The Society was instituted in 1875 with Herr Karl Wilhelm Meid as its first conductor. A committee was formed with representatives from the faculties of Arts, Medicine, Divinity and Science. In 1887 with over 100 singing members, a new conductor Mr John Kirby was appointed, and five years later, on arrival in Aberdeen, the historian and celebrated Bach musicologist C S Terry took his place. In 1893 an Orchestra was formed with its own conductor William Adlington.
At its foundation, the Choral Society consisted only of men, and the repertoire appears to have been very limited, always comprising Gaudeamus and some other well known tunes. Under Terry, however, women were admitted, and it is from this time that the Society really flourished. Terry was a close personal friend of Elgar and the two men kept up their acquaintance through the Three Choirs Festival. Elgar was a frequent visitor to Aberdeen - particularly to visit the festival of choirs, which Terry set up in the early years of this century.
Many first Scottish performances of works were given by the Society and the standards reached were very high. Between the two wars, Willan Swainson developed the repertoire further and after 1945 both he and Reginald Barrett Ayres - Swainson's successor as Reader and Lecturer in Music - were able to strengthen the Society's performances with help from Music Students.
Today, Roger B. Williams (Master of Chapel & Ceremonial Music and Organist to the University of Aberdeen) is our Principal Conductor, with other members of Music staff conducting on occasion. Our repertoire is as broad as it has ever been with works ranging from the 16th century through to works of our own time.
EVENTS in 2007
with University Choral Society