Choir Photograph 7 November 2023

Following an audition on Tuesday 9 August 2022, we were delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Tierney as Musical Director. Paul began rehearsals with the Choir on Tuesday 30 August 2022.

Peter Parfitt stepped down as our Musical Director in July 2022 after twelve years of dedicated service to Aberdeen Bach Choir. Peter was a highly capable and inspirational conductor, who instilled belief in every singer and guided us ably through many memorable and varied performances. He was valued and respected by us all. For this we thank him and wish him the very best going forward.


To mark our sixtieth Anniversary in 2016, the choir followed the example of many other musical ensembles and appointed patrons. We were delighted that two very distinguished musicians, leaders in their own fields, accepted our invitation to fulfil that role: Professor John Butt O.B.E. and Dame Emma Kirkby.

John Butt is a distinguished Bach scholar and author of a number of books on Bach and the music of the Baroque period. He is the Musical Director of the Dunedin Consort with whom he has made a number of highly acclaimed and award winning recordings including all the major works of JS Bach. He is also a Principal Artist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.  

In 2011 he was awarded the Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation’s Bach Prize, for his work in the performance and scholarship of Bach. In 2013 John Butt was awarded the medal of the Royal College of Organists and the OBE for his services to music in Scotland.

An internationally renowned soprano whose distinctive voice is particularly suited to her specialism in early music, Emma Kirkby is very popular with Aberdeen audiences where she has performed numerous times in the Music Hall, at Aberdeen University and twice in recent years in St Machar’s Cathedral with Aberdeen Bach Choir. She was a founder member of the Taverner Choir and in 1973 began a long association with the Consort of Musicke. She has made well over 100 recordings. 

In 2007 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and then in 2010 she was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music an honour awarded for her “contribution to the nation’s musical life”.

She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music by Aberdeen University in 2012, where she is a Visiting Fellow in Performance.


Management Committee

Aberdeen Bach Choir is administered by an elected management committee whose members also act as Trustees of the charity.

Following the Annual General Meeting on 27 September 2023, the Management Committee members for 2023 are:
Chair - Angela Slater
Vice Chair - George Cameron
Secretary - Kate Graham
Treasurer - Alison Gathercole
Publicity Manager - Pam Hoy
Stage Manager - Alyson Smith
Librarian - Becky Docea*
Ordinary Members - Jim Hardy, Jane Kirk, Margaret Macaulay*, Janet Wendes*.

* newly elected

Musical Director Paul Tierney attends management committee meetings ex officio but is not a trustee and is not qualified to vote.


Conductors & Musical Directors

James Lobban, Conductor

Former Conductor - James Lobban

Willan Swainson 1956 - 1957
John B. Dalby 1957 - 1960
Graham R. Wiseman 1960 - 1967
David Murray 1967 - 1969
James G. Lobban 1969 - 2006
Gordon Jack 2006 - 2010 (Musical Director)
Peter Parfitt 2010 - 2022 (Musical Director)
Paul Tierney 2022 — (Musical Director)

James Lobban

An accomplished musician, our longest serving conductor James Lobban was educated locally at Mile-End Primary School and Aberdeen Grammar School before graduating from Aberdeen University with an Honours Degree in Music in 1964. In 1959 he played organ in a performance of the 'Messiah' at Inverurie West Church and in 1962 James became organist at Rutherford Church of Scotland in Aberdeen. 1966 saw James become Principal Teacher of Music at Inverurie Academy and despite this new challenge, he still managed to fit in a solo performance of Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto in G minor with the University Symphony Orchestra the following year. He moved on to become Principal Teacher of Music at Hazlehead Academy, a post he held until shortly before his death on Friday 10 November 2006. A dedicated member of St. Machar's Cathedral Choir, James sang bass and in 1981 was promoted to the post of Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral, which he held until his death. James was Principal Examiner in Music for Scotland from 1987 until 1995. 

James joined Aberdeen Bach Choir on a part-time basis in the 1960s and was promoted to the position of conductor in 1969, becoming largely responsible for the varied repertoire performed over the years. He continued as conductor until, after the December 2005 concert, illness forced him to give up his duties.

Tributes to James, whose contribution to the life of the Choir is incalculable, have been written by Robert Wilson and Alison Shiel. An obituary by Gordon Casely appeared in The Herald on 15 November 2006. Alan Falconer, Minister at the Cathedral, delivered a moving tribute at the funeral service held in St Machar's Cathedral on 16 November 2006.

Elma Reid 

Elma Reid

Elma Reid

Elma Reid, who passed away on 15 January 2008, was our last remaining founder member, having sung under six conductors. Elma had been a member of the choir for over fifty years; she is sadly missed by all who knew her.

Elma was a Primary School teacher, ending her career as Head Teacher of Kirkhill Primary School. She was a keen golfer and was Captain of Murcar Links Ladies Golf Club.

There was a memorial service for Elma in Queen's Cross Church, Aberdeen on Friday 25 January 2008 at 12 noon. During the service, members of the Aberdeen Bach Choir, conducted by Gordon Jack, sang the Bach Passion Chorale and President Ros Grant gave a tribute to Elma. 

Aberdeen Bach Choir
Scottish Registered Charity Number SC008609

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