Neil Ferris - Music Director
Neil Ferris was appointed as Music Director of Wimbledon Choral Society in 2009 and has helped establish it as one of London’s leading amateur choirs. Neil is also the Artistic Director and conductor of the professional chamber choir Sonoro
and in 2017 he was appointed the new Chorus Director of the BBC Symphony Chorus
In demand as chorus master to the finest symphonic choruses in the UK, Neil has worked with the London Symphony Chorus
, the Bach Choir, the BBC National Chorus of Wales and at the Endellion Festival
. In these roles he has prepared choirs for internationally acclaimed conductors including Valery Gergiev, Sir Simon Rattle, Marin Alsop, Bernard Haitink, Carlo Rizzi, Ed Gardner, Donald Runnicles, Martyn Brabbins and Ryan Wigglesworth.
Formerly Head of Choral Conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Neil helped establish the international reputation of the choral conducting course and developed the conservatoire’s choral ensembles. This summer he prepared the chamber choir to join the BBC Proms Youth Choir with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle and conducted them on stage at the Wales Millennium Centre in a collaboration with international ballet dancer Carlos Acosta.
Neil has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, New Queens Hall Orchestra, Haydn Chamber Orchestra, Salomon Orchestra, Orchestra Vitae
and the period instrument ensembles Florilegium
and Apollo Baroque. He made his Royal Opera House debut in 2012 in a ROH2 production of Will Tuckett’s ballet The Wind in the Willows
Recordings include an album of the choral music of Jonathan Dove with Convivium Singers released on the Naxos label and Fauré’s Requiem on the Convivium Records label. He has also prepared the chorus for the LSO Live recordings of Berlioz Roméo et Juliette, Brahms Requiem and Szymanowski Stabat Mater.
Michael Higgins – Accompanist
studied piano with Margaret Newman at the Birmingham Conservatoire and at the
Royal Academy of Music, London, with Iain Ledingham and Julius Drake. He was awarded the Joseph
Weingarten Memorial Trust Scholarship and completed his studies with Kálmán
Dráfi at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Budapest.
Regularly performing throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and further afield,
he has given concerto performances with the New London Soloists Orchestra at St
Martin in the Fields and worked with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain
conducted by Daniel Barenboim and Gustavo Dudamel (BBC Proms). Michael
has collaborated with popular choirmaster Gareth Malone and appeared on the Queen’s
Christmas Message in 2012, accompanying the Military Wives Choir, filmed at Buckingham
Recordings include Waves
with flautist Averil Williams (Fine Arts Music), Hugh Benham: A Triumph Song
(Convivium Records) and he was producer for a disc of choral music by Jonathan Dove released by Naxos. A recording of his arrangement of Fauré's Requiem
for string quintet and organ has been released by Convivium Records.
Michael studied organ with Andrew Fletcher, was Organ Scholar at Birmingham Metropolitan Cathedral and is currently Director of Music at the Church of St John the Baptist, Wimbledon. He accompanies the Wimbledon Choral Society and the National Children's Choir of Great Britain.
As a composer and arranger he has answered a number of commissions for television commercials and corporate films, including last year's Waitrose Christmas advert, and arrangements for the album Voices
on the Decca label, the ClassicBRIT awards, BBC Children in Need, the Royal Variety Performance and a new season of It Takes a Choir
for American television. Many of his choral and organ works are published
by Novello, Kevin Mayhew Publishers and the Royal School of Church Music