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About Singing Shakespeare

A three year project from the Shakespeare Trust.

Singing Shakespeare is all about people being involved. We aim to inspire singers of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities to perform Shakespeare in a way which speaks to them.

We are very grateful to our patrons, organisations who have expressed an interest in the project, and to all those who have lent their support so far.

Our Patrons

  • Sir Thomas Allen CBE (Baritone and Opera Director)
  • Simon Russell Beale CBE (Actor and Musician)
  • Lord Berkeley of Knighton CBE (Composer, Musician and Broadcaster)
  • Dame Carol Ann Duffy CBE (Poet Laureate)
  • Kate Fleetwood (Actor)
  • Ashley Hutchings MBE (Musician and Poet)
  • Forbes Masson (Actor)
  • Sir Andrew Motion (Poet)
  • Katie Stephens (Actor)
  • Kate Tempest (Poet)
  • Judith Weir CBE (Master of the Queen’s Music)

David Wordsworth - Singing Shakespeare Artistic Director

DAVID WORDSWORTH studied at Leeds University, the City University (London) and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. After a period of teaching he held senior positions at two major music publishers, Schott and OUP, developing close working relationships with a wide range of composers including Tippett, Henze, Ligeti, Penderecki , Dutilleux and more recently at OUP, working closely with John Rutter, Bob Chilcott, Gerald Barry, Michael Berkeley, Gabriel Jackson and Cecilia McDowall.

David became Music Director of the Addison Singers in 1995 and under his direction the choirs have expanded their regular London concert series, sung at major venues in Edinburgh, Paris, Barcelona, Krakow, Milan and have sung on tour in Cornwall, France, Ireland and at the Carnegie Hall (New York) under the baton of Bob Chilcott. In February 2011 David played a major role in the Percy Grainger Celebration held at King’s Place (London), both conducting the main choral concert and leading an afternoon work-shop that attracted a capacity audience. New music is a regular feature of David’s concerts – he has conducted the first performances of works written especially for him and by Gavin Bryars, Cecilia McDowall, Gabriel Jackson, Bob Chilcott, David Matthews, Edwin Roxburgh, Kenneth Hesketh, Howard Skempton and William Bolcom amongst many others.  In January 2012 David lead almost 150 singers in a highly successful singing day focusing on Howard Goodall’s work ‘Eternal Light’ given in the presence of the composer. This was followed in March 2013 by a Singing Day featuring the music of Morten Lauridsen, accompanied by the composer himself at the piano and a further event with Howard Goodall in February 2014 focusing on his recent work 'Every Purpose under the Heaven'

In addition to work with the Addison Singers David Wordsworth was Musical Director of Horsley Choral Society in Surrey (2005-8), has conducted/adjudicated in Hungary, Norway, Mexico and Cuba and in 2007 visited the Philippines, conducting the Philippine Philharmonic in a concert of British music and teaching at the UST Conservatoire in Manila. He has appeared at festivals in many parts of the UK and spent the last three months of 2011 in the US, holding residencies at universities in New York, Michigan, North Carolina and Rhode Island, lecturing on aspects of British music and working with student choirs and conductors. In June 2012 David was Artistic Director of ‘John Ireland in Chelsea’ a major festival celebrating the music of the noted English composer and which featured David as both conductor and pianist, alongside major champions of British music such as the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Mark Bebbington. In February 2013 he was one of four conductors to lead the American composer Stephen Montague’s 70th birthday concert at St John’s Smith Square (London) and in November 2013 appeared with the Addison Singers and Voskresenije (St Petersburg) in music by Russian and English composers. In 2014 David conducted two performances at the Brandenburg Spring Choral Festival in London, a concert of French music at St Martin-in-the-Fields and English and American music at St Clement Danes (London).  In April/May he conducted a concert to celebrate the life Sir John Tavener ; a major performance with the Addison Singers, the Vigila Singers and the Gavin Bryars Ensemble at the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, made a trip to Poland to take part in a choral music conference at the Frederick Chopin University and towards the end of 2014 he conducted a performance of the Verdi Requiem

David is Artistic Director of ‘Singing Shakespeare’, a major project supported by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and running through the next three years, focusing on choirs the world over singing new and existing settings of Shakespeare texts. David conducted choirs from Stratford-upon-Avon in the launch concert at Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon  in April 2014 in a programme that included Vaughan Williams iconic ‘Serenade to Music’, as well as a newly commissioned work from Gary Carpenter and a new arrangement of Stephen Sondheim’s song ‘Fear no More’ that David  undertook with the permission of the composer. David lead a session on 'Singing Shakespeare' at the Association of British Choral Conductors convention in Cardiff in August 2014 and will conduct performances and workshops at a number of major choral festivals during 2015/16.

David’s most recent written publications includes articles on American music, the music of Gavin Bryars, tributes to his friend Sir Richard Rodney Bennett and John McCabe and a two part survey of Polish Choral Music for ‘Choir & Organ’ magazine. His new arrangement for chorus, organ and strings of John Ireland’s anthem ‘Greater Love Hath No Man’ was premiered at the Ireland Festival in June 2012 and later published by Stainer & Bell and he has recently been commissioned to compile and edit no fewer than three choral anthologies which will all will be published in the summer of 2015 - a collection of Christmas pieces by contemporary composers to be published by Cadenza Music , a contribution to the ‘Concerts for Choirs’ series published by Boosey & Hawkes, focusing on opera choruses by Benjamin Britten and a Shakespeare choral anthology to be published by Chester/Novello, that includes new works written for the book by John Joubert, John Harbison and Richard Sisson, alongside well-loved settings of the Bard's texts.

Plans for this season and beyond include a performance of the Mozart Requiem in Vienna ; performances/work-shops at the Mayo Choral Festival (Ireland), the Royal Naval College (Greenwich)and the Ealing Autumn Festival ; in 2016 David will lead a revival of Sir Lennox Berkeley's 'Stabat Mater' that will include performances at several major UK music festivals and a recording (with the Marian Consort and the Berkeley Ensemble) ; looking further ahead he will curate two mini-festivals at King's Place, London focusing on the work of Anthony Burgess and Howard Skempton.

David Wordsworth has served as a Trustee for a number of musical foundations and at present is Music Advisor to both the John Ireland Trust and the International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

Gary Carpenter

Gary Carpenter studied composition under John Lambert at the Royal College of Music. He has lived in Holland and Germany and has written four operas, five musicals and a radio music drama – The One Alone – with Dame Iris Murdoch as well as animated and live action film scores, several ballets including Greyzone (Graz 2000, chor. Christina Comtesse), Kinderspelen (Nederlands Dans Theater 1978, chor. Jiri Kylian, – revived 2014/15 IntroDans, Arnhem) Interactions (NDT 2 1980 chor. Christopher Bruce) and a large amount of concert music including a Horn Concerto for Stephen Stirling and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra andSonatinas (a concerto for alto saxophone and chamber orchestra) for Christian Forshaw and Ensemble 10:10, Liverpool.

He has been musical director and/or arranger-orchestrator on many films including The Wicker Man (1973) and The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. His Van Assendelft’s Vermeer for clavichord won the British Clavichord Society Composition Competition (2004) and was shortlisted for a British Composer Award (2005), whilst hisAzaleas for harp, violin and ‘cello received a Victor Salvi Award in Venice (2004) and won the British Composer Award (2006) in the chamber category. He has also won prizes in Monaco and Vienna and received bursaries and awards from the Arts Council and the Holst and Gulbenkian Foundations.

A portrait CD,Die Flimmerkiste, is released on NMC. His Songs Of Sadness And Piety for voices, saxophone, organ & percussion appears on Christian Forshaw’s CDRenouncement and his Marking Time for basset clarinet appears on Mark Simpson’sPrism CD, also for NMC.

Recent works include The Listening Project Symphony (Radio 4, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, [2012] – nominated for Prix Europa 2013), Fred and Ginger (LSO, Daniel Harding [2011]), Bassoon Concerto (Alan Pendlebury, RLPO, Vasily Petrenko [2011],Piano Trio [Fournier Trio, Wigmore Hall 2011, RPS Prize nomination 2012)] andNiederau (2011) which its commissioner, Tempest Flute Trio, have performed internationally over 30 times. His SET – Concerto for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra was premiered in Manchester with Iain Ballamy (sax), Martin France (kit) and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by HK Gruber [February 2014] - its second performance is in Strasbourg (July 2015).

In a new departure, Gary arranged and directed Satie In Blue, an evening long entertainment for big band first performed in Manchester (June 2014) and Dadaville, (after Max Ernst’s sculpture of the same name) was commissioned by the BBC for the First Night Of The Proms 2015 (BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo).

In 2011, Gary was granted professorial status at the Royal Northern College of Music and in 2013 elected an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music (HonRAM).

Toby Young

Toby Young is a composer from London. He studied composition with Robin Holloway at Cambridge whilst also being a choral scholar in the prestigious King’s College Chapel Choir. Since winning numerous competitions, most notably the International ABRSM Composition Competition (2009) and the Guardian/BBC Proms Young Composer of the Year (2006 and 2008), Toby has been much in demand, both in the UK and abroad, with works being performed at numerous prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Sadlers Wells, and the Cadogan Hall, by renowned ensembles and orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, Fretwork, Britten Sinfonia, CHROMA and Endymion Ensemble, and many choirs including the choirs of King’s College Cambridge, New College Oxford, Westminster Abbey and the BBC Singers.

Commissions have included orchestral and ensemble works for the St. Petersburg British Music Festival, the City of Oxford Sinfonia, and the London School of Economics, as well as solo pieces for the 2007 Brighton Festival, the Birmingham Conservatoire, and the Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Arts (who commissioned a collaborative project with the artist Jeremy Millar RA). Many works have also been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Toby has had a close relationship with LSO, in 2010 as a Panufnik scholar, and in 2012 on the Soundhub Scheme.

Toby also works with D&B and hip-hop artists, including Chase & Status, Jacob Banks and MOKO, and recently worked alongside producer David Kosten and Gareth Malone on their new album ‘Voices’.

Toby is Composer-in-Residence with the London Oriana Choir and Reverie.
His music is published by Faber and Peer Music.

'…a ready appeal which defies stylistic pigeonholing'
Anthony Craig, Gramophone Magazine

'fluent and sophisticated … with good deal to admire'
Barry Millington, Evening Standard 2012

'a remarkably gifted, sensitive and passionate young composer who combines first-class performance expertise with a vast knowledge'
Dominic Peckham, National Youth Choir, 2013

'Of young living composers, Toby Young’s Advent Carol is strikingly impressive, making one look forward to his new large-scale choral works next year'
International Record Review, 2013

Marion Morgan

Marion is an award winning musician and freelance arts administrator. She and David Wordsworth initiated the Singing Shakespeare Project.


This is where the story began Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a working Tudor Farm. We are now closed for winter and will re-open 16 March 2019. Relive Shakespeare’s love story Walk in Shakespeare's footsteps The home of Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna