Our People

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David Bednall

Music Director

David Bednall is recognized as one of the leading choral composers of his generation. He studied for a PhD in Composition with Professor John Pickard at the University of Bristol and is a House Composer at Oxford University Press. He has an extensive freelance playing and conducting career and is Sub Organist at Bristol Cathedral. He studied with Dr. Naji Hakim and David Briggs and was Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral.


He won prizes in Improvisation and Performance at the examination for FRCO and a CD of improvisations with Malcolm Archer received excellent reviews. He has improvised on live radio, and performed extensively in the UK and abroad, including a recital at Notre-Dame de Paris. He appeared as stunt-organist on Dr Who.


His compositions are widely performed, broadcast on Radio 3, 4, and Classic FM, and recorded. His first CD, Hail, gladdening light, was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice, his Requiem received similar accolades, and Flame Celestial, received a Gramophone Recommendation. Welcome All Wonders, was commissioned by The Queen’s College, Oxford, and their recording on Signum garnered superb international critical acclaim. The recording of Stabat Mater on Regent with Jennifer Pike (violin) and the Chapel Choir of Benenden School under Edward Whiting was an Editor’s Choice in the Awards Edition of Gramophone 2016. Recent projects have included a BBC Commission for James Gilchrist, Philip Dukes, and Anna Tilbrook which was premiered in Hull, City of Culture, in July 2017 a commission for the Presteigne Festival, and Make we Merry which was released in 2019.


More information can be found at www.davidbednall.com

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Raymond Warren

President

Raymond is a renowned composer and teacher, having held posts at Queen's University, Belfast, where from 1966 he held a personal Chair in composition. From 1966-72 he was Resident Composer to the Ulster Orchestra, writing for them a number of orchestral works and also conducting the Orchestra in a series of concerts of contemporary music. In 1972 he was appointed Professor of Music at the University of Bristol, a post from which he retired in 1994. He is the composer of numerous operas, oratorios and three symphonies. Recent works include his Symphony No. 3, a commission from the Brunel Ensemble. He is also author of the book Opera Workshop (Scolar Press, 1995).

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Charlotte Obolensky

Chair

Charlotte was born in Cornwall and developed a love of singing at school and later at Durham University, where she sang in the university chamber choir as well as St Chad’s College choir, in the days before female undergraduates were admitted! She joined the Bristol Chamber Choir in 1994 as her night off from her young family, and is now at the point where she remembers items performed over 20 years ago coming round again… She is delighted to be the first female chairman of this historic and friendly choir with its unusual mostly unaccompanied repertoire.

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Rae Ford

Secretary

Rae is a retired music teacher. Studying and working in London and later Germany, she has sung both in large and small choirs, perhaps enjoying most of all one-voice-to-a-part singing for fun with friends at weekends. Love of early music has recently led her to attempt viol playing, but she is reminded that learning to play any instrument really well is never easy.

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Anthony Davis

Secretary

Anthony joined the Bristol Chamber Choir in September 2017, after deciding that its repertoire and size would suit him perfectly. His most recent choir and singing lesson experience had been at school, many decades previously, but within a week of singing works by Josquin, Byrd, Tallis & Victoria with the choir, he was hooked! His love of acapella music from the 15th to 20th Centuries has grown ever since and the choir has become a key part of his life, along with family, photography, and spaniel!

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Sue Caporn

Treasurer

Sue has sung in a wide range of choirs throughout her life - classical and community, large and small - and over the years has sung very diverse types of music, from the great choral works to gospel music, from Gilbert and Sullivan to sacred music.


A love of singing madrigals and early music led Sue to join the Bristol Chamber Choir, where she enjoys the intimacy of singing in a small choir. Sue likes managing budgets and spreadsheets and has learnt more about performing rights and HMRC gift aid regulations than she ever thought possible.

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Rod Coomber

Publicity Secretary

Rod was born and brought up in Coventry.  He started singing when in the 6th form when a new music master decided to form a choir to sing Haydn’s Creation. He read chemistry at Imperial College where he met a metallurgist called Donia (2nd soprano and flute) who persuaded him to join Imperial College Choir. They got married immediately after graduation and started work at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough.  In 1970 they joined the Aldershot Choral Society (later known as the Rushmoor Choir) and it wasn’t long before he was ‘persuaded’ to take responsibility for publicity.  This set a precedent for every choir he has sung with since!
By the 1990s both of them were working in different Ministry of Defence offices in London and in 1995 were part of the huge MOD exodus form London to Abbey Wood.  Once settled in they joined Portishead Choral Society and Bristol Cathedral Special Choir.  After the Special Choir closed down they joined Bristol Chamber Choir in 2016.
When he isn’t busy with choir matters he paints in water colour and acrylics and is on the staff of two demanding cats.

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Jessica Bruno

Librarian

Jessica has been involved with musical groups for most of her life, starting her formal musical education at the age of five and progressing to various local and regional choirs and orchestras as her technique improved.


After walking grade 8 singing during sixth form and playing of the Oxford Symphony Orchestra in her gap year she first moved to the city to read music at the University of Bristol in 2003, being  a member of the University Singers, Choral Society and the Opera Society  and a founder member of The University of Bristol Barbershop Singers.


A break in singing after university to focus on work and bands (playing the bass guitar) she returned to the world of choral singing with the Bristol Chamber Choir in 2018.

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Simon Taylor

Librarian

Simon was born and brought up in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he took part in the wide variety of school choirs, youth orchestras and music groups running at that time. He went on to study music at university before settling in Bristol, working as a primary school teacher and music co-ordinator for fifteen years. He then made a career change and now works in the environment/conservation sector, specifically on European Protected Species. Simon has been a member of the Bristol Chamber Choir for four years, and, as well as singing, enjoys playing the piano and piano accordion, travelling, and slowly learning Russian.