing with angelic voices". 3 July 2017.
  5. ^[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b "Ian Tilley | Discography". Archived from the original on 18 November 2008.[self-published source]
  7. ^ "503 Service Temporarily Unavailable".
  8. ^ "Beyond". Libera. 15 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Charity overview". Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  10. ^ a b[better source needed][dead link]
  11. ^ "Last Choir Standing". IMDb. 5 July 2008.
  12. ^ "Christmas Carols with Libera". Libera. 25 September 2019.
  13. ^ "About Libera". Libera. 9 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Soundtracks for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". IMDb. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
  15. ^ "Silence Night & Dreams". Amazon. 18 September 2007.
  16. ^ Audition, Audiophile (18 September 2007). "ZBIGNIEW PREISNER: Silence, Night & Dreams - Teresa Salgueiro, voice/ Tom Cully, boy soprano/ Aukso Orchestra cond. by Marek Mos/Camerata Silesia dir. by Anna Szostak - EMI Classics". Archived from the original on 14 September 2015.
  17. ^ "Tom Cully".
  18. ^ "Masterpiece - Foyle's War: Series V - PBS". PBS.
  19. ^ "Текст песни, слова песни ICO – You were there –".
  20. ^ Sahui, Peter (2 July 2012). "Musical Monday: "You Were There" (Ico), composed by Michiru Oshima".
  21. ^ "Save Money corner tv stands".
  22. ^ "Melody light comfort that invites the ultimate healing of hard Romantic. ... Released Soon!" (in Japanese). HMV. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 19 November 2008. 大島ミチルが手掛けたゲーム・サントラICO霧の中の旋律ではLiberaリベラのヴォーカリストSteven Geraghtyスティーブン・ガラティがヴォーカルで参加" – "Oshima Michiru who managed the game soundtrack for ICO with vocals by Steven Geraghty of Libera
  23. ^ "The Snow Queen [RCA] - Various Artists - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  24. ^ "The Snow Queen [RCA]".
  25. ^ "The Snow Queen Pictures - The Snow Queen Stills. Movie Set Photos. Movie Posters. Red Carpet Photos".
  26. ^ "About Libera - Libera Official Website". 9 September 2016.
  27. ^ "Libera - Santa Will Find You". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  28. ^ "The Moon Represents My Heart - 月亮代表我的心 - Single by Libera" – via
  29. ^ "NHK Drama 'Madonna Verde' OST TV Original Soundtrack CD Album". CDJapan.
  30. ^ "Coming Soon - Libera Mini-Album 'Miracle of Life' - Libera Official Website". Archived from the original on 8 July 2013.
  31. ^ "Beyond – Libera". 15 August 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  32. ^ a b "C Music TV - Artists - LIBERA".
  33. ^ "Home page | Warnerclassics".
  34. ^ "Christmas at Downton Abbey - Warner Music TV". Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  35. ^ "BBC - When Will I Be Famous? - Contestants".
  36. ^ "Libera - Angel Voices Live In Concert". Amazon UK. 24 November 2008.
  37. ^ evolutionboi (20 April 2008). "Libera Sanctus Yankee Stadium!!! Concert of Hope!!!". Archived from the original on 21 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  38. ^ "Aled Jones - Christmas Carols". Amazon UK. 1 December 2008.
  39. ^ "Libera, Songs of Praise - BBC One".
  40. ^ "J Arthur Rank, Songs of Praise - BBC One".
  41. ^ "50th Birthday Celebration, Songs of Praise - BBC One".
  42. ^ "St. George's Cathedral Concert Archive". 25 November 2011.
  43. ^ "God Made Man, Songs of Praise - BBC One".
  44. ^ "Live with Gabby - Carol of the Bells". 15 December 2011.
  45. ^ "22/12/2011, The Chris Evans Breakfast Show - BBC Radio 2".
  46. ^ "Palm Sunday, Songs of Praise - BBC One".
  47. ^ "Announcing our Spring Tour - Libera Official Website". Archived from the original on 17 February 2012.
  48. ^ "Arundel 2012 Concert Archive". 5 May 2012.
  49. ^ "Libera on Japanese TV show". 15 July 2012.
  50. ^[dead link]
  51. ^ Ave Maria - Franz Schubert (concert in Washington, D.C.); Libera Official, 2015 (Youtube).
  52. ^ "Premier Concert in Moscow - Libera Official Website". Archived from the original on 3 January 2015.
  53. ^ a b "Concert Calendar - Libera Official Website". 6 October 2016.
  54. ^ Nearer My God to Thee (concert, 3 August 2018); Libera Official, 2018 (YouTube).
  55. ^ "A Christmas Concert in Brighton". Libera. 14 October 2018.
  56. ^ "Libera in Moscow". Libera. 20 August 2018.
  57. ^ "Friendship Tour to the Philippines". Libera. 13 November 2019.
  58. ^ "A Concert in Arundel". Libera. 13 November 2019.
  59. ^ "Libera in the US 2019". Libera. 13 November 2019.
  60. ^ "Christmas with Libera". Libera. 13 November 2019.
  61. ^ "Online Mini Concert". Libera. 6 June 2020. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  62. ^ "Libera in London". Libera. 6 December 2020.
  63. ^ "Libera in London 2021". Libera. 5 December 2021.

External links[edit]