UYC courses and concerts 2018

Around 200 young singers attended the three UYC summer courses and concerts in July. The Ulster Youth Junior Choir, led by Lynsey Callaghan, performed at Campbell College Belfast. The Ulster Youth Training Choir then performed the following day at the Good Shepherd Church, a programme entitled Earth Wind and Find conducted by Adam Treadaway. The courses then concluded with the senior choir course directed by Mark Chambers. The final concert, entitled Strange Fruit, was held in Clonard Belfast and celebrated music in times of oppression.

UYC appoints Mark Chambers as Artistic Director for 2018

UYC is pleased to announce that Mark Chambers will be directing our senior choir in July 2018. Mark has performed and recorded with some of the most prestigious choirs and opera companies around the world including Tenebrae, Gallanticus, The Monteverdi Choir, The Gabrieli Consort and  The National Chamber Choir of Ireland.

Speaking of his appointment Mark said, “I am thrilled to have been asked to be interim musical director of the Ulster Youth Choir for this Summer’s course. Having taken part in a course previously as a vocal teacher I know from first hand experience what an invaluable job this choir does for young singers in Northern Ireland.

Ulster Youth Chamber Choir at the City of Derry International Choir Festival

The Ulster Youth Chamber Choir performed alongside Tenebrae and the Codetta Girls Choir at the City of Derry Choir Festival in October 2017. They performed Footsteps by Owain Park, a piece commissioned by Tenebrae and performed across the UK in 2017

Photograph by Lorcan Doherty

UYC Composer in Residence 2017

The Ulster Youth Choir has appointed Stephanie Devlin as our second composer in residence. Stephanie is a first year undergraduate student reading music at The University of Durham. She is a current choral scholar with St John’s College Durham, singing weekly evensong services in cathedrals such as Durham Cathedral. York Minster and Ripon Cathedral.

Speaking of the appointment Artistic Director Dominic Peckham said:

“I’m delighted that we have appointed Stephanie Devlin as our second Composer in Residence. The first year of the initiative was such a success, and both the composer and choirs clearly learn so much from this valuable experience. This year I’m so excited to work with Stephanie on a special commission to commemorate the 450th Monteverdi anniversary and to invite her to really engage with all of our choirs and musical leaders. In return, I very much hope that the musical community of Northern Ireland embrace another young composer from their shores, and in particular celebrate the significance of the increase in women composers and young girls considering composition as a viable and respected profession.”

BBC Radio Ulster School Choir of the Year 2017
Congratulations to St Lawrence’s Primary School Fintona and Regent House Grammar School Newtownards who won the junior and senior categories of BBC Radio Ulster School Choir of the Year in association with UYC. The final was held at the Ulster Hall in April 2017.

Ulster Youth Chamber Choir 2017

Following successful concerts in the autumn and spring the Ulster Youth Chamber Choir continued a busy year with a performance during the BBC Radio School Choir of the Year at the Ulster Hall Belfast in April 2017.  The programme was broadcast live on BBC Radio Ulster.

New Conductor for UYTC in 2017

UYC is delighted to announce that Adam Treadaway has been appointed the new Ulster Youth Training Choir Conductor for 2017. Adam has been an invaluable member of the team since 2011 and we’re already looking forward to an exciting summer for UYTC.

Speaking of the appointment Adam said “I am extremely privileged to have been given this fantastic position with UYC. It is a great organisation and I look forward to my first course as Conductor in 2017”

Arthur Beggs Memorial Award

Congratulations to UYC member Ramesh Wilson. Ramesh has been awarded the Arthur Beggs Memorial Award by the Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters. Speaking after receiving the award Ramesh said “Without the UYC course my voice would not have progressed thus far and I would like to acknowledge my thanks to all the UYC music  staff for the development of my voice for the better.

UYC Summer Concerts 2016 

Following our two residential courses in Campbell College Belfast both the Ulster Youth and Ulster Youth Training Choirs concluded their weeks with evening performances at St George’s Belfast and Down Cathedral Downpatrick. Congratulations to all our choristers involved.

 UYC Composer in Residence 2016 

In a brand new venture for Ulster Youth Choir, Stephen Coyle, from Queen’s University Belfast has been chosen as the very first recipient of a an innovative new UYC programme supporting composers throughout Northern Ireland. This project represents part of the choir’s ongoing commitment to the development of creativity in all of NI’s young people. The UYC Composer in Residence offers a unique opportunity to collaborate with one of the world’s leading national youth choirs, workshop and develop their composing skills during the choir’s intensive residential choral training course and have their commission premiered in a major venue within the UK and receive a special recording of their commission for digital release. The position is supported by mentors from Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster Youth Choir’s own music leaders and special guest composers and mentors. The project is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Esme Mitchel Trust.

                               School Choir of the Year 2016 

Following the  competition final broadcast live from the Ulster Hall Belfast Dalriada School Ballymoney and St Patrick’s Primary School Rathfriland have been named BBC Radio Ulster School Choirs of the Year. The programme is produced in association with Ulster Youth Choir and is funded by the Arts Council Northern Ireland.

New Artistic Director 

The Ulster Youth Choir is delighted to announce that Dominic Peckham has been appointed as our new Artistic Director. Dominic has directed the Ulster Youth Training Choir for over eight years and is renowned internationally for his huge energy and passion for youth choral music. He also holds an impressive array of posts including Artistic Director of the Royal Opera House’s ‘RM19’ Youth Chorus, Assistant Music Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, Artistic Director and Founder of iSingUK, Artistic Director of the Fourth Choir,  Visiting Lecturer at the University of Oxford and Guest Conductor for Aldeburgh Music as well as Musical Director at the London Oriana Choir.

Speaking of his appointment  Dominic Peckham stated “I am thrilled and deeply honoured to be appointed as Artistic Director of Ulster Youth Choir. I am so very excited to be responsible for the direction, innovation and development of such a cherished and renown organisation. Furthermore I am humbled to be tasked with inspiring and connecting with young singers from across Northern Ireland, whilst nurturing the choirs towards new and exciting performance opportunities and collaborations, both at home and abroad.”

Ulster Youth Choir Tour 2015

In September 2015 almost forty Ulster Youth Choir members travelled to England and Switzerland as part of the BBC Proms Youth Choir for a series of three concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. The choir performed Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius at the Birmingham Symphony Hall, Royal Albert Hall London and at the closing concert of the Lucerne Festival.

Writing on the concert at Birmingham Symphony Hall The Guardian highlighted the choir as “simply extraordinary – pinpoint in their accuracy and clarity, and commanding a phenomenal dynamic range.” Later reviewing the performance at the Royal Albert Hall The Guardian also wrote “The stars were the BBC Proms Youth Choir – some 400 singers aged 13-25, trained by Simon Halsey and made up of seven youth choruses from across the UK (CBSO Youth Chorus, Birmingham University Voices, Ulster Youth Choir, the Hallé, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and Quay Voices). ..Their lives will have been changed by this event. So were ours.”

Ulster Youth Choir at the  Royal Albert Hall 2015

Members of the Ulster Youth Choir will once again perform at the Royal Albert Hall on 11 September. UYC will form part of the BBC Proms Youth Choir under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle.

Ulster Youth & Ulster Youth Training Choirs 2015

Congratulations to all our choir members who participated in the recent residential courses and concerts at both Newry Cathedral and The Good Shepherd Belfast!

BBC Radio Ulster School Choir of the Year in association with UYC

Congratulations to Grosvenor Grammar and Pond Park Primary School winners of the 2015 BBC Radio Ulster School Choir of the Year!

Six primary schools and six secondary schools were shortlisted through a series of heats over recent weeks. The winning choirs will help BBC Radio Ulster celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2015 and feature across a range of the station’s programming and events.

Greg Beardsell Steps Down as Artistic Director

The Ulster Youth Choir Board has announced that Greg Beardsell will be stepping down as Artistic Director of UYC at the end of March 2015 after leading the choir for nine years. Under his direction the Ulster Youth Choir has performed  across the UK and Ireland as well as collaborating and recording with the BBC, the Ulster Orchestra, the Gabrieli Consort & Players  and the Belfast Festival at Queens. Chairman Wilson Graham stated that Greg Beardsell has made an exceptional contribution to UYC in this period and thanked Greg for the tremendous service given as well as his dedication and loyalty.


“I have great delight in reviewing the progress we have made in terms of adding musical and educational value to the organisation, offering outstanding experiences for our members and establishing UYC as an organisation which is respected throughout the UK and beyond” said Mr Beardsell.


The forthcoming Ulster Youth Choir activities will be led by music director Dominic Peckham whilst the organisation seeks to appoint a new Artistic Director.

THE BBC Radio Ulster School Choir of the Year in Association with the Ulster Youth Choir

The heats have begun to find the best primary and post primary school choir in Northern Ireland. Good luck to all the participating schools!


UYC participated in the Festival of Remembrance on 1 November 2014 at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. The programme included the  commission by David Byers “Strange Hells” along with cellist David McCann.

New Commission for UYC

Composer David Byers together with UYC members Brian McAlea and Molly Gilmartin met with Ciaran Scullion from the Arts Council Northern Ireland at St Anne’s Cathedral this summer ahead of our Love’s as Warm as Tears concert at the cathedral on 8 August. David presented the score for the specially commissioned work entitled Strange Hells.

UYC at The Royal Albert Hall

In August 2014 around 50 UYC members joined the BBC Youth Prom Choir for a performance of Britten’s War Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall. In total around 270 choristers joined conductor  Andris Nelsons and the CBSO for an unforgettable experience!

                                                         UYTC  2014

Over one hundred young singers from across Northern Ireland successfully completed the UYTC summer course 2014 culminating in a sell out hall at the Craigavon Civic Centre. The concert included the world premier of the Ed Rex work It Feels a Shame to be Alive

UYC recording with Gabrieli Consort wins BBC Music Magazine Choral Recording Award 2014

Congratulations to the members of UYC who travelled to London to record with the Gabrieli Consort. The recording has been awarded the BBC music magazines choral recording of 2014!