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Our Backstory

The Choir has been making music since its formation in November 1970 by Roy Upton-Holder, a professional clarinet player and teacher.

This makes us Europe's oldest clarinet choir. We believe were also the first clarinet choir in Europe to make a recording, with our LP (...ask your parents) 'Clarinets in Concert' in 1974. It was a sell-out. And we were the first clarinet choir to be broadcast - appearing on Radio 2 and LBC in the 1970s.

In August 1982, the Ionian Clarinet Choir featured in the magazine 'Classical Sounds'. Click on the pictures to read the article.

Also in the 1980s, we twice played in the foyer of the Barbican Centre in London. The photo at the top of the page shows us there in 1984.

100th Concert

A Unique Library

Roy arranged around 60 pieces for the Choir, and we have also commissioned pieces to be written especially for us.

These have included:
Carey Blyton - Fanfare and March
Inglis Gundry - Suite for Clarinet Choir
Robert Briggs - Once
Pat Goble - Sprightly
John M Harmon - Intrada

Our library has further expanded with many pieces arranged by ICC players and friends of the Choir.

These arrangers have included:
Tony Donovan
Craig Simons
Ray Holder
Steve Randall

Together with many other original works, these give us a library of around 470 pieces that span the full history of clarinet choir music.

Trinity Church

Later Conductors

After Roy's retirement in 1992, the ICC was under the baton of Roger Greenwood, a long-standing Choir member.

When Roger stepped down in early 2007, he was succeeded by Lionel Elton who ran the Choir until December of that year. Roger then kindly returned to take the baton until 2014.

In 2014, Emily Rose Simons conducted our concert at the Rotary International Weekend before going to study Musical Theatre Writing at New York University. We were then under the baton of Ian Merryweather until 2015.

We are now conducted by fellow clarinet player, Ian Rogers.

We are also supported by Guest Conductors for our Playdays and at occasional rehearsals. Such Guests have included:

Alison Downie, Andrew Bassey, Callum Huseyin, Shea Lolin, John Holland and Oliver Till.