Director of Music

Chris McDade, Director of Music

Chris joined Pangbourne College as Music Director in September 2020 and we welcome him as our new conductor. We are enjoying working with him and were looking forward to our first concert together in June. Unfortunately Covid stepped in and we had a replacement for the concert. Although it went well we all felt very sad that Chris was unable to be with us.

As a Choral conductor, Chris has directed many services and recitals with school chamber choirs, as well as major choral works with adult choral societies and semi-professional orchestras in school chapels and major churches and cathedrals.

These have included Canterbury, Chichester and Rochester Cathedrals and St Albans Abbey in the UK and overseas in Barcelona and Cologne Cathedrals as well as St Mark’s, Venice. He has conducted many carol concerts and services, accompanied by organ and professional brass ensembles.

Major choral works conducted include; Gloria (Vivaldi), Nelson Mass (Haydn), Mass in G (Schubert), Requiems (Faure and Mozart), Mass in C minor (Mozart), African Sanctus (David Fanshawe) and The Armed Man – a Mass for Peace (Karl Jenkins), the latter two in the presence of the composer. Smaller scale works include Fantasia on Christmas Carols (Vaughan Williams), Magnificat (Pergolesi), Mass of the Children and Te Deum (John Rutter).

Chris is a very experienced musician, with excellent keyboard skills (Piano and Organ) and almost 30 successful years in the teaching profession. He has a wealth of experience as a performer, notably as an accompanist, and as a conductor of Choirs and Orchestras. 

In Spring 2021 Chris wrote an article  for independent schools about the importance of music education during the pandemic which was published in Music Matters. 

Our Music Director

A native of Lancashire, Chris studied Piano from a young age and continued his musical training as a Chorister at Blackburn Cathedral.  With the Chamber Choir of Hutton Grammar School, Preston, he sang in many UK Cathedrals and participated in three tours to the USA, including New York, Philadelphia and Washington.

Chris graduated in Music from the University of Huddersfield, where he specialised in American Musicology (Opera and Music Theatre) and Performance (Piano, Voice and Conducting), also gaining a performer’s diploma in Piano from Trinity College, London.  While at Huddersfield, he sang with the Chamber Choir, Opera group and with the acclaimed Huddersfield Choral Society in his final year.

During his teaching career, Chris has worked with many talented student performers, directing services, recitals and concerts at venues in the UK and overseas, including Canterbury, Chichester, Cologne and Rouen Cathedrals, and St Mark’s, Venice.  During his tenure at St Edmund’s School, Canterbury, he was privileged to conduct performances of Jenkin’s Armed Man and Fanshawe’s African Sanctus, both in the presence of the composers.

Recently elected a Fellow of the Guild of Musicians and Singers, Chris also examines for LCM Examinations based at the University of West London.