As Associate Choir Director of the Hallé Choir and of Huddersfield Choral Society, Frances Cooke brings a wealth of experience to the abcd table in choral direction at the highest professional levels and international standing. She was until recently Director of the Chester Festival Chorus, a tenure of 27 years. She is chorus master for both the Easter and Summer Music Festivals at St Endellion in North Cornwall, a post she has held for some three decades. She has also worked with the Leeds Philharmonic Choir, Manchester Chamber Choir and the BBC Symphony Chorus.
Over the years she has chorus-mastered choirs in innumerable choral works and operas, for conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Richard Hickox, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Vasily Petrenko, David Hill, Harry Christophers and John Wilson. She prepared the Hallé Choir for its Gramophone award-winning recording of Elgar’s The Apostles. During her tenure, the Chester Festival Chorus sang at the BBC Proms on four occasions, a rare accolade for a regional and ‘part-time’ choir that is not affiliated to an orchestra.
In demand as a workshop leader, she is a passionate motivator of singers and wants nothing more than to pass on her love of choral singing to as many people as possible. Throughout her parallel teaching career she has always been keen to introduce her pupils to choral singing and many have sung with the Hallé Youth Choir, National Youth Choir, Eton Choral Courses, Rodolfus Choir and the Chester and St Endellion Festival Choruses, some going on to study at conservatoires and follow singing careers.
Frances read music at Clare College Cambridge where she was a choral scholar under John Rutter. She studied singing with Marjorie Thomas at the Royal Academy of Music and enjoyed a busy career performing with the leading chamber choirs in the UK, including The Sixteen, Tallis Scholars, BBC Singers, and Choir of the Enlightenment.