The Chamber Choir offers fantastic opportunities to singers who are looking to work in a friendly but demanding environment. By choosing a complex and diverse range of repertoire, the ensemble takes the university’s best singers and helps them achieve standards that exceed their expectations.
The core of 16 singers works together throughout the year, developing long-term performing relationships and learning how to approach a wide range of music with skill, precision, and musicality. Singers perform within the ensemble as well as singing solo parts. Musical direction is often from within the choir, and there are opportunities for student directors to lead rehearsals and smaller-scale performances.
CUCC often places an emphasis on secular music rather than sacred, and it often foregrounds repertoire that allows singers to appear as soloists or in small groups. The choir also performs on a regular basis with groups such as Cambridge University Orchestra and the Collegium Musicum (a period-instrument ensemble directed by Margaret Faultless). CUCC members are also frequently offered opportunities to take part in projects involving multiple choirs.
The chamber choir is a fantastic opportunity for experienced singers who are looking to work in a more intimate environment or on a project basis.
All places in CUCC are awarded after audition each year. The choir is formed of a core of 16 singers.
Auditions are held at the beginning of each academic year (early October) with the CUCC Artistic Director, Nicholas Mulroy. We are occasionally able to hold auditions mid-year if additional singers are needed for a specific project.
You will need to complete an application form and provide a reference from a Director of Music or singing teacher who knows your voice.
Applications for 2023–24 will open on 1 September.
Audition format for CUCC:
Auditions will take the format of a video submission consisting of two pieces of your choice (no more than 10 minutes in total).
There are no requirements for your choice of piece, but you should consider choosing repertoire that displays the full range of your abilities.
The deadline for your video submission is 9am on the 12th of October. See below for guidance on how to record it.
Although it is important that we can hear and see you sing clearly, it is the quality of the performance that is being assessed, not the quality of the recording. We do not expect you to have to go out of your way to source any specialist equipment. Even with limited technology, recordings can project and communicate musical ideas.
- You should record your audition in a single, unedited take.
- Use a single static camera where you are visible.
Tips for video submission
- Most smartphones and tablets will create a recording of sufficient quality.
- Make sure there is enough storage on the device for the recording before starting.
- Experiment with the placement of the recording equipment, microphone direction, performer, music stand, and lighting.
- Make test recordings before the complete recording. You could send these to your teacher for advice if you are unsure.
- Ensure the recording has no extraneous sounds. Simple steps include ensuring that all notifications and apps that are running in the background are switched off; airplane mode is enabled, and any windows in the room are closed.
- Check the final recording before submitting.
Successful candidates will have the ability to sight-read music well and hold their own in an ensemble. Though we expect members of CUCC to be able to perform solo parts, most will also have some choral experience.
The choir is formed of a core of 16 singers, but there will be the opportunity for other singers to join the choir for specific projects.
Further audition information can be found at www.cmp.cam.ac.uk/singing-auditions
Please direct any queries to firstname.lastname@example.org FAO Lizzie Hale, Chamber Choir Manager.
To apply, please complete this application form by 9am on 12 October 2023:
CUCC performs a wide variety of repertoire.
2023–24 will include Monteverdi madrigals, Bach’s St John Passion and a newly rediscovered version of Brahms’ Schicksalslied.
2022–23 highlights included Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with the Cambridge University Orchestra, Schütz’s Musikalische Exequien directed by Robert Hollingworth, and Bach cantatas with Nicholas Mulroy and Margaret Faultless.
Highlights from the 2021–22 season included pieces by Britten, Striggio, Gabrieli, Bach, Purcell, and Tallis‘ Spem in alium. The choir also joined together with St John’s Voices for an acclaimed recording of Chesnokov.
Other recent highlights have included participation in an international festival of sacred music in Yale, collaborations with the Cambridge University Orchestra in works by Nielsen, Stravinsky and Brahms, pioneering performances of Venetian polychoral music, a semi-staged performance of Handel’s Acis and Galatea, and participation in The Cardinall’s Musick’s 25th-anniversary performance of Tallis’ Spem in alium.
Recent conductors and soloists
Martin Ennis, conductor; Margaret Faultless, violin; Nicholas Mulroy, tenor; Robert Hollingworth, conductor.
Nicholas Mulroy, tenor; Andrew Kennedy, tenor.
CUCC’s student committee helps to run the ensemble’s rehearsals, concerts and social events and liaises with the Musical Director to ensure student’s get the most out of their time with the ensemble. They are supported by a team of industry professionals at the Centre for Music Performance.
If you would like to get in touch or have a suggestion about the ensemble, the Student President, Benedict Randall Shaw, is a good place to start. The full committee will be announced shortly.
When do rehearsals take place?
Rehearsals take place on a project-by-project basis, rather than weekly. There are usually three or four evening rehearsals in the two weeks running up to a concert and a rehearsal on the day of the performance. Because the repertoire frequently includes pieces with solos and small ensembles, it is rare for everyone to be needed for all rehearsals.
Do I have to commit to all projects for the year?
If you are invited to be a core member of the chamber choir, you will need to commit to all projects of the year. There will be the opportunity for other singers to join the choir for specific projects. We expect singers to attend all the rehearsals for the projects in which they are involved.
Do I have to be a confident sight-reader?
Singers admitted to the choir will usually be strong readers, and if sight-reading any of the repertoire causes problems, singers will be expected to look at music outside of rehearsals in order to reach the expected standard.
Is the choir just for undergraduates?
No; any member of the University, including staff and postgraduate students, can sing in the choir.