Taking on the mantle of musical director of Sydney Chamber is a very exciting prospect for a choral conductor – something akin to be handed the keys to a Rolls-Royce!

Sam Allchurch (centre) and the Sydney Chamber Choir. Photograph © Pedro Greig

To begin our time together, for my first concert as Music Director, I was keen to perform one of the great motets of JS Bach, Singet dem Herren ‘Sing to the Lord a new song’. This is a tour de force of virtuoso choir writing and one of my favourite pieces: joyful and ebullient in its outer movements and beautifully reflective in the slow middle movement. I was also drawn to Singet by the skill of the singers in Sydney Chamber Choir, one of the few ensembles in Australia who can tackle music of this complexity.

I designed a program of music which is about music. In some cases this is obvious – from the Italian Renaissance, Palestrina’s Kyrie from Missa ut re mi fa so lais based on the major scale and Elliott Gyger’s ut queant laxispicks up on the same idea.

In other cases, the link is more subtle – Joseph Twist’s...

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