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Robert Jones was educated at Trinity School, Croydon, where he gained the FRCO diploma and ran his own parish choir while still at school - during this period he was also a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal College of Music as a pianist and was taught harmony by Robert Langston (then Director of Music at St Bride's). He gave a lunchtime organ recital in the church in 1974 and had the ambition to become Director of Music from that time onwards.
In 1975 he became a Music Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford, where he sang in the Cathedral choir under Simon Preston, studying singing with David Johnston and organ with the late Nicholas Danby. Following graduation, he held posts as Lay Clerk at St George's Chapel, Windsor and Westminster Cathedral before embarking on a career as one of Britain's leading consort singers, featuring on award-winning recordings with the Tallis Scholars, the Orlando Consort and the Gabrieli Consort. He maintains a lifelong interest in piano and organ playing and choral directing, and realised his ambition to come to St Bride's in 1988.
Since then he has directed the choir for numerous services, concerts and recordings, the high point probably being the service attended by Her Majesty the Queen in November 1997 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the church's post-war re-dedication.
He also holds a number of teaching posts and has been an examiner for the Associated Board since 2004, working in the Far East as well as in the UK. He has been associated with many leading British choral societies and has been conductor of the Eastcote Choral Society since January 2009.
Matthew studied the organ and harpsichord at the Royal Academy of Music with Christopher Bowers-Broadbent and Virginia Black, and continued his post-graduate study as a piano accompanist with the late Alex Kelly and Geoffrey Pratley, winning all the Academy's accompaniment prizes. After two years as St Bride's as the HJC Stevens Organ Scholar, Matthew was appointed St Bride's first Assistant Director of Music in 1993.
He now enjoys parallel careers as organist, accompanist and Chorus Master. For nine years he was English National Opera's Assistant Chorus Master, and now works with many of Europe's leading professional and amateur choruses, including Brighton Festival Chorus where is Associate Music Director, Opera Holland Park, The Reisopera of The Netherlands, Greek National Opera, London Voices with Birmingham City Opera, and with the BBC Singers for this year's BBC Prom performance of John Adam's Nixon in China.
As well as accompanying the choir on the Compton organ of St Bride's, he regularly conducts the St Bride's Choir and Orchestra in services and concerts throughout the year, including the annual Remembrance Sunday Requiem settings of Fauré and Duruflé, and Benjamin Britten's St Nicolas Cantata during Advent, and in this year's St Bride's Olympic Festival. He produces many of the special choral arrangements for which St Bride's Choir is famous, including Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody as heard on their CD recording Nobody Does It Better and is also responsible for editing the services for the St Bride's Webcasts.
Why not listen to the choir sing his haunting arrangement of U2's With or without you?