The Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh enjoys an international reputation through its recordings, broadcasts, and tours. In its day-today work the choir sings each day at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral and is the only choir in Scotland that contributes to the Anglican tradition of daily choral services. The choir’s last three recordings – all on Delphian, of music by Anton Bruckner (DCD34071), Gabriel Jackson (DCD34106), and John Sheppard (DCD34123) – all earned Gramophone Editor’s Choices, while their first recording under conductor Duncan Ferguson (of sacred music by John Taverner, DCD34023) reached seventh place in the Specialist Classical Chart and achieved an ‘Outstanding’ accolade from International Record Review.
The choristers (aged 9–14) all attend St Mary’s Music School, Scotland’s only choir school, on cathedral or government bursaries. In 1978 the choir became the first with a daily choral tradition to allow girls to sing as well as boys and then, in 2006, the first to admit a female alto as choral scholar. Over the years the choir has worked closely with a number of leading contemporary composers, commissioning, performing, and recording works by (among others) Kenneth Leighton, Arvo Pärt, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, James MacMillan, Howard Skempton, and Gabriel Jackson. The choir enjoys collaborating with orchestras; recent performances with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra have included the sixtieth-birthday concert of American composer John Zorn, the Glasgow Tectonics Festival and a semi-staged version of Berg’s Wozzeck under conductor Donald Runnicles. The choir sang Haydn’s ‘Nelson’ Mass with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra during the 2015 Festival Fringe. The choir is also well known through its many appearances on BBC Radio Three, Radio Four, and Radio Scotland, including live broadcasts of Choral Evensong.
The choir’s most recent tour was to Germany in summer 2015. Previous choir tours have included France, Hungary, Norway, and several trips to the USA and Canada. In 2011 the choir was invited to sing at the Taipei International
Choral Festival and by the Little Singers of Tokyo at their sixtieth-anniversary concert in Suntory Hall.