Since its foundation in 1957, the Tiffin Boys’ Choir has been one of the few state school choirs to have been continually at the forefront of the choral music scene in Britain.
The choir has worked with all the London orchestras and performs regularly with the Royal Opera. In 2015 they performed at the BBC Proms. Recent engagements have included Mahler 8 (Philharmonia/Salonen), Boris Godunov (Mariinsky/Gergiev), the UK premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland, the soundtrack for The Hobbit at Abbey Road Studios, appearing on set in the film Philomena, and Titanic Live! with James Horner. With altos, tenors and basses also drawn entirely from within the school, the choir gives regular concerts in London and tours regularly, including in recent years Australia, China, Czech Republic, Tallinn and St Petersburg.
The choir has made recordings of most of the orchestral repertoire that includes boys’ choir. Notable releases have included Mahler 8 (EMI / Tennstedt), which was nominated for a Grammy Award, Puccini Il Trittico, Massenet Werther and Puccini Tosca (EMI / Pappano), Britten Billy Budd (Chandos / Hickox), Mahler 3 (Signum Classics / Maazel, LSO Live / Gergiev, Telarc / Zander), and Britten War Requiem (LPO Live / Masur). Members of the choir feature in DVD releases of Carmen, La Bohème, Tosca and Hänsel und Gretel from the Royal Opera House. The choir’s recent release of music by Britten (Ceremony of Carols, The Golden Vanity, Friday Afternoons) is available on the Herald label.
Tiffin School is state grammar school and specialist Arts College in Kingston-upon-Thames, described by Ofsted as “exceptional”. The majority of the 1200 boys in the school play a musical instrument, and 100 boys study Music at GCSE and A Level. The Thames Youth Orchestra and Thames Youth Choir originated at the school, and many boys sing in Kingston Parish Church Choir. Several members of the choir have gained university choral scholarships on leaving Tiffin: there are ex-Tiffinians currently singing in the choirs of King’s, St John’s, Trinity, Jesus, Emmanuel and Queens’ Colleges in Cambridge, and Exeter, Magdalen, Queen’s, Oriel and St Edmund Hall Colleges in Oxford.
Future plans include Mahler 3 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, Mahler 8 with the London Philharmonic and Vladimir Jurowski, and a concert tour to Italy this summer.