Westminster Abbey Choir

By Harshitha Jagathiesh

The Westminster Abbey Choir is internationally acclaimed as one of the finest choirs of its kind. 

It consists of around thirty boys, who are students at the Abbey’s unique Choir School, and twelve professional adult singers called Lay Vicars. 

The Westminster Abbey Choir has a rich performing tradition spanning centuries and performs a diverse repertoire. 

This repertoire includes plainsong, Tudor polyphony, twentieth-century masterpieces, and newly commissioned works.

Establishment in the late 14th century, when Westminster Abbey was a Benedictine monastery, the primary role of the Choir was to sing the daily services. 

Additionally, it has become a central presence in numerous royal, state, and national occasions held at the Abbey, many of which are broadcast worldwide. 

Notable events include:

  • the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
  • the diamond jubilee service commemorating the coronation of HM The Queen
  • memorial services for prominent figures such as Peter Hall, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela, and Terry Wogan

Alongside its liturgical commitments, the Westminster Abbey Choir engages in multiple activities, including recordings, concerts, and tours.

The choir is directed by principal conductor James O’Donnell. 

The Choir has performed extensively globally, including in the Far East, the United States, Russia, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Germany, and France. 

Noteworthy collaborations include the historic joint performance with the Sistine Chapel Choir at a Papal Mass in St Peter’s Basilica in 2012. 

Another commendable performance would be their return visit to Rome at the invitation of Pope Francis in 2017. 

The Choir presents an annual concert series at the Abbey, participates in the London Festival of Baroque Music, and has appeared at venues and festivals. 

The Westminster Abbey Choir has enjoyed a successful recording partnership with the Hyperion label. 

Their critically acclaimed catalog encompasses a wide range of repertoire spanning six centuries. 

This includes music collections for significant church celebrations, Tudor compositions by Byrd, Ludford, Taverner, and Tye, Parry’s ceremonial music, etc. 

Are you looking for the best tickets to explore Westminster Abbey?

Here are some of the best tickets for visiting Westminster Abbey and London. 

Entry ticket: Get the opportunity to tour around the cathedral, bell tower, tombs and more with the Westminster Abbey entry ticket.

Guided tour: Tour the famous Westminster Abbey with an expert guide and gain insights about the famous attraction

St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey: Enjoy St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey with one ticket.

Westminster Abbey and Afternoon Tea: Tour the Cathedral and visit the Cellarium Cafe for an English afternoon tea. 

Westminster Abbey and House of Parliament guided tour: Get a tour of the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. 

London Pass: Enjoy access to over 85 attractions, including Westminster Abbey, with just one pass. 

Go City London explorer pass: Visit Westminster Abbey along with 1 to 6 other attractions with this pass. 

Featured Image: Westminster-abbey.org

About the author

Harshitha’s heart lies where greeny mountains meet stretches of beach. She believes getting lost is the best way to explore