Whatever style of music you enjoy singing, St Andrews has a group that will cater for you. Group members must join the Music Centre.
Membership by audition
Next production June 2023: Jonathan Dove's Mansfield Park
Auditions on Tuesday 11 October 2022
For more information about Byre Opera or auditioning, please contact one of the following:
- Dr Michael Downes (Music Centre Director) email@example.com
- Jonathan May (Head of Vocal Studies) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Byre Opera presents professionally directed, high-quality opera, performed in English, to audiences in St Andrews and beyond. Singers are drawn mainly from the undergraduate and postgraduate student bodies, but casts have also included young professionals, University staff, and local amateurs.
Singers benefit from regular coaching from internationally renowned opera singers and coaches as well as the opportunity to work with professional directors, designers and orchestral musicians.
Byre Opera (formerly St Andrews Opera) was formed in 2008 by the University’s Director of Music Michael Downes, and has presented fully staged productions each year since then (except during the pandemic). Productions have included all three of Britten’s chamber operas (Turn of the Screw, Albert Herring and Rape of Lucretia), Handel’s Xerxes and Acis and Galatea, Gluck’s Iphigenia in Tauris and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.
In June 2022, Byre Opera presented its first production in the Laidlaw Music Centre: a new version of Debussy’s Pelleas and Melisande with a chamber orchestration by Matthew Rooke and a translation by Janice Galloway. The production was highly praised by a number of critics, including the following:
"Using a new reduced orchestration by Matthew Rooke (12 players, including harmonium, celeste and harp, in a shallow pit surrounded by walkways), the performance had all the intimacy and luminosity one could hope for. There was no perceptible loss of texture, and Michael Downes’s idiomatic musical direction honoured the score's subtlety and intricacy. Kally Lloyd-Jones's spare staging, designed by Janis Hart and shrouded in darkness, relied on hand-held spotlights to illuminate the singers and a sprinkling of decorative motifs. The performance style, seamlessly fusing music and theatre, compelled attention on verbal and physical expression."
Andrew Clark, Opera magazine
"[T]here was an impressive atmosphere of relaxed professionalism around Byre Opera’s chamber version of Claude Debussy’s masterpiece on Wednesday evening … [Kally] Lloyd-Jones and her designer Janis Hart make the fullest use of the venue in their black-and-gold staging. It emerges from the architecture of the McPherson Recital Room, the adaptable 13-piece band in the midst of the action and the auditorium and off-stage areas part of the sonic mix. With mirrored cubes and flying arches becoming pools, caves, beds, towers and windows, and the cast proving themselves adept stage managers and follow-spot operators as well as actors and singers, the production is stylish and splendidly lucid. Maurice Maeterlinck’s symbolist narrative has the clearest exposition, helped in no small measure by a healthy leavening of ironic wit in Galloway’s dialogues between the characters."
Keith Bruce, www.voxcarnyx.com
"The greatest achievement came with the overall standard of singing and acting in such a small scale setting … a hugely effective company performance."
Membership by audition
St Salvator's Chapel Choir is the flagship choir of the University. More information about the choir and how to audition are available on the St Salvator's Chapel Choir website.
Choral and organ scholars are required to join the Music Centre.
Choral and organ scholarships are available for University students.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Chapel Music
Phone: +44 (0)1344 46 2237
St Leonard’s Chapel Choir sings the Office of Compline once a week in the intimate, candle-lit surroundings of St Leonard's Chapel. The choir is unauditioned, and all University students and staff are welcome to join.
St Leonard's Chapel Choir was founded by the Rev Douglas Gifford, then a professor of Spanish at the University. Today, the choir is directed by the holder of the Douglas Gifford Scholarship, which is awarded on an annual basis.
If you are interested in singing with St Leonard's Chapel Choir, simply come to a rehearsal or contact the Douglas Gifford Scholar for more information by emailing email@example.com.
There are scholarships available for University students in the choir which are auditioned for at the beginning of every academic year.
Rehearsals and services
Rehearsals take place on Thursdays at 8.30pm
Services take place on Thursdays at 10pm to 10.25pm
Membership by audition
Founded in 1955, this choir of around 25 singers offers the opportunity to sing some of the finest choral music ever written, that of the glorious polyphony of the 16th century. More information is on the choir's website.
The Renaissance Singers award up to three scholarships per year: one specifically for a tenor, plus two others. Students should be experienced choral singers with some sight-reading ability. Please contact director Gillian Craig firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Assistant Conductor Award 2022-23: in addition to the above, we will appoint a suitable member of the choir as assistant-conductor. The appointee will be given podium experience each week, the possibility of directing part of a performance, and weekly mentoring. For further details and to apply, please email director Gillian Craig email@example.com.
Scholarship holders are required to:
• sing in weekly rehearsals on Tuesday evenings during semester
• perform in all scheduled concerts and evensong performances in St Salvator's Chapel and in venues around Scotland
• attend occasional tours in the UK and Europe
• take an active part in the running of the choir
• join the Music Centre
The scholarships cover the cost of a full year's singing tuition at the Music Centre or choral directing with the choir.
For a place in the choir without a scholarship, please contact the director Gillian Craig firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an audition.
Please note that all members of the choir are required to join the Music Centre.
Weekly rehearsals take place on Tuesdays from 5.30pm to 7pm in St Salvator's Chapel.
For more information about joining the St Andrews Renaissance Singers, please email Gillian Craig at email@example.com.
St Andrews Chorus is Scotland's largest choral society, and since 2018 has been affiliated to the University of St Andrews Music Centre. For more information, see the St Andrews Chorus website.
The StAMP (St Andrews Music Participation) Children’s Choir is a fun programme introducing children to the joy of singing in a group with others. Whilst learning a wide range of songs and games, participants will also develop their skills in coordination, memory and team building through the choir that will benefit them in other areas of their lives.
The choir is led by Claire Innes-Hopkins. Concerts will be performed two to three times per year when conditions permit.
The group is currently for primary-aged pupils in P4 – P7. No previous experience of singing is necessary.
To register an interest and for further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44 (0)1334 46 2226.
All members of the choir must join the Music Centre. The membership fee covers all costs associated with the choir.
Rehearsals: Tuesdays 5-5.45pm, Laidlaw Music Centre, Queen’s Terrace KY16 9QF
Dates: The choir runs during Fife Council term time.
The McPherson Singers is a friendly chamber choir intended primarily for staff and postgraduates, though members also include alumni, retired staff and friends of the University. Members should have some prior experience of choral singing and be able to read music. The choir is directed by Michael Downes, the University’s Director of Music, and meets on Thursdays between 1.05pm and 1.55pm in the Laidlaw Music Centre. Current repertoire focuses on Romantic and early twentieth-century part-songs, including Hubert Parry's Songs of Farewell. For more information please email Michael on email@example.com. Members should join the Music Centre.