News release from York Musical Society


Fauré’s luminous Requiem will have a Yorkshire connection when it is performed by York Musical Society (YMS) at 7.30 p.m. on Saturday 28 March in York Minster.  The popular and well-known work will be complemented by the Requiem in C minor by Michael Haydn.

Soprano Anna Prosser is a Choral Scholar and vocal coach at Leeds Cathedral and tenor Robert Anthony Gardiner lives in Leeds.  They will both be singing with YMS for the first time.  

Besides having sung with YMS on previous occasions, both Kate Symonds-Joy (mezzo) and Alex Ashworth (bass) also sing with Solomon’s Knot Collective, which performed at last year’s Ryedale Festival and sold out at the Early Music Centre’s Christmas Festival.

Conductor David Pipe says:

“You might think that having two requiems in one concert isn’t an imaginative programming choice.   Even in rehearsals, though, it is fascinating to hear how these two works, using much of the same liturgical text but separated by over 100 years, are so  very different in style and musical content.  This is an unusual opportunity to savour the contrasting responses of two fine composers.”

Fauré’s ever-popular and well-loved Requiem, first performed in 1890, uses a shortened version of the funeral mass and is serene, calm and peaceful – and full of haunting melodies.  Michael Haydn is the lesser-known younger brother of Josef Haydn.  His less frequently performed but exquisite Requiem (1772) is said to have inspired Mozart’s own final work.  

  1. Tickets are available through York Minster box office (tel:  01904 557256,, or in person) or on the door on the night.
  1. Tickets are priced at £25/£20 in the nave and £12 in the side aisles (£6 for young people aged 13 – 17).  Under-12s are free but require a ticket and must be accompanied by an adult.
  1. The conductor will be David Pipe, who is Director of the Organists’ Training Programme and Cathedral Organist in the Diocese of Leeds. He was formerly Assistant Director of Music at York Minster and has been Principal Conductor of YMS since April 2012.
  1. Soloists are:

Anna Prosser, soprano.  After obtaining a degree in acting she became an Associate at Trinity College, London and a Licentiate of the London College of Music.  In 2013 she undertook a postgraduate diploma in Classical Performance at Leeds College of Music.  She is currently a Choral Scholar and vocal coach at Leeds Cathedral, which she combines with solo work and vocal tuition in the area.

Kate Symonds-Joy, mezzo soprano.  Graduate in music from Gonville and Caius College Cambridge with a First. She studied in the Royal Academy of Music’s postgraduate opera course and was the winner of prizes for singing.  She has sung many roles, including performances with Sir John Eliot Gardner.  She sang with YMS in  Verdi’s Requiem in November 2014 and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in March 2018. 

Robert Anthony Gardiner, tenor.  After gaining a degree in astrophysics at Durham University he studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, Frankfurt Opera School and the National Opera Studio.  He has sung at the Royal Opera House, given many solo recitals and sung with choirs and choral societies around the UK.  He lives in Leeds with his family.

Alex Ashworth, bass.  He is a concert and opera singer as well as Professor of Singing at Royal Academy of Music.  Although his repertoire spans 17th to 20th centuries, he specialises in Bach and Handel.  He sang with YMS in the title role in Mendelssohn’s  Elijah in May 2015 and in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in March 2018.