Choral Composition Masterclass with VOCES8

25 FREE Video Tutorials for Composers

Written and directed by John Frederick Hudson, the VOCES8 Foundation and arts organisation JAM (John Armitage Memorial Trust) collaborated on a dynamic education project helping composers to write for choirs. VOCES8, a Grammy-nominated British vocal ensemble is proud to inspire people through music and share the joy of singing. JAM (John Armitage Memorial Trust) has been enabling composers in the UK for over 20 years, having a long history of both commission and performing new music. The combination of these two organisations created a free resource that is available to all, worldwide.

“It is so important to give composers opportunities to work with musicians at the highest level; JAM does this.”

© Andy Staples


These 25 inspirational, short videos are a resource to help composers gain confidence in writing choral music. Each video focuses on a different aspect of choral writing, including problematic examples demonstrated by VOCES8 and practical solutions. The premise of this approach was to stress the importance of hearing the different sounds of the choir when trying different compositional techniques. Though not all ideas presented in these videos are new, the way they are presented is groundbreaking. A textbook can adequately discuss range and choral spacing, but falls short when trying to spark the imagination of a composer and opening a new world of possibilities.

This substantial project is part of a larger Masterclass Series presented by JAM which nurtures composers by creating this resource, to opening a Call for Sketches, selecting composers to have their pieces workshopped with VOCES8 and a resulting commission awarded to one composer. This summer, JAM is offering four composers a residential course in the JAM on the Marsh festival in Kent. This course will be lead by the Sacconi Quartet, international composer Paul Mealor and John Frederick Hudson. Please visit for more details.


“The singing of VOCES8 is impeccable in its quality of tone and balance. They bring a new dimension to the word ‘ensemble’ with meticulous timing and tuning.”

Written by John Frederick Hudson and performed by the Grammy-nominated VOCES8, these 25 inspirational videos are a free resource to help composers.
© Andy Staples

The 2023 Grammy-nominated British vocal ensemble VOCES8 is proud to inspire people through music and share the joy of singing. Touring globally, the group performs an extensive repertory both in its a cappella concerts and in collaborations with leading musicians, orchestras, conductors and soloists. Versatility and a celebration of diverse musical expression are central to the ensemble’s performance and education ethos which is shared both online and in person.

VOCES8 has performed at many notable venues since its inception in 2005 including Wigmore Hall, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Cité de la Musique Paris, Vienna Konzerthaus, Tokyo Opera City, NCPA Beijing, Sydney Opera House, Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall, Victoria Concert Hall Singapore, Palacio de Bellas Artes Mexico City amongst many others. This season they perform over 100 concerts in the UK and across Europe, in Israel and the USA – a welcome return to touring after the covid restrictions.

The group’s entrepreneurial and community spirit and its innovative approach are fostered by the Co-Founders of VOCES8, brothers Paul and Barnaby Smith. The pandemic has provided the impetus for VOCES8 to further transform its already exceptional offerings, nurturing a new audience community providing hope, resilience and a chance to engage with classical music in new ways. Pioneering initiatives include ventures such as the LIVE From London digital festivals and the VOCES8 Digital Academy.

LIVE From London was created as a specific response to the pandemic. Winning praise for its collaborative approach from artists, press and audiences around the world, the team has delivered five digital festivals to date, broadcasting 70 concerts and selling 150,000 tickets in over 75 countries. The VOCES8 Digital Academy is an online choral programme for high schools, colleges and individuals featuring live interaction with members of the ensemble, live and recorded lectures, and video resources to learn and perform music from the renaissance to today.

Alongside this online work on its own platforms VOCES8 is heard regularly on albums, international television and radio. The ensemble is a Decca Classics artist and alongside that releases projects on its own label, VOCES8 Records. The latest Decca Classics album is “The Lost Birds” featuring music by Christopher Tin which is nominated for a Grammy at the 2023 Awards. New projects with Eric Whitacre, Paul Simon and Taylor Scott Davis are being released in 2023.