Jeff Stewart – Artistic Director
Jeff Stewart began singing at the age of seven in the local church choir and was fortunate enough to sing in many of the great cathedrals both with this choir and with the Royal School of Church Music. It was here that he first developed an interest in being a musical director, often stepping in when the choirmaster had to be absent.
He subsequently went to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study as a singer, winning the Harold Rosenthal Award for outstanding achievement on the Opera Course. This led him on to an international career as a Tenor in both Opera and concert, which has included appearances all around the world. He combines this with a busy teaching practice and in 2005 he became a professor of singing at the Royal College of Music. He is now also a professor in the vocal faculty of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.
In 2004 Jeff saw an advert in the local Parish magazine asking for a choirmaster to come and lead the fledgling choir in the tiny neighbouring village. He began with 8 people which in a very short space of time grew to around 40 members in a thriving ensemble which, in addition to its duties at home, regularly sings in cathedrals around the country. At the start of 2019 they sang at St. Paul’s Cathedral for the first time.
From 2009 – 2017 Jeff was the Musical Director of Uxbridge Choral Society, with whom he enjoyed considerable success, most notably by putting on the world amateur premiere of John Tavener’s Lament for Jerusalem. In 2015 he became the musical director of Aylesbury Choral Society and has now added the Lord Williams Festival Chorus to his schedule.
His love of teaching people how to get the most out of their singing, whatever their level, has led him to set up Choral Holidays.
Jeff is frequently invited to give vocal masterclasses and choral workshops both in the UK and abroad.
Ben Saul – Musical Director/Organist
Ben Saul is a practicing music therapist currently working as a clinician for Greenwich NHS Teaching Primary Care Trust. He has experience working in paediatric assessment and intervention, learning disabilities, forensic psychiatry, mental health and music therapy research. Ben is currently Director of Music at All Saints, Blackheath.
Johnathen Hope – Organist
Jonathan Hope is quickly gaining a reputation at home and abroad as one of the most dynamic young performers of his generation.
Born in 1988 and educated at George Abbot School, Guildford, he studied initially with Stephen Lacey, John Belcher and David Sanger, before studying at the Royal College of Music, London (RCM) with Margaret Phillips (repertoire) and Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer Choplin (improvisation). While at the RCM, Jonathan participated in masterclasses with Pieter van Dijk, Gordon Stewart, Jacques van Oortmerrsen and Dame Gillian Weir.
Increasingly in demand as a recitalist, Jonathan’s recital career to date has taken him throughout the UK, as well as France, Germany, Italy, the USA and Australia. Recently, he has performed solo recitals at Canterbury Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Saint-Sulpice, Paris. In July 2010, Jonathan undertook a recital tour of Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
Jonathan is currently Assistant Organist at Gloucester Cathedral, having previously been Organ Scholar of Southwark Cathedral from 2010 to 2012, and then Winchester Catherdral where his duties involved accompanying and directing the cathedral choirs in the daily services, and serving as Acting Sub-Organist & Director of the Girls’ Choir in his final term. Whilst at Southwark, Jonathan played for many prestigious occasions including special services for the London 2012 Olympics and HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and in frequent BBC broadcasts of the choir. During Jonathan’s time there the cathedral choirs toured Northern Ireland and France. In November 2011 Jonathan took part in the launch of Choirbook for the Queen at Southwark, in honour of HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. He also appears as an accompanist on the cathedral boys’ choir’s newly released recording on the Regent label “A Year at Southwark” (REGCD376) and as the main accompanist on the cathedral girls’ choir’s debut solo CD “Awake my Soul”, also by Regent (REGCD387), of works by Parry, Vaughan Williams, Judith Bingham and others. Prior to Southwark, Jonathan was Organist and Director of Music at John Keble Church, Mill Hill, in London’s northern suburbs.
As an ensemble and continuo player, Jonathan has collaborated with Simon Carrington, Diego Masson, Jeffrey Stewart and Roderick Earle, as well as regular performances with his partner, the Italian-Australian soprano Allegra Giagu (http://www.allegragiagu.com/). He has appeared with the RCM Baroque and Symphony Orchestras, the London International Orchestra of Academia, the Charities Philharmonia, the Uxbridge Choral Society, the Colchester Chamber Choir and the London Mozart Players. He has appeared at St. John’s, Smith Square and in the Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre, London) where he played in Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Trans, as part of ‘KLANG’, a festival to mark the 80th birthday of the composer. Jonathan has also performed as part of the City of London Festival. Recently, he has played performances of Duruflé’s Requiem and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. As an accompanist, he has broadcast live on both BBC Radio 3 and 4, and as a conductor on RUV Radio (Iceland).