Choral music has always been part of Simon’s life, first as a treble, then a tenor, both in his local parish church choir and at school. The Beattie Cup for Musicianship at Aylesbury Grammar School is named after him.

Whilst at university, Simon won a choral scholarship to sing in Exeter Cathedral Choir, and he still sings with a variety of groups. His choral compositions have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and performed on both sides of the Atlantic.

Advent Calendar

Poem by Rowan Williams and music by Simon Beattie

Simon’s setting of Rowan Williams’s poem ‘Advent Calendar’ was broadcast by the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, on BBC Radio 3 in 2008. The late John McCabe, whose own The last and greatest Herald was premiered during the same broadcast, wrote: ‘I simply found it gripping and moving. I felt your grasp of harmony and harmonic progression was particularly impressive. And the response to the excellent poem was vivid.’

The World to me

Poem by Carol Ann Duffy and music by Simon Beattie

I had wanted to set this poem for a long time. I first came across it when Carol Ann Duffy was made Poet Laureate, in 2009. I had never read any of her work when her appointment was announced, and was pleasantly surprised when I found, on a transatlantic flight, that Juliet Stevenson reading her collection Rapture was among British Airways’ inflight entertainment choices. I was flying to the US for a week, away from home, and the poem resonated—and stayed—with me.

To listen to other choral music written by Simon please go to his SoundCloud page here.