Abi Kitching was appointed as Musical Director in September 2018.
She is a conductor, facilitator and singer. From 2016-18 she held the prestigious Alexander Gibson Fellowship with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus which led her to assist in performances including Bernstein's Mass, Brahms' Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Poulenc's Gloria, and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, as well as a BBC Prom of Britten's War Requiem. She conducted the RSNO women's chorus in Holst's The Planets in sell-out performances in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and Edinburgh's Usher Hall and this summer she assisted Gregory Batsleer (Chorus Master) in SCO's performance of Jephtha at the BBC Proms.
As well as being the Musical Director of Preston Orpheus Choir, Abi is also the Musical Director of Huddersfield Choral Society's new community choir HCS Voices, Blackburn Music Society, and The Opera Shack. She is a conductor for the Hallé Corporate Choir scheme, working with PwC, DLA Piper, RSM, and TPE. She has also conducted Leeds Philharmonic Chorus, Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra, the Northern Baroque Sinfonia, Darwen Ladies Choir, and Darwen Brass Band.
Abi is passionate about community music-making. With the Irene Taylor Trust and TiPP, she facilitates projects in prisons (Artist in Residence, HMP Risley, 2018) and with young people in the criminal justice system. Abi co-leads a Hallé community project in Gorton, and also works for Streetwise Opera, Olympias Music Foundation, and Contact Theatre.
She is a trained singer and attained a high first in her recital performance at the University of Manchester, where she graduated with a first-class degree. She won the David Clover Festival of Singing Recital category in 2017, and records, performs and broadcasts regularly with Kantos Chamber Choir.
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.