Solent Gay Men's Chorus

Simon Irwin, Musical Director

Simon Irwin is a Hampshire born and bred singer, actor, writer and director. His first steps in the world of music came as a chorister, and later choral scholar, at Portsmouth Cathedral. He went on to train in London as an actor/musician at The Rose Bruford College, and later at Goldsmiths College. Alongside his acting work Simon began increasingly to perform with leading choirs including St Paul's Cathedral Choir and the Richard Hickox Singers, and to develop and train as a solo singer. He now sings both freelance, and as a permanent Tenor Lay Clerk with Winchester Cathedral Choir, with which he has made numerous recordings, broadcasts and international tours.

Simon continues to pursue his interest in drama and frequently writes and directs performances in Winchester and the south of England. He wrote and directed the fringe shows at The Southern Cathedrals Festivals of 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2011, and will do so again in 2017. Simon has also played the role of kings in two very large-scale Winchester performances; Herod in The Winchester Passion (2008) and Canute in The Chronicles of Light (2012). As a Tenor soloist over the last few years he has performed The Light of Life (Elgar), Psalmus Hungaricus (Kodaly) and For St Cecilia (Finzi). In the last 12 months Simon has made something of a habit of tackling challenging works with small forces; as he has sung one-to-a-part performances of Messiah, The B Minor Mass (Bach) and most recently The Vespers (Monteverdi).

Simon has a passion for music and singing across a range of genres, and though his professional life has generally been steeped in classical music or musical theatre, he has a large and increasingly unwieldy collection of rock and pop CDs and Vinyl. As well as Solent Gay Men's chorus, Simon also directs The West End Singers who are a four-part harmony choir based in Hedge End, Hampshire. They sing a wide variety of music - as diverse as Purcell; Porter and Gershwin; Latin, Slavonic, or Zulu prayers; and "Call Me Maybe" with a full orchestral accompaniment!