The Camden Choir enjoys the patronage of many accomplished and notable individuals. The support of our patrons helps us gain recognition in the arts community in the Camden and beyond. Learn about our current patrons below!
Richard Blackford was born in 1954 and studied at the Royal College of Music, London, where he was awarded the Tagore Gold Medal, then in Italy with Hans Werner Henze. He was subsequently first Composer-in-Residence at Balliol College Oxford. His music, which includes three operas, two ballets and many works for orchestra, chorus and chamber ensembles, has been performed and broadcast all over the world. Works have been featured in the Adelaide, Cork, Montepulciano, Brighton, Cheltenham, Long Island and Berlin Festivals, and have been recorded on Sony Classical, Warner Classics, Decca, and Nimbus labels.
Dame Judi Dench has been named Britain's best actress in several polls, primarily through her work in the theatre but also in film, and television. Her distinctive voice has also been used for characters in radio and animated films. Through her parents she had early contact with the theatre, her father being GP for the York Theatre and her mother wardrobe mistress. She made her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company and played in several major Shakespearean roles. She joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1961 and subsequently spent seasons in repertory around the UK and abroad. Her film debut was in 1964 in the Third Secret. She won the BAFTA Award as Most Promising Newcomer. She is best known internationally today as James Bond's boss ‘M'.
Jon Snow studied law at the University of Liverpool but did not complete the degree, being rusticated for his part in an anti-apartheid student protest, which he later described as ‘an absolute watershed in my life' as it led to an eminent career in journalism. He joined ITN in 1976 and became Washington Correspondent and as diplomatic editor before becoming the main presenter of Channel 4 News in 1989. He has covered major events including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the release of Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama's inauguration, the earthquake in Haiti and in 2011 presented an investigative documentary, Sri Lanka's Killing Fields, that won multiple awards.
Valerie Lady Solti, under her maiden name of Pitts, was a BBC television presenter during the 1950s. She later worked at Granada Television and met Sir Georg Solti in 1964 when she was sent to interview him. They married in 1967, and had two daughters, Gabrielle and Claudia. Lady Solti was presenter on several children's television programmes and subsequently appeared occasionally on television such as on the quiz show, Face The Music, and worked with Solti for various charities. After Solti's death (5 September 1997), Lady Solti, Gabrielle Solti and Claudia Solti began the Solti Foundation to assist young musicians and, in 2002, launched a website dedicated to Georg Solti.
The Reverend Lyndon van der Pump is a clergyman with a difference. Born in Swansea in 1925, he had a distinguished career as a Lieder recitalist before discovering a talent for teaching. After teaching singing to actors at RADA and choral scholars at Cambridge, he was invited to become Singing Professor at the Royal College of Music, where he worked from 1971 to 1994. But rather than simply resting on his musical laurels, he decided to follow a long-time religious commitment by becoming an Anglican priest in 1988. His career as a clergyman was spent at St Mary the Virgin, Primrose Hill, from where he retired in 2004, but still lives near St Mary's. The world première of his new translation of J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion was given by the Camden Choir on 12 March 2008, in St John's, Smith Square, conducted by Julian Williamson, with a number of distinguished soloists who were van der Pump's ex-pupils.
Richard Sumray was Chair of the London 2012 Forum for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. He started the work on a bid over twenty years ago, led for London for some years, until handing over that role to London’s Mayor and remained heavily involved throughout the period leading up to the actual Games. His involvement in sport and the arts, from the mid 1980s, led him to be the lead local authority member in London for both for some years and later he became a member of the Mayor’s Cultural Strategy Group. He also served as Chief Executive of London International Sport.