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Yeovil Chamber Choir is delighted to welcome Graham Coatman as its new Musical Director.


Musical Director  |  Graham Coatman
Graham enjoys a multi-faceted career as musical director, piano accompanist, continuo player and composer, encompassing work in theatre and concert hall. He has recently relocated to the south west for family reasons, after 25 successful years in Yorkshire. There he was Senior Lecturer at Leeds College of Music, also working at Huddersfield and Leeds Universities.

Graham was Musical Director of Leeds Guild of Singers for some 17 years, raising its profile significantly to be “one of Yorkshire’s finest small choirs”. Based in Leeds University, the choir embraced repertoire across seven centuries, from Hildegard of Bingen, via recherché Renaissance including Jacquet de Mantua, Pierre Manchicourt and others, to contemporary works, by Judith Weir, Eric Whitacre, Antonin Tučapský. LGS commissioned Songs from Mount Grace from Philip Wilby for its 50th anniversary in 1998, etc, and gave premières of Graham’s own Entartung (three settings of Heine for double choir & saxophone) at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire and semi-staged choral song cycle In A Strange Land, with lighting and back projections.

Alongside all this serious choir work Graham has been equally involved in theatre, contemporary dance, musical theatre, and community choir work. Following his degree at Bristol University, as a PG student at London Guildhall School of Music, he was répétiteur to productions of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, both in London and Cambridge. Then whilst Head Pianist and Musical Director at Arts Educational School, Graham was also MD to a number of London musical theatre societies, conducting musicals ranging from South Pacific, The Arcadians, to Cabaret and West Side Story. He subsequently worked in professional theatre for a number of years, notably at Leicester Haymarket, where he was MD for the 25th Anniversary production of Oh What A Lovely War! His Arts Council commissioned opera Giovanni’s Women toured three times across England, clocking up more than 30 performances.
Moving to Yorkshire in the 1990s, when Graham was appointed Fellow in Music at Bradford University, began twenty years involvement in creative and education projects, with Opera North and other major opera companies, including ENO Baylis Programme, Glyndebourne, ROH and WNO. In this period he ran international music-theatre workshops for Altenburger Musik-Theater Akademie in the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and as a founder member of London’s Wigmore Hall Education Advisory Panel led collaborative music and art projects with the Wallace Collection and RAM, and brought the first rapper to the Wigmore Stage in the Sound Exchange project! He went on to lead a major sub-regional Youth Music programme, Making Waves, based at Beaumont Street Studios, Huddersfield.
More recently, as Director of 20,000 Voices, a small charity founded in Northumberland to promote the benefits of singing for all, Graham has set up and led community choirs, children’s choirs, staff choirs, prison choirs, projects involving Russell Watson and Robson Green, and co-founded HISS (Historically Informed Summer School), exploring the common grounds between early, folk and traditional music. He now directs a number of choirs in the south west, and looks forward to exciting times reviving Yeovil Chamber Choir in the post-COVID return to choral singing.  


Previous Musical Directors include, but not limited to:

William McElwee | Musical Director, St Mary of the Angels, Wellington, New Zealand
Peter Parshall | Chapel Music Co-ordinator, Jesus College, Oxford | Musical Director, Axminster Chamber Choir | Axminster & District Choral Society
Judy Martin | Music Department, St Swithun's School, Winchester | Axminster Chamber Choir
Helen Brind | Musical Director, Weymouth Choral Society
David Gostick | Musical Director, Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir
James Henderson | Director of Music, Sherborne School | Director of Music & Organist, Sherborne Abbey
Peter Leech | Harmonia Sacra | Costanzi Consort | Spectra Musica
Steven Bell | Former Musical Director, Taunton Choral Society | Former Director of Music, Queen's College Taunton
Roger Durston | Former Director of Music, Wells Cathedral School | Former Principal Brit Performing Arts School
Guy Turner | Southwell Minster | Former Head of Music, Yeovil College
Anthony Saunders | Formerly Organist, St Mary's Church, Beaminster | Formerly Royal Academy of Music, London



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Yeovil Chamber Choir - Page updated September 2021