Our Musical Directors

During the 2015–16 concert season the Scottish Chamber Choir enjoyed working with three different musical directors, and below we’ve posted a picture and biography of each of them. For the 2016–17 season, we will be under the direction of Iain McLarty.

Scottish conductor Iain McLarty studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music (DKDM) in Copenhagen with Giordano Bellincampi and Michael Schønwandt, making his debut with Aarhus Symfoniorkester in June 2015. He has regularly worked with all of the Danish regional orchestras, the DKDM Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Danish Opera Academy in concerts and workshops. He is committed to performing contemporary music and has given numerous premières.

In Scotland he has worked with groups across the country, performing much of the standard orchestral and choral repertoire as well as such diverse pieces as a concerto for birds and orchestra, choral works for forty individual voices, and a new opera based on reality TV. He has held positions as Sir Alexander Gibson Conducting Fellow with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus and Herrick Bunney Organ Scholar at St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh.

Iain has participated in orchestral conducting masterclasses with Johannes Schlaefli, George Hurst, Ben Zander and Timothy Reynish and choral conducting masterclasses with David Hill, Patrick Russill and Peter Broadbent. He previously studied with James Lowe. Throughout his studies he has been generously supported by Clutterbuck Travel Scholarships, Bucher-Fraser Scholarhips, a Sir James Caird Trust Travelling Scholarship, an Anglo-Danish Society Award, a Roderick Bryson Memorial Trust Award and a Fondation Idella travel scholarship.

Before taking up conducting he studied Mathematics and Music at the University of Edinburgh with his interest in two such seemingly contrasting fields leading to his featuring in the film “Le pere di Adamo” which was shown at the Rome Film Festival. He also has a Masters in Musicology, with his research focusing on classical and church music in Scotland. As a church musician his work covers a broad range of styles and he is active in worship development. He is particularly interested in music and liturgy in an ecumenical context and has been involved in planning and leading worship at various national and international conferences.

Originally from Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, Steven Griffin has lived and worked in Edinburgh for more than 20 years. He sang extensively with his school choir, mid-Glamorgan Youth Choir and the National Youth Choir of Wales before going to Magdalen College, Oxford, to study music, where he was awarded an Academical Clerkship (the Magdalen equivalent of a choral scholarship).  At Magdalen he benefitted from singing under John Harper and Bill (Grayston) Ives. 

Steven has enjoyed a varied career as singer, teacher and composer.  As a tenor soloist he sang all the major oratorio repertoire with choirs around Scotland.  In 2012 his setting of A Hymn to the Virgin won the Classic FM Carol for Christmas Competition. It is published by Novello. 

Steven is Assistant Director of Music at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh with particular responsibility for the promotion of choral music across the whole age range.  With the George Watson’s College Chamber Choir Steven has performed a wide repertoire including works by Bach, MacMillan, Britten and Lambert. He has directed the choir at the International Choral Festival in Usti Nad Labem in the Czech Republic, the Basilica di Santa Barbara in Mantova, Italy and at Sir Chris Hoy’s Freedom of the City of Edinburgh ceremony. 

Steven is looking forward to working with the Scottish Chamber Choir for their concert in the Spring, presenting a programme of challenging, interesting and, at times, amusing repertoire celebrating the connection between the natural world and music.

Walter Thomson has been Musical Director and conductor of the Edinburgh choir, Jubilo, since it was founded in 1981.

With Jubilo and the Edinburgh Players, he has developed a large repertoire of the major choral works including, in recent years, Haydn’s Creation, the Bach Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah and Dettingen Te Deum and Brahms’ German Requiem. He acted as Choir Master for collaborative performances in the Usher Hall of Verdi’s Requiem and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius. with Jubilo, The Edinburgh Bach Choir and Scottish Sinfonia.

His post as Choirmaster at Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church with its Chamber Group of professional singers, has given him the opportunity of exploring the music of the Italian Renaissance and English Tudor periods. He last year arranged and conducted performances of sacred music of various eras with The Mayfield Festival Singers. He has studied at the Berkshire Choral Festival in Massachusetts.

As a baritone Walter has sung roles with Opera Camerata and other companies including Pilgrim in Vaughan Williams’ Pilgrim’s Progress , Papageno in Magic Flute, Kaspar in Der Freischutz and Zurga in Pearl Fishers. Recent performances have included Bach’s solo cantata “Ich habe Genug” in St Mary’s and St Giles’ Cathedrals, The Fauré Requiem and Vaughan William’s Dona Nobis Pacem for Dunbar Choral, and The Pity of War, David Corkhill’s arrangement of the Wilfred Owen sections of Britten’s War Requiem, with the Edinburgh Festival Ensemble.