Director of Music

Colin Howard

Colin became Director of Music of the Dorchester Choral Society in 2015, although his association with the choir began in 2012 as guest conductor for a performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. Two years later he was the tenor soloist in Tippett’s A Child of our Time. At very short notice in early 2015 he stood in for his friend Christine Page to rehearse and conduct Haydn’s Creation before taking on the substantive role after her death a few weeks later.

He brings his considerable energy and professional experience to a continuous regime of vocal refinement, notably in accuracy of pitch and clarity of diction, in an expanding and often challenging repertoire. He has a liking for rounds and musical curiosities that he introduces as light relief to concentrated rehearsals along with numerous anecdotes about the composers and their music. He makes a point of including a piece by a living composer in most concerts and as a result we have been rewarded with a number of pieces written especially for the choir.

An enthusiastic supporter of the choir’s social activities and Franco-German partnerships, he led the joint concert with the Kantorei an St Andreas, Lübbecke and l’Orphéon, Bayeux at Milton Abbey in April 2019.

Colin was a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford and studied piano and cello at the Royal College of Music in London where he was a conducting scholar and winner of the Director’s Special Prize and an Adrian Boult Prize. Colin also studied singing with Caroline Friend, Patricia Taylor and – at a master-class at Dartington - with Nicholas Clapton.

He is active as a singer, conductor, teacher and music historian. His career highlights have included working with André Previn and the Finchley Children’s Group on a concert of Mendelssohn with the LSO and recording for EMI in the Royal Festival Hall; conducting the Farrant Singers and the Chelsea Opera Group; and performing the song cycles of Britten, Finzi, Schubert, Schumann, Tippett and Vaughan Williams and he sang at the funeral of Sir John Tavener. Colin has directed first performances of works by Gordon Crosse, Robert Spearing, John Rutter, John Tavener and Stephen McNeff. He sings as a deputy with the Cathedral Choirs of both Salisbury and Winchester.

Spring Concert - Stabat Mater: Rescheduled Winter Concert - Baroque Masterpieces