Patrick Larley is a freelance composer,
singer and keyboard player, has held the post of Music Director of Ludlow Choral Society for sixteen years. He is also been Music Director of the Birmingham Festival Choral Society since 1997, is founder and director of a professional vocal ensemble, Chudleigh’s Company, and an early music group, The Gallery Players and Music Director of the Montgomeryshire County Music Festival.
After study at the Royal Manchester College of Music, Patrick, a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, embarked on a career centred around cathedral music holding organist and singing posts in Wells Cathedral, St. Asaph Cathedral, St. James’ Choir School and Grimsby Minster, and Ellesmere College in Shropshire. He has given organ recitals in many of the country’s cathedrals and churches and also presents a programme of keyboard music and readings, with his wife Gill, on his two manual chamber organ and harpsichord. Various styles of improvisation, including jazz, feature prominently in his concerts both at the organ and piano.
As a former member of two professional choirs - Wells Cathedral Choir and the BBC Northern Singers – Patrick has featured in numerous Radio 3 broadcasts and many of the UK’s most prestigious music festivals, including Aldeburgh, Chester, York and the Proms. Through extensive experience as a voice coach, singing tutor and workshop leader, especially working with young voices, he encourages singers to be confident with their voices and simply to enjoy the art of singing and making music together.
Patrick's compositions encompass a number of styles including choral, orchestral, instrumental, theatre and advertising. A number of his choral works have been recorded on CD, broadcast on radio and performed widely throughout the UK, in Europe and in America.
Of his recent major choral works, In Praise of Music, commissioned by Ludlow Choral Society to celebrate its 150th anniversary, was premiered in the Ludlow Festival on June 27th 2009 and The Gentle Earth of Wales, a choral cantata based on traditional Welsh melodies and including settings of words by George Herbert and R.S.Thomas, was first performed in May 2011 to mark the 90th anniversary of the Montgomeryshire County Music Festival.
The Birmingham Spirituals, commissioned by BFCS, was inspired by the words and melodies of the African/American spirituals.. This work represents a fusion of two distinct choral styles, creating an exciting juxtaposition of rhythmical, melodic and harmonic divergence which embraces elements of Jazz and Blues set alongside traditional harmony and counterpoint. In collaboration with one of the Birmingham Gospel Choirs it premiered in the summer of 2014.
Patrick’s travels around the Scottish islands, has led to a love of Celtic traditional music which is clearly discernible in his own work and has led to settings of texts by the Orkney poet George Mackay Brown and arrangements of Gaelic songs for the Còisir Ghàidhlig Ìle. (Islay Gaelic Choir).
A former rugby union player and cricketer, Patrick now continues his sporting and leisure activities in a sea-kayak and on a bicycle – though not at the same time!
Steve was appointed as our Accompanist in 1998. He is a professional musician, working freelance as a piano teacher, music therapist, adjudicator, accompanist and composer. He has also written music for television, radio and the theatre, notably for Sir Antony Hopkins’ production of Uncle Vanya. As well as working in the classical field he has performed in a variety of other settings, including jazz, folk and rock music. The Society is fortunate to have the services of such an outstanding pianist.