Dublin revisited

A guest post by Samir Savant

Dublin has to be one of my favourite cities in the world – the legendary craic, amazing culture, friendly people, and most of all such happy and indelible memories of my many visits there. It is firmly anchored in the history of my twenty plus years of singing with Pegasus and fixing the choir.

There have been three previous Pegasus Dublin trips, in 1998, 1999 and in 2003, the latter with Matthew conducting. Each time we sang as visiting choir at Christ Church Cathedral, stayed at Kinlay House youth hostel and drank at the Lord Edward pub – this became a kind of Bermuda triangle from which we mostly never strayed.


Back then e-mails were new-fangled and organising choir events was all done by phone and paper forms, so there is not much documentation to act as a reminder. But there are thankfully treasured memories of the music sung and plenty of photos of friendships forged. We were definitely ‘young and fresh-voiced’ back then, in our 20s and 30s in a city with one of Europe’s youngest populations. I remember the exuberant double choir Magnificat by Irishman Charles Villiers Stanford, and the expressive Rheinberger Cantus Missae, again for double choir, and there is even photographic evidence of my cartwheels on the green outside the Cathedral, something not to be repeated in my 50s!

So the Dublin trips quickly became the stuff of Pegasus legend, a bit like Winchelsea has become since, but Dublin was responsible for much more. Having started out as an ‘ad hoc’ group in the mid-1990s, the success of the second trip inspired me to establish Pegasus on a more stable footing, with a regular calendar of concerts in London, a choir committee, and a permanent conductor. Even our name changed – in 2003 we came to Dublin as The Pegasus Choir, but left as simply Pegasus, a rebrand affected by my friend Andrew McLellan, then precentor at the Cathedral, who came up with the new name.

How wonderful that 20 years after our last visit we are going again, and singing alongside the Mornington Singers who are based there. Most of the choir has of course changed in that time, although there will still be a handful of singers who will have memories of the previous trips. There will be many scurrilous stories to be shared over a pint or two of the black nectar, including of our visit out to Dalkey to try and find Bono’s house, which we never managed to do (but had a jolly good lunch instead), or the bus-tour of the Dublin squares and their beautiful Georgian doors and an eccentric guide who gave us a rather quirky rendition of ‘Molly Malone’.

I will certainly relish visiting old haunts – the Lord Edward will no doubt still be there serving Guinness and toasties, but the Front Lounge, Ireland’s first ‘metrosexual’ bar, is long gone; Fishamble Street near Christ Church where Handel’s Messiah was first performed; and a private pilgrimage to the National Gallery of Ireland to see Caravaggio’s Taking of Christ, one of my very favourite paintings. Most of all I look forward to making new memories with new friends.

New YouTube channel

We have created a new YouTube channel  and have compiled various clips from over the years, including three videos we recorded while in lockdown. These are Bushes and Briars by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Verleih uns Frieden by Felix Mendelssohn and I heard a voice by Thomas Tomkins, all masterminded by our AMD Quintin Beer.

You can find the YouTube page here.


Virtually together! Bach B minor Mass – Dona Nobis Pacem

On Sunday June 7th, we took part in a virtual performance of the Dona Nobis Pacem from Bach’s masterpiece, the B minor Mass. This was in place of our planned Tilford Bach Festival concert of the whole Mass which would have happened on the day before.

The programme also includes four students from the Royal College of Music performing movements from Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. All proceeds are going to the professional musicians who usually play at Tilford Bach Festival and have lost the vast majority of their income due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Please consider clicking here to buy a ticket for  the whole concert for £9.95. Our concert is Concert 2. Alternatively, you can view our contribution here free of charge.

J.S. Bach Partita No.2 in D minor BWV 1004 for solo violin
Allemanda; Corrente
Rebecca Baratto, violin

J.S. Bach Sonata No.3 in C major BWV 1005 for solo violin
Largo; Allegro assai
Max Wong, violin

J.S. Bach Partita No.1 in B minor BWV 1002 for solo violin
Allemanda; Double
Ines Delgado, violin

J.S. Bach Partita No.3 in E major BWV 1006 for solo violin
Loure; Gavotte en Rondeau
Maxim del Mar, violin

J.S. Bach Mass in B minor BWV 232
Dona nobis pacem

Pegasus Choir
Tilford Festival Orchestra
Conductor, Adrian Butterfield

Future plans

Planning is well underway for our concerts for 2020 and even into 2021! All events will be posted in the Events section so please do check back regularly, or sign up to our mailing list.

Our Christmas concert takes place on December 17th 2019 at St James’ Garlickhythe. All the details are on our Event page and we hope you are able to join us.

From all at Pegasus, may we thank you for your support in 2019 and wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Springtime rounds in and out of London

We’re doing the rounds of venues outside London and in the capital this spring. Join us for concerts of Bach, Handel and more in Farnham, Tilford and at St Johns Smith Square.

Following our appearance at the Brandenburg Choral Festival of London in March, we’re looking forward to two performances outside the capital in the next couple of months. May takes us to Farnham for a concert for the Tilford Bach Society, where we always enjoy a warm welcome. Typically we perform with orchestra in Farnham, but on May 11 we’re offering a programme of unaccompanied music, including works by J.S. Bach and masters of the French and English Renaissance, as well as meditative pieces by contemporary composers Gabriel Jackson and Arvo Pärt.

We’ll be back with the Tilford Bach Society on June 16 – but this time in its home town, or rather, its home village in Surrey. With the London Handel Orchestra we’ll be singing Handel’s short oratorio “The Choice of Hercules”, as well as Bach’s wonderful “Magnificat”. And we repeat the concert two days later back in London, at St Johns Smith Square.

Find out more about each concert, including ticket information, on our events page.

Pegasus’s new CD: For the Fallen

For the Fallen CD cover

We’re delighted to announce the release of our second CD, For the Fallen: Choral music from the time of the Great War. Featuring works by Mahler, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Holst, Stanford and Ivor Gurney, among others, it is a collection of beautiful music written around the time of the first world war. The war was the first major conflict to generate an outpouring of creative work from those who either fought on the battlefields, or were deeply affected by it. Our recording is a tribute to the memories of those who died, and a celebration of the musical response to the Great War.

The Signum Classics release has already featured on BBC Radio 3, and it is available for purchase as a CD (£11.75), as a digital download (£8) or for streaming.

Reflective, stirring and uplifting, For the Fallen is the perfect musical accompaniment for the centenary of the Armistice, and a gift that will give lasting pleasure.


Pegasus welcomes Quintin Beer as our new Associate Musical Director

Quintin Beer

Pegasus are delighted to welcome Quintin Beer as our associate musical director, chosen from a strong field of outstanding candidates. During this year-long appointment Quintin will assist our musical director, Matthew Altham, with rehearsals, programming and planning. He will direct the choir in a performance for the first time on October 25, at St Martin in the Fields, London.

Quintin studied music at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he was an assistant conductor for the university, conducting concerts and fully staged performances of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. He is director of music at St Cuthbert’s Church, Earls Court, musical director of Yateley Choral Society, and a founding member and associate musical director of the professional ensemble Mousai. Quintin has conducted the Rodolfus Choir live on BBC Radio 3, and has worked with Shadwell Opera and the BBC Singers. He was recently awarded second prize at the Dima International Music Competition for choral conducting in Cluj, Romania.

As a singer, Quintin sang in the choirs of St John’s College, Cambridge and St Thomas, Fifth Avenue, New York. He continues to sing regularly in London churches and cathedrals. Quintin was musician-in-residence at North London Collegiate School until 2017 and continues to work on the annual Eton Choral Courses. He is currently studying choral conducting with Patrick Russill at the Royal Academy of Music.

Pegasus seeks Associate Musical Director

Pegasus invites ambitious choral conductors to apply for the role of Associate Musical Director for a 12-month placement commencing in Septebmer 2018.

This paid position will provide an opportunity to gain experience working with a prestigious and active chamber choir, and rehearsing a wide range of challenging music to a high standard. The intention is that this will act as a springboard to the candidate’s career as a successful choral conductor.

For full details please download the position description.

“My year working with Pegasus was full of variety, fantastic music and thoroughly enjoyable rehearsals. From leading performances at a quintessential Landmark Trust home to preparing the choir for a performance of Acis and Galatea for London’s Handel Festival, no two projects were the same and I learnt a huge amount from working with this experienced choir. My highlight was programming and leading a rehearsal weekend and concert in January, which allowed me to conduct Copland’s In The Beginning, a work I never could have hoped to tackle this early in my career. This is a fabulous opportunity which I recommend without hesitation.”

Jessica Norton

Jessica Norton, Pegasus Associate Musical Director 2017-18

New year, new beginnings

We’ve enjoyed a short break following our three performances in December and are now looking forward to our first performance of 2018 – which is also the first concert with the full choir directed by Jessica Norton, our assistant musical director. Since her appointment last spring, Jess has been working with Pegasus in rehearsals and led a small ensemble from the choir in madrigals and partsongs at Goddards House in Surrey last summer. For her London Pegasus debut, she has chosen an intriguing programme of music around the theme of the biblical creation story, culminating in Aaron Copland’s magisterial In the Beginning, a rarely heard piece that promises to make quite an impact in the reverberant acoustics of St George’s, Bloomsbury. Read more about this free concert here.

Alongside this concert we’re also beginning rehearsals for two performances of Handel’s opera Acis and Galatea, which will take place in March. We’re excited to have the opportunity to work on a staged production with conductor Laurence Cummings and director Martin Parr, with outstanding soloists and the ever-excellent London Handel Orchestra. More details and ticket information can be found here.

Lighting up the Christmas season

A warmly enthusiastic audience greeted our first carol concert in the City of London on December 1, when we sang at St Botolph’s Bishopsgate. The church was lit by candles and the bright glow of a Christmas tree, which made a festive setting for seasonal works by Mendelssohn, John Ireland, Harold Darke, William Mathias and others. Readings from Robert Bridges, Dickens and Saki punctuated the musical offerings, and the audience joined us for three carols. The climax was Moses Hogan’s arrangement of the spiritual “Go, Tell It On The Mountain”, which sent everybody out in good cheer to the church hall for mulled wine and mince pies.

Photo credit: Andrea Liu

Photo credit: Andrea Liu


Photo credit: Andrea Liu

We will round out the Christmas season providing the music for two carol services, one at the Charterhouse, which is fast becoming an annual tradition, and another for the community carol service of Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham, where we have sung for many years.  After a break over the holidays we’ll be jumping back into rehearsals for our next performances in January and March. Read about those here!