Episode 83: “Exploring the Choirs of Europe” Rupert Gough of Royal Holloway

The First Installment of the a new series following Betsy Cook Weber on her Sabbatical

I am honored to present to you a new series of podcasts and videos with Dr. Betsy Cook Weber. Dr. Weber is on Sabbatical this semester, and she reached out to me to partner in documenting her travels across Europe. Her mission? To discover the “secret sauce” of many European scholastic and professional choral organizations. In the first installment Betsy and I speak with Rupert Gough of London’s Royal Holloway School. We cover the philosophy and practice that governs this fantastic choir from rehearsal and audition procedures to the challenge of getting British choirs to emote . Tune in for a fresh perspective and some beautiful sounds from their rehearsals.

Exploring Europe Series!
Episode 83

Rupert Gough has been Director of Choral Music and College Organist at Royal Holloway, University of London since 2005. He is also Organist and Director of Music at London’s oldest surviving church, Great Saint Bartholomew, which maintains a professional choir. He previously spent 11 years as Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral where he worked closely with the choir both as accompanist and choir trainer. During this time he featured on 19 recordings as either organist or conductor, including six discs for Hyperion Records.   

His overall discography of nearly 50 commercial recordings encompasses work as a choir director, organist and harpsichordist, and includes the organ and choral works of Sir Percy Buck (Priory), the instrumental and choral works of Carson Cooman (Naxos and Albany), the complete works for violin and organ of Josef Rheinberger and choral works of Rihards Dubra, Vytautas Miškinis and Bo Hansson (Hyperion). 

Born in 1971, Rupert was a chorister at the Chapels Royal, St. James’s Palace, and won a scholarship to the Purcell School. He received (with distinction) a Masters degree in English Church Music from the University of East Anglia whilst Organ Scholar at Norwich Cathedral. In 2001 he won Third Prize at the St. Alban’s International Organ Competition. He is particularly renowned for his work in combination with violin as a member of the Gough Duo. The Duo’s many American tours have taken them all over the USA from Florida to Alaska. Recently they performed to audiences of 1,800 in Moscow and 1,200 in Hong Kong. 

As a conductor he has worked with a variety of professional choirs and orchestras including the Britten Sinfonia, the London Mozart Players, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and Florilegium. He has also been fortunate to work with many distinguished soloists including Julian Lloyd Webber, Antony Rolfe Johnson, Felicity Lott, Susan Bullock, Emma Kirkby, James Bowman and Wayne Marshall. This summer he will be working alongside the King’s Singers in their first UK Summer School.

Dr. Betsy Cook Weber is a Madison Endowed Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Houston Moores School of Music.  She teaches a full load of coursework, oversees the large and varied choral area at the Moores School, and is also highly active internationally as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and lecturer.  

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