EX CATHEDRA | About us

Hailed as “one of Britain’s very best choirs” (New York Times), Ex Cathedra is a world-class vocal ensemble which leads the choral sector in the fields of performance, learning and wellbeing.

For more than 50 years we have been producing highly-acclaimed concerts and participatory projects, and nurturing young musicians from our youth training choirs to our student and graduate Scholar schemes.

We enjoy an international reputation for our performances of the best, the unfamiliar and the unexpected, and take pride in developing the repertoire through researching and reviving little-known gems, commissioning new work, and developing exciting ways of engaging audiences and participants.

Founded by Jeffrey Skidmore in Birmingham in 1969, the group has grown into a unique musical resource, comprising specialist chamber choir, vocal Consort, period-instrument orchestra and a thriving education and participation programme. We are an Associate Artist at the B:Music venues Symphony Hall and Town Hall, and have appeared at festivals and concert series across the UK and as far afield as New York and Tel Aviv.

As well as bringing new insights to choral masterpieces, we are committed to expanding the choral repertoire. We have recorded three best-selling CDs of newly re-discovered music from the Latin American Baroque and are regarded as leading interpreters of music from the French Baroque.

We are also proud of our reputation for championing new choral music. Highlights have included Stockhausen’s World Parliament from Mittwoch aus Licht, James MacMillan’s oratorio Seven Angels, A Shakespeare Masque by the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and composer Sally Beamish, and several major works from John Joubert, Alec Roth and Liz Dilnot Johnson.

Ex Cathedra has made a significant number of award-winning recordings for Hyperion, NMC, Orchid Classics, SOMM, Signum, and on our own label, including the Gramophone Award-winning  A French Baroque Diva with Carolyn Sampson. Our most recent recording, The Traveller by Alec Roth, is now available on our website ahead of its official launch in July.

Alongside our concerts, we deliver an extensive programme of award-winning schools, wellbeing and community projects, led by a team of expert vocal tutors. We believe that singing is for everyone, and that singing together transforms individuals into a community, boosts wellbeing, builds confidence, teamwork and empathy. We want everyone to experience the remarkable benefits of singing and of inspirational choral music.

Nurturing talent is at the heart of our work. Our Academy of Vocal Music choirs offer a wide range of creative, learning and performing activities with a nurturing ethos. The choirs perform alongside Ex Cathedra and independently including, for example, the annual performances of The Nutcracker with Birmingham Royal Ballet. We are always pleased to welcome new singers – do get in touch.

Our choral Scholarships programme provides a year-long scheme for recent graduates seeking to establish their professional singing career, and our Student Scholarships provides opportunities for singers studying at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

We have worked in over 1,000 schools across the UK and also schools in Belgium, China, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand. We have developed an innovative programme that brings the best of online and ‘in person’ support to classrooms. To put singing at the heart of your school and gain to access resources that inspire, enable and support pupils and teachers, visit our dedicated www.singingschools.co.uk website.

Our dedicated www.singingmedicine.co.uk site is the place to find out more about our work to support health and wellbeing, from bedside sessions at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to dementia groups, mental health, Long Covid and stroke recovery.

There are spaces and places for you to sing with us too! We run a wellbeing-focused community choir in Ladywood and offer drop-in sessions for adults, and for parents/carers with toddlers. Get in touch to find out more, we’d love to see you there.

Meet our musicians, and find out more about our name.