Hertford College Music Society is the largest and most active college music society at the University of Oxford, with a reputation for being dynamic, inclusive and friendly.
Boasting four ensembles, we’ve something for everyone, whether you’re interested in joining the Orchestra, Wind Band, Jazz Band or Choir, or would like to perform in one of our lunchtime recitals. Our ensembles are open to members of all colleges and are non-auditioning, so anyone is welcome to come along and try.
The society was reformed in 1972 by Peter Dart, at which time it consisted only of the Choir and the Orchestra, then led by a young Simon Rattle. Recently the society has grown substantially with the formation of the Wind Band by Tom Sears in 2011 and the Jazz Band by a group of students in 2012. Our patron is Sir Nicholas Jackson.
Wind Band Conductorwindband@hertfordmusic.org
Jazz Band Conductorjazzband@hertfordmusic.org
Regarded as one of the top non-auditioning chapel choirs in Oxford, Hertford College Chapel Choir continues the great tradition of British choral singing, under the direction of two committed organ scholars. Repertoire is broadly British, though by no means exclusively, and spans from the Renaissance greats to brand new commissions. The choir tours every summer and winter to destinations such as Leipzig, Barcelona, Dublin, and Japan. Other recent highlights include performances of Mozart’s Requiem and Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil.
Hertford College Orchestra is the oldest ensemble at the college and is the best college orchestra in the university, regularly performing challenging music despite being non-auditioining. A young Simon Rattle, who is now the principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted the first two concerts; today’s conductors have big shoes to fill! The orchestra plays music by composers from across the orchestral canon, recently including music by Vaughan Williams, Grieg, Nielsen, and Ginastera.
Hertford's wind band is the second biggest in the university, and the best non-auditioning ensemble in this genre. The band was founded in 2011 by then Hertford physics undergraduate Tom Sears and has since gone from strength to strength, increasing in size each year. Their repertoire is widely varied, including Bill Whelan's 'Riverdance', countless medlies from the musicals and modern classics by renowned wind orchestra composers such as Phillip Sparke and Nigel Hess. The band plays in the Society's termly concerts, and also puts on a 'Carols in the Quad' event each Christmas to raise money for local charities.
Hertford College Jazz Band is a flexible ensemble which performs a range musical styles - from 1940's big band to our own takes on Jazz Standards. In addition to the end of term concert with the Wind Band and Orchestra, we often do gigs down the bar, and play for termly 'Jazz and Cocktails' college events which are always good fun. Freshers' week is busy for us too, playing for two of the new students' drinks evenings.
The Hertford Bruckner Orchestra is affiliated with HCMS and conducted by Dr Paul Coones, giving concerts in the University Church at the end of each Hilary Term. It specialises in late romantic repertoire, with particular reference to the works of Anton Bruckner. HBO comprises selected players from the Hertford Orchestra and invited instrumentalists from the University, City, and beyond. Prospective players are warmly encouraged to contact Dr. Coones, particularly string players. The ethos of HBO combines a high standard of organisation and a clear musical focus, but also a friendly, constructive ambience and an absence of pomposity.