News Story

Alexis Paterson

The Three Choirs Festival has begun a recruitment process to find the organisation’s next Chief Executive as Alexis Paterson announces she will leave the organisation following this summer’s festival in Worcester. She leaves to become the Senior Music Programme Producer with Oxford University’s Cultural Programme ahead of the opening of the new Schwarzman Centre in 2025.

Alexis joined the organisation in 2016 and has overseen a period of rapid change, with three sibling charities (Three Choirs Foundation, Three Choirs Festival Society and Friends of Hereford Three Choirs Festival) electing to merge with TCF Limited. Significant achievements in recent years have included the centralisation and development of a professional team who deliver each festival to increasingly high standards, and the programming of a bold, eclectic series of events to complement the headline choral concerts in each host cathedral. The festival was shortlisted in the 2023 LIVE Awards in the ‘Festival of the Year’ category.

Committed to broadening the appeal of the festival and extending a warm welcome to communities across the host cities, Alexis has introduced a strand of family events, open-access cathedral rehearsals, an opening celebration on the streets of the host city and a regular free stage for community performers. In 2019, she established a permanent community and participation role within the organisation, leading to the delivery of exciting intergenerational projects such as Bach Reimagined (2022), What the Lark Saw (2023), and this year’s Nature Sings. Recent partnerships with London’s Bhavan Centre, British Youth Opera and local arts organisation have created new opportunities for local singers, as has the establishment of Three Choirs Festival Voices in 2023. Continuing a tradition of championing new music, over 100 premieres have taken place between 2016 and 2024, along with a number of revivals including Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's forgotten Solemn Prelude. Most recently, the festival has launched the New Voices Academy, supporting early-career composers to develop their choral writing.

Chair of Three Choirs Festival Board, Naomi Belshaw said: “I want to express my profound gratitude to Dr Alexis Paterson, our Chief Executive, for her pivotal work in professionalising and vitally modernising the Three Choirs Festival, thought to be the longest-standing classical music festival in the world. Under Alexis’s guidance, we have achieved remarkable milestones, from unforgettable performances to ground-breaking initiatives that have enriched the impact of the festival both locally and nationally. Alexis’s passion for classical music and unwavering commitment to excellence have been inspirational and I wish her, on behalf of the entire board, great success in her new role.”

Chief Executive Alexis Paterson said: “It’s been a huge privilege to lead the Three Choirs Festival through such a dynamic time in its history. There are far too many people to thank individually in what is such a complex and interconnected organisation, but they include all my colleagues, the Board, Artistic Directors and collaborators at our host cathedrals, the Philharmonia, our volunteers and singers, our passionate audiences and supporters, and all the other wonderful performers, composers, agents and freelancers I’ve had the pleasure to work with. I know the festival will continue to go from strength to strength because it’s valued by so many.”

Alexis will stand down in mid-August once the festival is Worcester is over, and the Board have begun the recruitment process for a new Chief Executive. Interested applicants are invited to visit and requests for an informal discussion are welcome. The closing date for applications is Monday 6 May.

Photo: Alexis Paterson (Chief Executive)

September Turner