The Cambridge University Chamber Choir is Cambridge's flagship chamber choir. It exists to enable the university's finest singers to perform repertoire not usually undertaken by Cambridge's world-renowned chapel choirs. Its focus is on works with orchestral accompaniment, secular repertoire, and repertoire which offers singers the chance to develop as soloists and to sing in small groups.
The Choir's highlights in 2011–12 include a six-concert Easter tour with the Israel Camerata; JS Bach's St Matthew Passion with the Cambridge University Collegium Musicum; and a "Guide to the History of Music" in King's College Chapel as part of the university's flagship Festival of Ideas.
The Choir is directed jointly by Tim Brown (director of the Zürich Sing-Akademie), Martin Ennis (Chairman of the Faculty of Music at Cambridge) and Mark Williams (Director of Music at Jesus College). Its Principal Guest Conductor is Sir Roger Norrington.
The Choir is one of the eight ensembles which make up the Cambridge University Musical Society. Since its etablishment in 1843 the Society has launched the careers of such luminaries as Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Mark Elder, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Christopher Hogwood, Nicholas McGegan, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Sir David Willcocks and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Martin Ennis is Senior Lecturer in Music at the Faculty of Music and Fellow and Director of Music at Girton College, Cambridge. He began his higher education as Organ Scholar of Christ's College, Cambridge, and on graduating pursued further studies firstly at the Musikhochschule in Cologne and latterly back at the University in Cambridge. From 1989–90 he was Director of Music at Christ's College, Cambridge, and in 1990 he was appointed the inaugural Pilkington Fellow in Music at Girton College. He joined the permanent staff of the Cambridge Music Faculty in 1994. From 2002–2005 he served as Chairman of the Faculty, and he took up this post again in October 2008. In 2009 his commitment to teaching was recognised with the award of one of the University's highly prestigious Pilkington Prizes.
He combines his university life with a busy career as a performer, specialising as a continuo player. A Fellowof the Royal College of Organists, he has been a prizewinner at several international competitions. In addition to hiswork as the principal keyboard player of the London Mozart Players he has performed with such groups as theMonteverdi Choir (for its 25th anniversary concert), the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Kölner Bach-Collegium, the Polish Chamber Orchestra, the Allegri String Quartet, the chorus of the Juilliard School in New Yorkand, more recently, as a soloist with St Luke's Chamber Orchestra in New York. He has made BBC recordings assolo pianist with several chamber groups, and in 1997 made his first concerto recording with the Royal PhilharmonicOrchestra. He is also an occasional composer, and his compositions have been performed in venues includingWestminster Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Royal Albert Hall (in one of the "Promenade" concerts).
During his period as Director of Music he has led the choir of Girton College to competition successes in Japan, and together they have made a number of highly regarded recordings, including broadcasts onRadio Hong Kong and Japanese television. In recent years he has been increasingly active as a freelance conductor, appearing with a variety of orchestras including the London Mozart Players and the Mozart FestivalOrchestra. Recent projects have included a performance of Messiah in the Concert Hall of the Forbidden City, Beijing in December 2007 directed from the harpsichord, and workshops and conducting masterclasses inMalaysia in December 2008.