James Morgan - Music Director
James is one of the most versatile musicians of his generation, combining careers as conductor, record producer, and as one half of the composing partnership Morgan Pochin. James studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, and has a background in opera, working as Chorus Master at English National Opera from 1994-8, followed by further chorus master and full conducting roles at Glyndebourne Opera House, English National Opera, English Touring Opera and Raymond Gubbay Ltd.
James has conducted and recorded many of the UK’s leading orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia and London Philharmonic Orchestras. Abroad, he works regularly with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra and City of Prague Philharmonic amongst others. Specialising in contemporary music, including world premieres at the South Bank and the Barbican, his repertoire varies widely from renaissance polyphony to arena pop concerts, with artists as varied as Alfie Boe, Jamie Cullum, Andrea Bocelli, Katie Melua and in particular the BBC Singers, for whom James is a regular guest conductor.
As part of the Morgan/Pochin partnership James has worked in a huge variety of fields, from an EMMY award winning TV series to UK album chart successes, and, most recently, feature films. Their first feature film First Night (Richard E Grant, Sarah Brightman), was released in 2012 with the soundtrack album on Sony. They were recently the music producers on the film Quartet released in 2013 which marks Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut and stars Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Tom Courtenay and Billy Connelly.
Production and writing credits include a number of chart successes, and in 2011, CDs produced by Morgan Pochin for Decca/Universal reached over 900,000 sales. Their choral piece Kyrie was premiered on BBC R3 with the BBC Singers, and their compositions and arrangements have been broadcast on BBC R2 and 3, Classic FM and on BBC TV and ITV, including the Classical Brits, and performed by most of the major UK orchestras, including recordings by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Danielle De Niese, Diva). As orchestrators, and arrangers, credits include scores for BBC, ITV and C4, Tangier Tattoo for Glyndebourne and Gaddafi for ENO. Future plans also include a number of recording projects for Decca as well as two further feature films currently in pre-production.
Sylvia Holford - Accompanist
Sylvia Holford played for Brighton Festival Chorus during its early years and became its regular pianist in the 1980s, having been the accompanist for Laszlo Heltay in Oxford with his Collegium Musicum Oxoniense and the Kodaly Choir. She also made the piano reduction for Kodaly's 'Music Makers' written for Laszlo and Merton College. As BFC pianist and as a BBC accompanist she has played for many famous conductors and soloists, among them Stravinsky, Colin Davis, Ashkenazy, Charles Mackerras and Simon Rattle.
In 1972 Sylvia took on a second career as general manager of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and founded the Academy Chorus three years later under Laszlo Heltay's direction. A chance encounter with a London agent while playing for BFC and Bernstein led to her introduction to Richard Bonynge and Joan Sutherland with whom she subsequently worked extensively, accompanying Joan on two recital tours of the USA and acting as repetiteur for their recordings. Sylvia now lives near Lewes and continues playing (and singing!) for BFC.
Gill Kay - Artistic Manager
Gill Kay began her career as a freelance orchestral player in London during which time she gained an LGSM Performers Diploma from the Guildhall. Following on from a B.A. (Hons) in Music from Dartington Gill subsequently became Manager of the Dartington International School of Music during which time she worked with some of the world's most renowned musicians including Michael Tippett, Harrison Birtwistle, Witold Lutoslawski and many others. She moved from Dartington to Brighton in the 1980ís to work on the Brighton Festival classical programme since when she has commissioned over 100 world premieres and produced concerts ranging from over 400 performers to young solo artists some of whom are now world names. During the 1990s Gill managed the Brodsky String Quartet during their world tour of the Juliet Letters with Elvis Costello and was part of the small Festival team involved with the successful £26m Lottery bid to renovate the Dome Concert Hall. As a freelance producer Gill has recently worked on projects with Lorin Maazel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Opera House and ROH Education as well as with a number of orchestras and promoters in France, Portugal and Holland. Gill has been involved in the management of Brighton Festival Chorus since 1985.
Matthew Morley - Associate Music Director
After graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, Matthew joined the music staff at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and latterly English National Opera where he combined roles as a Chorus Master and Musical Director for the ENO Baylis' ground-breaking community project Know the Show. He has worked with many of the UK's leading professional and amateur vocal ensembles including the BBC Singers, London Voices and Vivace Chorus, preparing UK premieres of Adam's Nixon in China, Stockhausen's Mittoch aus Licht for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, and the world premiere of Frank Zappa's 200 Motels. He is currently Chorus Master to the Buxton Festival, and is the Organist at St Bride's, the journalists' church in Fleet Street, London - a position he has held for over twenty years.