About Us

The History of the EU Singers

The Edinburgh University Singers, the University’s longest established choir, was founded in 1945 and was conducted until the early 1950’s by the distinguished clergyman, theologian, hymn writer and musician, Ian Pitt-Watson. The choir was then taken under the leadership of Herrick Bunney around 1952, whose prior post was at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh where he was Master of Music for many years. Bunney conducted the choir until the early 1980’s, and a highlight was the almost annual performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion; this usually took place in the Reid Concert Hall, sometimes with singers often taking the solo parts. Bunney worked on developing the choir’s repertoire. In addition to major works, the choir excelled in an increasing amount of part songs, chansons and madrigals.

Around 1984, conductorship was taken over by John Grundy who provided inspiring leadership until he left in 1988, having been offered a prestigious musical appointment in Australia. At that point Dr. John Kitchen, who had recently moved from the University of St Andrews to Edinburgh, took over leadership of the choir, and to this day he still holds that position. In 1995 the choir celebrated its first 50th birthday with a weekend of musical and social events, including a splendid dinner in the Playfair Library. Around 200 past and present choir members attended, along with Bunney and Grundy making a special appearance. Sadly, Pitt-Watson died only months before the event.

The choir play an active role within the University, giving a lot of their time to performing at prestigious events that take place.
They maintain their high standard of singing which is always fully appreciated by honoured guests, members of the university and their audiences.