The Exeter Bach Society was founded on 21 March 1995, the anniversary of J S Bach's birth, at a meeting in The Guildhall, Exeter by Alderman Ramon Yeo, an accomplished organist and admirer of J S Bach’s many compositions.
Since its formation the Society has delved deep into J S Bach’s repertoire, hosting numerous performances of his cantatas, Lutheran masses and instrumental works. Our choral performances over the past few years have included J S Bach's Missa Brevis in F, Christmas Oratorio, St John Passion, St Matthew Passion, and his iconic Mass in B Minor. Major concerts and cantatas feature professional musicians and soloists from Devon and further afield.
The choir continues to stay true to its Bach tradition but frequently takes steps into the wider musical world including Handel's Dixit Dominus (Christmas 2016), Durufle's Requiem (Easter 2017), Will Todd's Mass in Blue (Summer 2017) and Music of Eastern Europe (Summer 2018) featuring works by Leoš Janáček to mark the 90th anniversary of his death.
In addition to choral and orchestral concerts, the Exeter Bach Society organises an annual public choral workshop, instrumental recitals and talks throughout the season, which runs from September to early June.
There are currently around 50 - 60 active members in the EBS choir. We represent a broad spectrum of musical ability and experience, ranging from accomplished sight-readers to those who have had few prior opportunities to perform this type of music. What we all share is a passion for J S Bach’s music, an enthusiasm for performance, and a committee who ensure we have plenty of opportunity to do so. We are supported ably by our Honorary President and founder of the society, Alderman Ramon Yeo.
The Exeter Bach Society's Honorary Patron was Dr. Peter Hurford OBE until his recent death in March 2019 where our performance of J S Bach's St Matthew Passion was decidicated to his life's work. Dr. Peter Hurford championed the works of J S Bach with both amateur and professional music groups over a 50 year career and he regularly attended our concerts for many years.
The Exeter Bach Society is lucky enough to have an expert selection of local professional instrumentalists on whom to call led ably by Anna Cockroft, and they accompany many of our concerts and generously volunteer their time for free events, such as cantata services. Many of these musicians support us on a regular basis and provide the expertise to expand their ranks when required – as with the ambitious double Baroque orchestra needed to accompany the St Matthew Passion.
If you are interested in joining the Exeter Bach Society or would like to learn more, please have a look at our Join Us page or get in touch for more information.
Committee and Musical Staff
Musical Director: Jonathan Lucas Wood
Accompanist: Colin Pettet
Chairman: Kevin Skillings
Secretary (Membership): Nick du Buisson
Secretary (Minutes): Anneke Schmidt
Treasurer: Nick du Buisson
Ray Flack; Bernard Culverhouse; Gabi Humphries