Brandenburg Choral Festival


Rachmaninov – Vespers

The Purcell Singers
Mark Ford Conductor

The performance will last for one hour without an interval.


One of London’s leading chamber choirs, The Purcell Singers was formed in 1994 by conductor and organist Mark Ford. We have performed extensively in London venues including St James’s Piccadilly, Southwark and St Paul’s Cathedrals and St John’s Smith Square, as well as outside London at the Brighton, Hurst and Howden Festivals, St Alban’s Cathedral and at the Langen Festival in Frankfurt. In May 2011 the choir was awarded ‘Best Classical Performance’ at the Brighton Festival. The choir’s President is Sarah Walker CBE.

Our repertoire is wide, ranging from Gibbons to Tavener, via Bach, Howells, Poulenc, Barber and Britten, and we have developed a particular reputation for championing unusual late romantic works, notably those of the German composer Georg Schumann.

The choir has so far recorded four classical albums, including two première discs of works by Georg Schumann, the first of which was Gramophone Magazine’s Critics’ Choice in January 2002, and the second also described as a “hugely impressive disc” (Gramophone). Our recordings have been frequently broadcast on the radio, and we have appeared on television.

Mark Ford was born in Bromley and educated at St Dunstan’s College, Catford, where he studied the organ with the international recitalist David Sanger. He continued his academic and musical studies at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he held an Organ Scholarship and read law. Whilst at Cambridge, Mark directed the Chapel Choir (whom he accompanied on tours to Bavaria and Ireland), as well as the college Choir and Orchestra, and sang in the University Chamber Choir under Timothy Brown.

He founded The Purcell Singers in 1994 and has directed them in concerts of wide-ranging music from the 15th century to the present day. With the choir he has also made four classical CD recordings, as well as ten commercial recordings of music for film and television. He has conducted sessions at all the major London recording studios.

Mark has carried out extensive research into the music of the late romantic composer Georg Schumann, and has recorded all of Schumann’s choral works with The Purcell Singers. He plans to release recordings of some of his other works in the future, including the composer’s piano music and songs.

By profession, Mark is a solicitor and works at a leading international practice. He is a leading authority on legal process outsourcing (LPO) and over the last four years has built a team of 60 lawyers in a pioneering new business unit in his firm’s Delhi office. Mark is also a co-founder and trustee of The Company, a charitable organisation based in Manchester that promotes music theatre for young people aged 14-23.