Schola cantorum

The Schola Cantorum is an auditioned women's choir, open only to music students (and joint-honours music students). We specialise in Medieval Music.

Calendar for 2016

  • open rehearsal in the Bristol Festival of Song, Monday 10 October 2016, 4-5.15pm; all welcome to come and sing or listen
  • Wednesday 23 November 1.15pm concert of medieval and contemporary music. St Paul’s Church, St Paul’s Road, BS8 1LR. Admission free; retiring collection
Events in 2017 to be confirmed.

Previous activities


  • We participated in the Bristol Festival of Song, holding an open rehearsal in October 2015
  • We sang at the Tree Festival in December at St Mary Redcliffe Church.
  • We performed concerts in St Pauls Church and in the Lord Mayor’s Chapel


  • We have continued our collaboration with Emma Smith at the Arnolfini Gallery, culminating in her 5Hz exhibition
  • Once again, we participated in the Bristol Festival of Song, holding an open rehearsal in October 2014
  • We performed in a concert in the Victoria Methodist Church in March 2015
  • We performed new music by student composers at the Royal Music Association student conference in January 2015 and, with the Bristol New Music Ensemble, at a concert in March 2015.
  • We sang at the Tree Festival in December at St Mary Redcliffe Church.
  • We led a public workshop at St Pauls Church, Clifton in April 2015, organised by the South West Early Music Forum. This culminated in a plainchant vespers
  • We performed plainchant for St Peter in a concert with the Bristol University Singers, at the Lord Mayor's Chapel, Bristol. This was the closing event of the "Senses of Liturgy" conference in May 2015.


  • Open rehearsal as part of the Bristol 2013 Festival of Song Song Trail.
  • Saturday 30 November 2013, concert at the Temple Church, Fleet Street, London. This concert  included a reconstruction of the Ludus de Antichristo as well as chant and organum associated with Charlemagne. We joined the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge for this performance. More information here.
  • Wednesday, 12 March 2014, 1.15 pm, St Pauls Church, Clifton, Bristol. A concert of newly composed music by Bristol students as well as medieval chant.
  • Sunday 20 October 2013, 6.30 pm, St Mary Redcliffe Church, Bristol. We participated in a festal Evensong with the St Mary Redcliffe choir and other visiting choirs, as the culmination of the launch of the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology.
  • 2 November 2013, St John the Baptist church hall, Bathwick, Bath, Public workshop on chant associated with Charlemagne, followed at 5 pm by the participants singing the songs learned during the day in the church.


In 2012/13, we did a concert in St Pauls Church, Clifton, Bristol of Gregorian chant and music by Hildegard of Bingen. We also led three public workshops in association with the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, two at St John the Baptist church, Bathwick, Bath (one of Hildegard chants, and another rehearsing and enacting a sung Nocturn), and one workshop on Old Hispanic Lenten chant at St Paul's Church, Clifton, Bristol.


  • We gave an illustrated lecture-recital entitled ‘Inscribed on the heart: the power of medieval music’ in October 2011 as part of the InsideArts festival. A podcast of the occasion is available on the festival website.
  • A public workshop on Gregorian chant at St Mary Redcliffe church, Bristol in November 2011, followed by first vespers for Christ the King, in Latin, performed by the workshop participants with the University of Bristol Music Department Schola Cantorum. The service was led by the Priest-in-Charge, the Revd. Dr. Simon Taylor.
  • We gave a joint concert with the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge at the Temple Church, Fleet Street, London in April 2012, singing music from the Fontevrault Gradual and polyphony from the Las Huelgas Codex. Watch out for the forthcoming CD, Cohors leta ducat chorum.
  • We gave a concert (Medieval Song: Sacred and Secular) at Winterbourne Medieval Barn in May 2012. We sang a varied programme of sacred medieval song written for English nunneries and secular song celebrating spring and summer. Some of the performance is available at


  • We performed live examples in a lecture by Emma Hornby entitled ‘ “Silence is more eloquent than words” (Thomas Carlyle). Exploring the space between the notes in Gregorian chant’ Best of Bristol lecture series.
  • We gave the closing lecture-recital at the Bristol 17th Annual Medieval Studies conference: 'Shaping historical narratives through musical performance'.
  • We performed Italian laudesi in honour of St Catherine of Siena as part of a conference on the Saint.
  • We gave the third concert in the CMV series (Contemporary Music Venture), entitled Mediaeval vs. Contemporary, performing 12th-century polyphony from Aquitaine and from the Codex Calixinus, alternating with performances of new music by Bristol University student composers, inspired by that medieval repertory. Uninterrupted audio of the concert is available here: and a video recording is available on Youtube:


We gave a series of workshops, recitals and lecture-recitals as part of an ESRC/AHRC Religion and Society Programme project on Old Hispanic chant. Highlights included: a public workshop and Lenten meditation at St Mary, Redcliffe; a lecture-recital at the Institute of Musical Research in London; and a workshop and a recital at the Leeds International Medieval Congress. Audio recordings from some of these events are available on Youtube

  • “You put so much into the workshop and it was great fun and very rewarding for the participants.”
  • “I very much enjoyed last Saturday's workshop and it was a wonderful experience to sing these chants in the darkened church”
  • “Thank you for your beautiful meditation”
  • “I found it incredibly moving”
  • “I wanted to let you know how beautiful I thought the service on Saturday night was. I found it a deeply spiritual and moving experience. It is proof that the fruit of your research can have a profound effect on people today, 1000+ years on, and what better reason to pursue it can there be?”

In November 2009, we sang Hildegard songs at the Institute of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition donor's event to an appreciative audience: "Thanks so much for your lyrical contributions. Lovely."; "both exhilarating and illuminating..."


We sang in a high profile joint concert with David Allinson's Cantores at St Mary, Redcliffe,  where we sang the Gregorian Mass Proper chants for All Saints day. David then directed the choir during the second semester in performances of medieval carols, the Ockeghem requiem, and medieval hymns and renaissance madrigals.


We sang Gregorian chant, 13th-century motets, polyphony from the York mystery plays, and chants by Hildegard of Bingen. We also sang (in return for free tickets) at Goldney Ball.


To book the choir for a concert or event, contact Emma Hornby.

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