Abi Kitching was appointed as Musical Director in September 2018.
Abi graduated with a first class honours music degree from the University of Manchester in 2017. During her time at university, she was Musical Director of chamber choir Ad Solem, and a student conductor of the Manchester Chorus and The Cosmo Singers. In the past year, she has been Assistant Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) Chorus after being awarded the Alexander Gibson Memorial Fellowship. In this post she has worked closely with the chorus on repertoire including Brahms, German Requiem and Bernstein, Chichester Psalms and Mass.
Abi is passionate about accessibility to the arts and is currently Musical Director of Blackburn Music Society, Darwen Ladies Choir, Women’s Voices (Olympias Music Foundation), as well as a workshop leader for Streetwise Opera, The Irene Taylor Trust, and Contact Theatre. She is also Community Coordinator of The Opera Shack, an accessible opera company which she co-founded. She was Musical Director of their inaugural show, and conducted conducting a reduced score of Carmen with them in June 2018. Abi also co-founded Musica Festival at Manchester University, set up to celebrate female music making. Outside of conducting, Abi is an active soprano and regularly performs, broadcasts, and records with choirs such as Kantos Chamber Choir and Manchester Chamber Choir. She also won the recital category in the prestigious David Clover Festival of Singing in 2017.
We are privileged to have Paul Greenhalgh as our regular accompanist. Paul was born in Lancashire. A BMus degree from Cardiff University was followed by two post-graduate years at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, studying piano with Martin Jones and Geoffrey Buckley and more recently with Martin Roscoe.
Paul appears frequently as recitalist, concerto soloist and accompanist at venues throughout the North West. He is Principal of the Blackburn School of Music and teaches piano at Stonyhurst College in the Ribble Valley.
ln addition to being the pianist for Preston Orpheus Choir, he also appears regularly as accompanist and soloist with Burnley Municipal Choir.
Recently, Paul performed in the Ribble Valley Music Festival again, with the acclaimed Pennine Trio, featuring well-known northwest musicians Gaynor Sutcliffe and Robert Buller. Also, Paul took part in masterclasses in Albignac, France as part of eminent pianist Paul Robert's lnternational Summer School.
Paul is active as a sought after accompanist, and recent exam successes include Dip ABRSM in clarinet and ATCL in singing and cello. As a teacher, Paul has had many students who have gone on to study music at college and joined the profession in various roles.