Biographies - Conductors

Mark Gateshill - Conductor

Mark Gateshill was born and brought up in South London where he began studying violin with Helen and Douglas Paterson at the age of ten. From London his family moved to Surrey where he played for Surrey County Youth Orchestra. He then went on to study Music at the University of Exeter where he led both the Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestras. It was through these ensembles that he was given the opportunity to start conducting on a regular basis - including conducting the Chamber Orchestra on their tour of Estonia. On graduating Mark took up a post as a Graduate Music assistant at Wells Cathedral School for two years. In September 2009 Mark took up conducting posts as Musical Director with Frome Symphony and Winscombe Orchestras. In January 2010 Mark was appointed Head of Strings and violin teacher at Bristol Cathedral Choir School. Mark currently teaches violin, coaches the string quartet and conducts the county youth orchestra for North Somerset Music Service, the North Somerset Sinfonia, who he has toured with in Germany and Poland. Mark is also a member of the funky horn, violin and oboe trio Ensemble 3 who specialise in outreach and community based projects. This is all combined with playing regularly throughout the region as a freelance violinist.

Chris Finch - Conductor

Christopher Finch is quickly establishing a reputation as one of the UK's leading young choral directors and conductors He rose to national prominence in 2010 when he led the Wellensian Consort to the title of 'BBC Choir of the Year 2010', universally acknowledged as the UK's premier choral competition. He is greatly in demand as a conductor, vocal coach, répétiteur and teacher.

Christopher's interest in choral music was inspired by a long association with Barry Clark and his multi award winning choirs; as singer, accompanist and coach. Following this successful association, Christopher began his own choral conducting career with the university chamber choirs of York and Birmingham.

Currently based in Somerset, Christopher works as a choral director and accompanist in the specialist music faculty of Wells Cathedral School. His role at Wells involves him directing the Chapel Choir, conducting the Chamber Choir and accompanying and coaching some of the finest young vocalists and instrumentalists from around the world. Since his move to the South West, Christopher has been involved with many of the region's premier choirs and currently combines his commitments in Wells with his position as musical director of the Bath based chamber choir 'A Handful of Singers'.

Highlights of Christopher's conducting career encompasses many of the great orchestral/choral works, including Haydn's Nelson Mass, Vivaldi's Gloria, Fauré's Requiem, Mozart's Requiem Britten's St. Nicolas, Duruflé's Requiem, Swaynes' Missa Tiburtina, Rutter's Requiem, and Chilcott's Requiem. He has also worked as a répétiteur for the late Richard Hickox, accompanied the award winning Bath Camerata, was director of a festival of contemporary South American music in York and has given recitals with some of the country's leading young professional vocalists. Christopher was John Rutter's Chorus Master for a performance of his 'Requiem' in Wells Cathedral in November 2007.

Christopher has performed throughout Europe, the USA and the Far East. A highlight of his foreign engagements was a tour of China and Hong Kong alongside Nigel Perrin and the Wells Cathedral School Chamber Choir. Performances included conducting and accompanying at The Peking University Concert Hall, Beijing Conservatoire and Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. He also found time to adjudicate a piano competition in Beijing, at the request of the British Embassy.

His performances have been broadcast widely on BBC TV, BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4, including conducting the Wells Cathedral School Chapel Choir in a recording of Easter choral music for broadcast on Easter Day. Christopher has also broadcast as an accompanist in this country and abroad. He recently recorded a recital with the prodigious young clarinettist, Joseph Shiner, for broadcast by RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong). As chorus master, Christopher worked with acclaimed West End musical director, Chris Walker, in the recording of the Soundtrack for 'Bush Tales' at Angel Studios.

Christopher is passionate about the importance of singing in education and is actively engaged in outreach as a choral advisor and guest conductor. He was recently musical director of a huge educational project funded by the BBC Performing Arts fund, which brought together choirs of all ages and young instrumentalists from across the South West in an extraordinary day of glorious music making.

Mark Gateshill

Christopher Finch