Patrick McCarthy

Patrick McCarthyPatrick McCarthy led Ipswich Bach Choir as Musical Director from 2000 to 2021. Patrick has been a notable figure on the East Anglian musical scene for thirty years. He trained as a baritone at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the London Opera Centre. His operatic and singing career has taken him all over the British Isles and Europe. Older music lovers may remember his dramatic rescue of a televised Albert Hall Prom performance of Carmina Burana with the LSO and Chorus under André Previn back in 1974: see Patrick’s recollection 40 years on. Since coming to Colchester in 1980 he has been associated with the Centre for Music ad Performing Arts, Colchester Institute.

He first took up conducting in 1992, founding the Colchester Bach Choir and since has directed this choir in many concerts of music ranging from Schütz to Elgar, including both Bach passions, the B minor Mass and over twenty church cantatas. Colchester Bach Choir was featured 23 times on the ITV Sunday Morning programme and was seen in Anglia TV’s Winter Wonderland five times over Christmas 2004.

Patrick currently has a busy schedule as musical director of the Witham and Dovercourt Choral Societies, the Ipswich Bach Choir and the Ipswich Chamber Orchestra, the Harwich Festival Concert and, of course, the Colchester Bach Choir and Orchestra and the Colchester Philharmonic. He was for a time also conductor of the Clare and Maldon Choral Societies.

He has conducted many of the major choral works with his choirs and orchestras and, in 2000, was delighted to revive Sir Arthur Sullivan’s Golden Legend and Festival Te Deum (available on CD) as a centenary tribute to this under-rated composer. Other works include innumerable oratorios by Handel, Orff’s Carmina Burana, the Verdi and Brahms Requiems, opera galas, Beethoven nights, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Britten’s St. Nicolas and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, Haydn’s Seasons and Creation and Rachmaninov’s Vespers.

However, a high spot was the co-operation between Witham Choral Society and Ipswich Bach Choir in presenting Bach’s St Matthew Passion at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, which Patrick directed on Palm Sunday 2002 with an array of soloists, Amberfield School Choir and the Ipswich Chamber and Colchester Bach Orchestras. Since then Patrick has also conducted Elijah, The Dream of Gerontius and Handel’s Solomon and Israel in Egypt at Snape.
In March 2005 he conducted a rare revival of Elgar’s Caractacus, a performance much praised by the Elgar Society.
He has guest-conducted in Germany and with the Essex Symphony Orchestra at Thaxted and Chelmsford and premiered major works by Bryan Barnes and Christopher Wright.

Patrick is still often heard as a vocal soloist, both here and abroad and appears on several Hyperion CDs with Peter Holman and The Parley of Instruments.