Blenheim Singers, Oxford
With its unique link to Blenheim Palace near Oxford, the Blenheim Singers has garnered international recognition for its performances of high quality music. Blenheim Palace, the seat of the Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the magnificent backdrop for Hollywood film productions such as ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘James Bond 007, Spectre’.
The Blenheim Singers specialise in singing in historically significant manor houses of England, bringing their architecture and history to life in music. The vocal ensemble presents choral music at the highest level and continues to be enthusiastically received with standing ovations, most recently on tour in the Alsace and Germany.
Under the auspices of the Palace’s UNESCO status, the ensemble works to “build peace into the minds of people” through musical performances and collaborations. The young artists see themselves as musical ambassadors, and seek to make an intercultural contribution to the deepening of Anglo-German friendship and understanding. Blenheim Palace is named after the town Blindheim, situated in Bavaria on the banks of the river Danube. In recognition of its namesake, the Blenheim Singers visit Blindheim every year, and work closely with the Bavarian Music Academy.
Tom Hammond-Davies is an award-winning choral conductor who lives in the UK. He graduated from the University of Oxford where he read music as an Organ Scholar at Hertford College. He later attended the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where he studied choral conducting with Paul Spicer, director of the Finzi Singers and the Bach Choir in Birmingham. It was at the Conservatoire where he was awarded the Sir Michael Beech Conducting prize and the Three Choirs Festival award.
Since then, Tom has carved out a unique space in choral conducting. He founded the Blenheim Singers in 2006 and led the ensemble in the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah at Blenheim Palace between 2006 and 2010. Since then, this peripatetic ensemble has performed annually in Bavaria and Alsace, emphasising the importance of cultural dialogue within Blenheim Palace’s UNESCO World Heritage status, cultivating international relationships for over a decade.
In 2013, Tom joined the Wooburn Singers as Musical Director, following in the footsteps of Stephen Jackson and founder Richard Hickox. Based in Beaconsfield, the Wooburn Singers is an auditioned chamber choir of about 50 singers performing five concerts each year, ranging from a cappella works to large choral pieces with orchestra. They recently performed Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins, and J. S. Bach’s B Minor Mass.
Tom went on to found the Oxford Bach Soloists in 2017, the year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This pioneering project has set out to perform the complete vocal works of J. S. Bach in chronological sequence, programmed in real-time, and in the context in which they were received. Tom is the Artistic Director leading the Baroque ensemble and singers in performances have captured the imagination of all who witness their monthly programme. This has led to a committed supporter base that recently funded twelve Choral Scholarships.
Tom is also a Trustee of the Sir George Dyson Trust, and has appeared in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, the Three Choirs Festival, the Oxford Lieder Festival, and has guest-conducted the New Mozart Orchestra, International Baroque Players, and Oxford Bach Choir. Tom is also currently the Director of Music at the City Church of St Michael at the North Gate, Oxford, and was recently appointed as a member of Faculty for the Oxford Cultural Leaders programme.