Gavin Carr is chorus master of the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, and has recently been chorus master for Wexford Opera and Bristol Bach Choir. He has a distinguished career as a baritone soloist, as well as a growing reputation as a conductor. His work is widely recognised for its motivational qualities and his musical skill in eliciting remarkable performances from professionals and amateurs alike.
Gavin was born in London and studied music and art history at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was a Choral Scholar in the celebrated Chapel Choir. He then emigrated for five years to Australia, where he began his conducting career working with leading ensembles including the Victoria State Opera Chorus and Pipeline Ensemble, and also appeared as baritone in a repertoire ranging from the fourteenth century to a number of world-premieres. Returning to Europe, it was as a singer that Gavin Carr made his debut at the Händel Festspiele in Halle as Manoah in Samson, and for the next ten years it was as baritone that he made his name, appearing at many festivals and with major orchestras and choruses worldwide in concert and recital.
Numerous opera appearances with companies in the UK (Scottish Opera, Opera North, Opera Project, Pimlico Opera), France, Ireland, Australia and Italy added to his growing reputation. In 2003 Gavin sought to capitalize on this experience in exploring the role of conductor, and to that end he accepted the post of Music Director of The Athenaeum Singers in Warminster, swiftly following this with Assistant Conductor at the Wexford Festival and at theCantiere d’Arte di Montepulciano. At Wexford he was subsequently appointed Chorus Master in 2006 to develop a new Irish-based chorus. He returned there in 2007 to make his operatic conducting debut with the Peter Brook version of Bizet’s La Tragédie de Carmen, which was nominated for an Irish Times Arts Award . An affiliation with the professional orchestra Bath Philharmonia began in 2006 when he was appointed Associate Principal Conductor and concerts in 2007 included Haydn’s ‘Nelson’ Mass and a tour of Handel’s Messiah.
In April 2007 Gavin made his debut with the English Chamber Orchestra, conducting an all-star cast including Emma Kirkby, Sarah Connolly and James Gilchrist in the St Matthew Passion in Bath Abbey. This event saw the inauguration of a new professional choir, Chorus Angelorum. In 2008 Chorus Angelorum made a warmly-received debut in Italy singing Messiaen’s Trois petites liturgies de la presence divine with Jan Latham-Koenig and the orchestra of the Teatro Regio at the Turin opera house. In August 2007, Gavin Carr returned to Italy with Chorus Angelorum for performances of Carmina Burana at the Festivals in Naples, Montepulciano, Bologna and Llubljana. The first recording for Chorus Angelorum is Paul Carr’s Requiem for an Angel, with Bath Philharmonia under Gavin Carr, for the Stone Records label, released November 2010, and chosen by Classic FM radio as its ‘CD of the week’ on its first release.
In 2007 Gavin took over the Chorus Mastership of South West Festival Chorus from Jeffrey Skidmore, and this weekend-workshop chorus has gone from strength to strength with performances and tours of the Brahms Deutsches Requiem and the Bach B Minor Mass with over 200 participants. In 2009 the chorus performed Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem, and toured The Dream of Gerontius to China to present the first ever mainland performances of Elgar’s masterpiece in Shanghai and Beijing.
In 2009 Gavin took up two important new posts as Music Director of the Bristol Bach Choir, and Chorus Director of the celebrated Bournemouth Symphony Chorus. In 2011 and 2012 he was Chorus Master for the Wexford Festival Opera Chorus.
He still finds time for some singing work, and recent appearances include Golijov’s Grammy Award-winning opera Ainadamar with Dawn Upshaw and the CBSO at Birmingham Symphony Hall and the Barbican, and Britten’s War Requiem at the Teatro Municipal opera in Santiago, Chile, and for the Novaya Opera, Moscow.