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coming together through music

We love to share our musical passion through live concerts and recordings

over 50 years experience

Swansea Bach Choir was formed by John Hugh Thomas in 1965 with the specific aim of presenting the very best choral works from the past five centuries to as wide a public as possible and in as professional and authentic a manner as possible.

The choir is renowned for its performances of Baroque music, in particular the major works of Bach.  Its performance of the Matthäus-Passion, given with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, was the first time this great masterpiece had been heard in Wales accompanied by a period orchestra.  Other such 'firsts' include performances of Bach's Johannes-Passion and Mass in B Minor, Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610, Purcell's King Arthur, Messiah, and several of the late masses of Haydn, all accompanied by London-based period orchestras.

At the other end of the historical spectrum the choir's performance of the Rachmaninov Vespers, the first by a Welsh choir, was highly acclaimed.  It has also performed many twentieth century works, including major compositions by Pizzetti, Frank Martin, Howells, Britten, Duruflé and works by several Welsh composers.

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With a forty strong choir and fantastic volunteers behind the scenes here are some of our talented team who work tirelessly to create the music and concerts you all love

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Greg Hallam - Conductor

Greg Hallam gained his bachelor degree from the Royal College of Music where he studied voice with Ashley Stafford.  He went on to study Choral Conducting with Patrick Russill and Paul Brough at the Royal Academy of Music and was awarded an MA and LRAM, both with distinction. 

Greg is Musical Director of Swansea Bach Choir, Bracknell Choral Society and Reading Festival Chorus.  He is tutor to the postgraduate choral conducting students at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.  Greg is proud to have helped set-up the London Youth Choir in 2012, directing their boys’ choir and training choir for four years and delivering workshops as part of their 'Aspire' scheme.  In addition he has worked as Assistant Music Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and founded the Ulster Youth Junior Choir in 2017. 

As singing teacher at Wellington College and Christchurch Cathedral School, Oxford, Greg teaches individual lessons to young singers aged 8-18.  In addition, he works closely with Worcester College, Oxford; delivering regular workshops for the chapel choir, providing vocal tuition to undergraduate students and helping produce their four most recent recordings. 

Recently, Greg has been working with Mahogony Opera Group as Music Director for their 'Snappy Operas' – teaching and conducting ten newly-commissioned 10-minute operas to children in Cornwall, Durham and Essex. 

In May 2019, Greg was awarded an ARAM (Associate of the Royal Academy of Music) for his significant contribution to the music profession. 

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Alex Jenkins - Accompanist

Alex Jenkins read music at the University of Nottingham, graduating with a BA(Hons) and an MA. He was appointed Musician-in-Residence at Christ’s Hospital School in West Sussex for two years, where he later worked as a visiting piano teacher. Alex graduated with distinction in his MPerf in Piano Accompaniment at the Royal College of Music under the tutelage of Simon Lepper, Roger Vignoles and Andrew Zolinsky. Whilst there Alex was awarded the Titanic Memoriam Prize for best performance by a pianist in the Lies Askonas Vocal Competition and an accompanist’s prize at the Brooks-van der Pump English Song Competition, as well as performing at the Wigmore Hall and the V&A Museum. He is currently a professional accompanist and vocal coach at the Royal Welsh College of Music, working predominantly with the Vocal, Choral Conducting and Opera departments, as well as coaching in a summer residency at Sherborne School of Music. Alex regularly works with choirs, currently accompanying for Swansea Bach Choir and Kenfig Hill & District Male Voice Choir.

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Calon Lân Centre 

The Calon Lân Project originated as an idea from a renewed interest in Mynyddbach Chapel and its rich heritage. In 2011 the chapel was on the point of dereliction but through the combined efforts of Reverend Grenville Fisher, Roy Church and the support of Treboeth Historical Association the building was saved. A project was set up to encourage and maintain an understanding of local heritage and to establish collaboration with other local organisations.

Mynyddbach has a rich cultural heritage and is the burial place of Daniel James who had the Bardic name of Gwyrosydd. Daniel wrote the words of the famous Welsh Hymn Calon Lân.

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John Hugh Thomas

John Hugh Thomas began his professional career as Director of Music at King Edward School, Stourbridge.  After three years in that post he was appointed Lecturer in Music (later Senior Lecturer) at Swansea University, a post he held for some thirty years. During this time he formed the Swansea Bach Choir, which became recognised as one of the country’s most accomplished chamber choirs, and established the Swansea Bach Week, one of the country’s first international early music festivals. 

During this time he was also a member of the Heinrich Schütz Choir and the Monteverdi Choir of London, performing in most European countries, in Israel, Scandinavia and in America.


He has conducted several professional orchestras, including the Hanover Band, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, and has been guest conductor with many amateur and professional choirs including the BBC Singers and the Netherlands Radio Chorus

In 1983 he formed the BBC Welsh Chorus (BBCNOW) and was its Chorus Master for twelve years, conducting several broadcast concerts and collaborating with many distinguished international conductors. He assisted in the formation of the National Youth Choir of Wales in 1984 and was its conductor for three years ending his time with them by directing the annual Bach Memorial Concert at St Thomas Church, Leipzig in July 1992.

He has written and presented a number of programmes for radio and television including a series on Schubert songs with Bryn Terfel and Malcolm Martineau, made in Vienna, and shown on BBC TV. From 1997-1999 he was Head of Vocal Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. In July 1996 he was awarded the OBE for his services to music in Wales and in 2000 was made a Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

He formed Swansea Bach Choir in 1965 and remains involved as President and guest conductor. 

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