About The Choir

Choir Group

Exeter Philharmonic Choir                               

Honorary Patron  Countess Cecilia Rodrigo
Honorary President  The Lord Mayor of Exeter

Exeter Philharmonic Choir, which has around 115 members, has a long tradition of singing a wide range of choral music, old and new. The choir gives three major concerts a year and performs evenings of Christmas Carols in Exeter Cathedral. Its conductor, Andrew Millington, was also Director of Music at Exeter Cathedral from 1999 to 2015; his musicality and extensive experience ensure high standards and an exciting programme. Exeter Philharmonic Choir always performs with professional orchestras and soloists to maintain its quality of music.

The origins of the choir stretch back to 1846; it gave its first concert in 1847, a performance of Handel’s Messiah, since when it has provided concerts in Exeter every year, without interruption.

Choir tours

Highlights for the choir have included tours to Spain and Germany, the recording of two CDs and a concert of Joaquín Rodrigo’s music in the Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In Exeter the choir has sung the works of composers as diverse as John Adams, Bach, Beethoven, Bernstein, Brahms, Britten, Dvořák, Elgar, Puccini, Rodrigo, Schubert, Vaughan Williams and Walton.

Musical highlights

 The choir’s repertoire has always been diverse. Among the highlights of recent years was a recording in 2012 of The Lazarus Requiem by contemporary composer Patrick Hawes with the Scottish National Orchestra and Exeter Cathedral Choir. The 2013/14 season included Brahms’ German Requiem, Bach’s Mass in B minor and Will Todd’s Mass in Blue, with the composer at the piano.

In November 2014 the Devon County Junior Choir joined us for Chris Williams’ moving Tsunami Requiem on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, and again in May 2016 we were delighted to welcome DCJC back for performances of Horovitz’ Captain Noah and His Floating Ark and Andrew Carter’s Benedicite.

A highlight of our 2015-16 season was the March 2016 concert, which had a nautical theme. It featured Vaughan Williams’ masterpiece, A Sea Symphony, together with the first performance of Andrew Millington’s The Seafarer, a moving work based on an Anglo-Saxon poem from the 10th-century Exeter Book.

Supporter of Charities

For 25 years Exeter Philharmonic Choir has had a proud record of raising funds for local and national charities at its carol concerts in Exeter Cathedral.

Our Christmas 2013 concerts raised more than £2,600 for Médecins Sans Frontières and in December 2014 the same amount was collected for ShelterBox. The 2015 carol concerts raised £1,875 for ELF, the Exeter Leukaemia Fund.

In March 2014 and June 2015 the choir also combined with the Exeter Symphony Orchestra to perform highly successful concerts in Exeter Cathedral in support of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

During the 2016/17 season the choir will be raising money for the Lord Mayor’s Charity, Devon Freewheelers, with its performance of Handel’s Messiah in October 2016, while our carol concerts in December will support Exeter Community Initiatives.

We are very grateful to our audiences for their generous support of these wonderful causes.

Musical support

The choir’s assistant conductor is Tony Yates, who also conducts Exeter Singers and St Margaret’s Church Choir, Topsham.

Andrew Millington
Director of Music

Andrew Millington was appointed Director of Music of Exeter Philharmonic Choir in 2003 and has conducted the choir in many of the major choral/orchestral works. He was Director of Music at Exeter Cathedral from 1999 to 2015.

He studied the organ at Worcester Cathedral before gaining an organ scholarship to Downing College, Cambridge. In 1975 he became Assistant Organist at Gloucester Cathedral where he was closely involved with The Three Choirs Festival. He held the conductorship of several notable choirs in the Midlands, two of which won major awards in the BBC competition Let the Peoples Sing

In 1983 he succeeded Philip Moore as Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral. His work with the Guildford choir over a period of 16 years included foreign tours to European countries and North America, numerous recordings and an appearance at the BBC Promenade concerts. In addition to his cathedral duties, he was closely involved with the Guildford International Music Festival, conductor of Bracknell Choral Society, Diocesan Organs Advisor and Chairman of the RSCM Guildford Area.

Andrew has worked with several leading orchestras and is well known as a recitalist. He has made several recordings as an organ soloist, including a highly acclaimed DVD on the organ of Exeter Cathedral. He has played in most of the major venues in the UK, and in 1995 was organist for the Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall. He is an examiner for The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and a past President of the Cathedral Organists’ Association.

His work with Exeter Cathedral Choir has included several broadcasts and recordings and highly successful tours of Russia, France, Norway and USA. He has been awarded honorary diplomas by the Guild of Church Musicians and the Royal School of Church Music. 

Andrew is an active composer of church music and has had many works published.


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