READING BACH CHOIR - Key Persons


David Young

Job Titles:
  • Musical Director
David is Musical Director of Reading Bach Choir, Cardiff Polyphonic Choir and Stafford Choral Society, and Co-Director of professional vocal ensemble Reverie. He also works regularly with the Royal Scottish NationalOrchestra Chorus, where he previously held the Sir Alexander Gibson Fellowship.

Denny Lyster

Denny Lyster was the choir's accompanist for over six years from 2000. Educated at Eton College and at New College, Oxford, where he was Organ Scholar, Denny Lyster spent the early part of his career in the teaching profession holding appointments at Shrewsbury School and at Felsted School where he was Director of Music. From 1990 he was been based in London where he ran his own concert agency business, Denny Lyster Artists' Management, representing a small and distinguished roster of professional performing artists, including a number of eminent concert organists. As a free-lance keyboard player, his performing activities included roles as both organ recitalist accompanist and continuo player and he regularly assisted in the organ lofts of several London churches. Denny was accompanist to the Wokingham Choral Society from 1994 to 2005, and Reading Bach Choir from 2000. He took up the position of Musical Director of the Stanmore Choral Society in September 2005 just three months prior to his untimely death on 2nd December 2005. The March 2006 concert of Bach's B Minor Mass was dedicated to Denny's memory.

JanJoost van Elburg

Job Titles:
  • Honorary President

Matthew Hamilton

Job Titles:
  • Music Director
  • Music Director 2010 to 2017
Matthew Hamilton is increasingly busy as a conductor of choral ensembles throughout the UK. He appears frequently with groups such as BBC Singers, London Symphony Chorus, BBC Symphony Chorus and CBSO Chorus, and with youth choirs including the National Youth Choir and Hallé Youth Choir. Recently appointed Choral Director at the Hallé, he is also Associate Director of London Symphony Chorus, and Musical Director of New London Chamber Choir. Matthew read music at Oxford, before taking a Masters degree in composition at the University of Manchester. He won a full scholarship to study choral conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, in addition to participating in masterclasses with some of Europe's finest professional choirs, including Berlin Radio Choir and Netherlands Chamber Choir. In 2010 he was the winner the Bramstrup Conducting Award in Denmark. Since making his debut with the BBC Singers in repertoire by Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Maxwell Davies for the the 2011 Proms, he has worked regularly with the Singers, directing them live on Radio 3, in concert at the Barbican, and in the recording studio. A frequent guest conductor for many of the UKs leading symphony choruses, Matthew has prepared choirs for performances at BBC Proms and Total Immersion festivals, and for venues including Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Barbican, and Birmingham Symphony Hall. He has collaborated with conductors such as Charles Dutoit, Thierry Fischer, David Robertson, David Atherton, Marc Minkowski and John Wilson, and composers including Gabriel Jackson, Nico Muhly and Robert Saxton.

Nicholas Shaw

Nicholas Shaw has been associated with the Reading Bach Choir since 2006, first as accompanist and latterly as Assistant Musical Director. In addition he is Youth Chorus Master of Opera North, Music Director of Cantate (one of the UK's most successful youth choir schemes) and Organist and Director of Chapel Music at Lincoln's Inn in London. He is a passionate advocate of the importance of a first rate music education for all young people and pursues a diverse career that includes leading singing for infant aged children to teaching choral conducting at Cambridge University via workshops and classroom engagement with pupils of all ages and abilities. As a choral director he has devised and led projects for Sing up and Aldeburgh Music and is currently working with a new open access choir at Saffron Walden County High School for a project initially set up by the Gabrieli Consort. In the last few years his choirs have performed in the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, St Albans, Southwark and Ely Cathedrals, Saffron Hall as well as at venues around Cantate's base in Bishops Stortford and he led this choir to double gold medal winning success at the World Choir Games in Riga in 2014. For over ten years he was Director of Choirs at Junior Guildhall in addition to teaching general musicianship there. His maintains a parallel career as an organist and pianist with a particular focus on church music. At Lincoln's Inn he is curating a project of substantial new choral works celebrating both the 400th anniversary of the Chapel and the Inn's most famous Preacher, John Donne, making use of the fantastic choir and the new organ that he commissioned in 2009. He teaches organ at St Paul's Girls' School in London. Nicholas trained at Oxford (as organ scholar of Magdalen College) and at the Royal Academy of Music where he was one of the founding students on the choral conducting course. He was made an Associate of the Academy in 2012. Nicholas Shaw has been the accompanist to the Reading Bach Choir since 2006, having previously been associated with the choir as both a pianist and conductor.

Simon Johnson

Job Titles:
  • Founding Music Director
Simon Johnson was the choir's founding Music Director. The following is a brief extract from the Independent obituary after he died at the early age of 59. We were incredibly lucky to have such an illustrious and talented founder. "Johnson's gifts as an educationalist and communicator were evident early in his career, during the period as Director of Music at King's School, Macclesfield, and subsequently at Reading University. He was a horn player and a pianist of considerable accomplishment, but it was his great love of choral singing which came to the fore at this time and shaped his subsequent career. As founder and conductor of the Reading Bach Choir in 1966-72, through his years with the Philharmonia Chorus as Assistant Chorus Master, from 1975 to 1980, and then as Musical Director of the Orfeo Catala of Barcelona, he directed virtually all the great works of the choral repertoire. He had an unsurpassed knowledge of this music and was devoted to it. A committed Christian, he brought to music a purity of vision and a profound spirituality which touched all who came into contact with him."