About Gareth

Gareth holding his BAFTA, awarded in 2009 for the ChoirI've been obsessed with music since before I can remember. I was always playing the piano as a young child and singing has been part of my life since the very beginning. I grew up in London until I was ten, when we moved to Bournemouth and I attended the local grammar school. It was here that my love of choirs began.

Studying Drama at the University of East Anglia Norwich, I had to fit music into my spare time. But I was always in the university choir and started composing music for theatre productions. When I finished my studies I wanted to continue learning about singing so after a few years of private tuition I auditioned for a postgraduate course at The Royal Academy of Music, London . After two years of very hard work I passed with distinction in 2005.

The other side of my work has been working with the London Symphony Orchestra. I was awarded the position of Edward Heath Assistant Animateur in 2001. I helped with school visits, education projects and little bits of concert presenting. I went on to work with them regularly and have been assistant conductor to Marin Alsop on Bernstein's Mass in June 2005 and last year I was chorus-master for Britten's St Nicolas Mass with Ian Bostridge and Laurence Cummings. I run the LSO St Luke's Community and Youth Choirs which draw people from all over Hackney and Islington to the LSO's education centre in Old Street, EC1. It's a fantastic orchestra to work with and a wonderful building for rehearsals.

Alongside my animateur work I have been doing some presenting. I recently co-presented an open-air relay in London's Trafalgar Square of Verdi's Don Carlo with Deborah Bull for the Royal Opera House. I also made a programme called Why Do We Sing? for BBC Radio 4 which gave me a fascinating insight into the origins of singing in our species, looking right back to singing in early humans and Neanderthals.

I'm best known for BBC2's The Choir. The series has become incredibly successful, winning BAFTAs, an RTS and a Broadcast award. I'm still in contact with many of the singers from my previous projects and I'm delighted by the progress made by Lancaster School Choir since the series, proving that boys really do sing. The programme has given birth to new singing groups such as the wonderful South Oxhey Choirs and the amazing Military Wives Choir, who topped the charts with Wherever You Are.

I have also written two books - Music for the People, an entertaining introduction to classical music, and Choir: Tears, Triumphs and Transformations, a look behind the scenes of The Choir TV series.

I am married to an English teacher who works in an inner-city school in London. I always ask her how to work with teenagers! When I'm not singing I love walking. My walking boots are wearing thin after some brilliant rambles in Cornwall inApril. I'm also a fan of DVD box sets and can happily while away the hours catching up on a series.

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Gareth is a member of the Association of British Choral Directors.
In 2008 he was elected fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)
Gareth is Patron of the South Oxhey Community Choir and the South Oxhey Youth Choir

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