Hilary Davan Wetton to retire from City of London Choir after 34 years

The Musical Director of the City of London Choir (CLC), Hilary Davan Wetton, has announced his retirement after over three decades wielding the baton.

One of the world’s most respected choir conductors and teachers, Davan Wetton was founder/conductor of the Holst Singers, Musical Director of the Alina Orchestra, Conductor Emeritus of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra, Director of Music at Cranleigh School, St Paul’s Girls School and Tonbridge School. He also conducted the Philharmonic Choirs of both Leicester and Hastings, along with the Surrey Festival Chorus. His lengthy discography includes the Diapason d’Or winning recording of Holst’s Choral Symphony with the Guildford Choral Society and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Davan Wetton is greatly respected for his dedication to promoting choral and orchestral music to young people. For many years he was associated with the National Children’s Orchestra and he maintained a 25-year directorship of the Classical Roadshow, which commissioned work for performance by large children’s ensembles.

In higher education, Davan Wetton was Professor of Conducting at the Guildhall School of Music, Senior Music Associate at Somerville College, Oxford and a Fellow of the Birmingham Conservatoire.

Davan Wetton was only the second conductor of the City of London Choir in over sixty years and under his directorship it earned a global reputation as an innovative and bold choir, despite its being a non-professional group. The choir was particularly respected for its performances and recordings of 20th Century English music, especially that of Ralph Vaughan Williams. And with the 150th anniversary of Vaughan Williams coming, the Davan Wetton’s final 18 months with the choir will include several of the composer’s works, including Five Mystical Songs, Benedicite, Sea Symphony, his G Minor Mass and Dona Nobis Pacem at various London venues.

‘Hilary has inspired singers in the CLC for over 30 years with his inimitable musicianship, drive and unrelenting pursuit of excellence,’ said the CLC Chair, Daniel Mansfield. ‘I’d like to thank him publicly, on behalf of the choir, for his consummate artistry, dedication and unfailing commitment.’

Hilary Davan Wetton will continue at the CLC until the middle of 2023, culminating in a farewell performance of Verdi’s Requiem a the Barbican in March 2023.

On announcing his retirement he said, ‘I wish the choir every success in the future. It has been a privilege to work with this special ensemble for over 30 years and I am immensely proud of what we have achieved together in that time. The CLC brings joy to its audiences, its members and its conductor. I do not doubt that it will continue to do so for many years to come.’