Britain’s Leading Choir Coming to Henley for Special Concert

The Holst Singers one of Britain’s foremost choirs, described by the BBC as “a leading chorus on the international stage” are performing at a special concert at St Mary’s Church on Saturday 2 March at 7.00pm.

The concert programme is in celebration of 150 years since Gustav Holst’s birth and features music by Holst together with music by other great 20th century English composers, including four works by women composers. The choir is directed by Stephen Layton MBE, often described as the finest exponent of choral music in the world today.

Founded in 1978 and directed by Stephen Layton since 1993, the choir has developed an interest in exploring new and neglected works as well as core repertoire. The choir is renowned for dramatic and engaging performances, described by The Times as “interactive concert-going at its most revelatory”.

The choir has recorded a number CDs with Stephen Layton on the Hyperion label, including ‘Ikon’ and ‘Ikon II’, which helped to introduce UK listeners to the music of the Russian Orthodox Church, and John Taverner’s ‘The Veil of the Temple’, alongside works by Holst, Vaughan Williams and Britten.

Awarded with an MBE for services to classical music in October 2020, Stephen Layton is one of the most sought-after conductors of his generation. Often described as the finest exponent of choral music in the world today, his ground-breaking approach has had a profound influence on choral music over the last 30 years. Founder and Director of Polyphony, and Director of Holst Singers, Layton has recently stepped down as Fellow and Director of Music at Trinity College Cambridge to focus on international engagements. Layton is regularly invited to work with the world’s leading choirs, orchestras and composers. His interpretations have been heard from Sydney Opera House to the Concertgebouw, from Tallinn to São Paolo, and his recordings have won or been nominated for every major international recording award.

Layton is constantly in demand to première new works by the greatest established and emerging composers of our age. Passionate in his exploration of new music, Layton has introduced a vast range of new choral works to the UK and the rest of the world, transforming the music into some of the most widely performed today. Longstanding composer partnerships include Arvo Pärt, Sir John Tavener and Sir Karl Jenkins; in the Baltic, Eriks Ešenvalds, Uģis Prauliņš and Veljo Tormis; and in America, Morten Lauridsen and Eric Whitacre. Other award-winning discs include recordings of Britten, James MacMillan, Bruckner, Handel (including BBC Music Magazine’s “Best Messiah recording” with Britten Sinfonia), and Bach’s St John Passion, Christmas Oratorio and B Minor Mass with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Tickets are priced £25 adults and U18s £10  Book tickets at


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