Hallé Choral Academy Profiles

Hallé Choral Academy Director
Joseph Judge

Joseph is a versatile singer and conductor based in the North West. Recently appointed Director of the Hallé Choral Academy, he directs the Together and Arts Council England workplace choirs with the Hallé Corporate Choir scheme. Joseph is also Assistant Music Director of the St George’s Singers, Chorister Tutor at Bradford Cathedral, Lay Clerk at Manchester Cathedral and regularly sings with BBC Radio 4’s Daily Service Singers. He was one of the eight inaugural Fellows of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (2015/16), performing as part of an elite vocal octet throughout the UK and in Malta, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Joseph studied Music at the University of Manchester, and toured with the chamber choir, Ad Solem, to Estonia and Hungary. He has worked with Leeds Philharmonic Chorus, Salford Choral Society, Hallé Youth Choir, and directed the vocals for the PlayStation 4 advert, The King. He is the founder and Director of the Turton Consort, whose performances have included a highly acclaimed recital of Monteverdi Madrigals Book IV at St Ann’s Church, Manchester, and at the Whitworth Art Gallery for the opening of the Marcantonio Raimondi exhibition.

Joseph is also in demand as a Countertenor. Recent solo engagements have included Bach Magnificat at Snape Maltings, Bach St John Passion, Handel Messiah and Dixit Dominus, Bernstein Chichester Psalms, and Arne Rule Brittania on BBC One’s The One Show. Joseph also continues to sing and work with many other UK ensembles.

Hallé Choral Academy Associate Director
Simon Mercer

Simon began his musical life as a chorister at the age of 7. He studied the organ at Chichester Cathedral and the trumpet in London, moving to the University of Sheffield as an undergraduate, and to the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) for postgraduate study. As a research student at Sheffield, Simon directed many University Ensembles and Choirs as well as playing at the Cathedral and working with the Sheffield City Music Service.

A 25 year teaching career followed, culminating as Director of Music at the King’s School in Macclesfield, where his school choirs regularly sang at cathedrals and made a number of CDs. During this time Simon also continued to pursue professional organ playing and accompanying whilst conducting a number of choirs in Manchester, Stockport and Cheshire. He is a regular recitalist.

He became an ABRSM Examiner in 2002 and has worked across the UK and the Far East in this capacity. The Royal College of Organists appointed Simon as an Accredited Teacher in 2015.

He joined the staff at Junior RNCM in the early 1990s replacing Ida Carroll upon her retirement. He has taught across the academic spectrum and has been the Organ Tutor for over 20 years; there are currently seven JRNCM Organists, the greatest number in any of the Junior Conservatoires. Past students have taken Organ Scholarships at numerous Oxford and Cambridge Colleges.

He became Director of the JRNCM Vocal Ensemble in 2013 and has led them to great success in many performances including Mozart Vespere de Confessore and the Duruflé Requiem.

Simon moved into freelancing in September 2014, founding and directing the former Hallé Choir Academy and working with the RNCM Symphony Chorus for an acclaimed performance of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony to mark the reopening of the refurbished RNCM Concert Hall. He also prepared the chorus for the British premiere performance of Penderecki’s monumental 7th Symphony Seven Gates of Jerusalem, conducted by the composer in the Bridgewater Hall.

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