CHARLES COLE began his musical training as a chorister at Westminster Cathedral. He went on to win a major music scholarship to Ampleforth and organ scholarships at Exeter College, Oxford and Westminster Cathedral. He is Assistant Director of Music at the London’s Brompton Oratory where he directs the London Oratory Junior Choir which, in addition to its liturgical duties, provides the Children’s Chorus for the Royal Ballet’s productions at Covent Garden. He is Director of Music at St Philip’s School where he also directs the Schola. In addition he is Director of the Schola Cantorum at the London Oratory School and also Deputy Organist at Westminster Cathedral.
From 1997-2011 he was Organist and subsequently Director of Music at Our Lady of Victories in Kensington. From 1998-2012 he was Director of the Schola Cantorum of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School with which he toured extensively in Europe and the USA and made several recordings and broadcasts. The choir performed in Paris, Rome, Venice, Assisi, Cologne, Vienna, Barcelona, Montserrat, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Washington DC. The choir featured on BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship and BBC TV Songs of Praise. Recordings included Sing in Exultation (Christmas music) and Lauda Sion (Music by Mendelssohn, Dupré, Dvořák, Langlais and Gardiner).
Since 2012 he has been the Director of the Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School, a world-famous boys’ choir which sings the Vigil Mass at the London Oratory every Saturday. Perhaps most widely known for its role on the soundtracks of major films such as the Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series, the Schola has toured extensively, most recently to Rome and Spain. Recent concerts include Bach’s St John Passion, Monteverdi’s Vespers and a joint performance of Bach’s B minor Mass with the Choir of Westminster Cathedral.
His recordings as an organist include Vivaldi’s Beatus vir and Duruflé’s Requiem and the music for an award-winning Volkswagen Polo TV advert. He has also played on a number of radio and television broadcasts including a live broadcast of Midnight Mass from Westminster Cathedral and at the Installation of the Archbishop of Westminster (BBC television). He has played at many prestigious venues in London including Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Royal Albert Hall for a Prom with Jeremy Summerly and the Oxford Camerata. Recently he has given organ recitals in St Petersburg, Notre Dame, Paris (during the 850th anniversary year of the cathedral’s foundation) and the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City and Jerusalem.
In 2010 he directed the Children’s Chorus in a 400th anniversary performance of the Monteverdi Vespers with the Monteverdi Choir conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. Two further performances took place at The Sheldonian, Oxford and Durham Cathedral.
Charles was involved in two of the Papal Liturgies on the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to London, conducting London Brass in James MacMillan’s Tu es Petrus, commissioned for the Mass at Westminster Cathedral, and playing the organ for the Prayer Vigil at Hyde Park for a congregation of 80,000. Charles conducted the Children’s Chorus for the soundtrack of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows released in November 2010. Since 2011 he has been a Gregorian Chant Director at the Church Music Association of America’s Colloquiums in Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, and Indianapolis.