Brian Kay, TRBC’s Principal Conductor, will direct our 2024 Summer School


Tuesday 13 – Sunday 18 August 2024


Closing concert
The TRBC Summer School culminates in a public evening performance on Saturday 17 August in the Victorian Gothic splendour of Keble College Chapel (Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PG), with its enviable acoustic. The concert starts at 7 pm (doors open at 6.30 pm) and will run without an interval. For audience tickets, please visit Our soloists are Harriet Burns (soprano), Tom Lilburn (countertenor) and Ossian Huskinson (bass-baritone). Professional orchestral accompaniment will be provided by the Saint Cecilia Players, and the conductor will be the Principal Conductor of The Really Big Chorus, Brian Kay

Acquiring and learning the music
You need to bring your own score, as there will not be multiple copies for sale at the start of the course. Furthermore, some advance homework on this music is essential: you may need to write in bar numbers depending on which edition you have (see below); and any work you do prior to the course will allow you to come better prepared, which will increase everyone’s enjoyment of the week. In Brian Kay’s own words: ‘This greatest of all choral and orchestral baroque masterpieces requires very considerable work in advance from all of us if we are to succeed in creating something very special in the relatively short time we are together in August 2024.’

There are multiple editions of Bach’s B Minor Mass, none of them compatible as far as page numbers or bar numbers are concerned. If you have a Novello or Bärenreiter score as per the list below you may use it, in conjunction with our chorus notes. Do not use Carus Verlag or anything other than one of the four listed here:

A: New Novello edition – MUSNOV078430 or ISBN 9780711995321
B: Old blue Octavo Novello edition – catalogue number 07-0034-07
C: 1955 Bärenreiter edition (BA-5102-92)
D: 2010 Bärenreiter edition (BA-5935-A)

Brian will rehearse using bar numbers as in the  2010 Bärenreiter edition (D), with reference also to the bar numbers in the 1955 edition (C). If you do not already own a score, we recommend you purchase (D), which is easier to read and cheaper than (C). All four editions have different page numbers;  bar numbers in the Novello edition are also different, and there are no bar numbers at all in the Novello Octavo edition. Whichever edition you have, it is crucial that you spend some time with Brian’s chorus notes ensuring that you have bar numbers written in as he has directed. 

For rehearsal resources to help you learn the piece at home, visit to order their ‘EasyStream’ learning aid, with 25% discount for TRBC singers (type TRBC in the discount code box and click the green arrow to activate the code); the same page also allows you to download ChoraLine’s 5-star app. CDs (supplied by Presto Music) can also be ordered via the same link, but will not attract the 25% discount.

Brian Kay’s chorus notes can be downloaded here (opens in a new tab/window)

There is no additional charge for music for the afternoon workshops, for which a complete booklet will be supplied at registration.

Our musical team (click on the links for more information)
The musicians in charge of the TRBC Summer School will be The Really Big Chorus’s Principal Conductor Brian Kay, aided and abetted by Christopher Finch, Director of Chapel Choir and Accompanist at Wells Cathedral School.  

Plus points
In addition to the rehearsals, workshops and closing concert, we normally arrange a few ‘extras’ to add to your enjoyment of the week.  Brian Kay will be in conversation with Dame Jane Glover after dinner on Wednesday 14 August, and there will be a BBQ on Thursday 15 August, with indoor contingency in case of rain. There will also be an display of photos and memorabilia from past Summer Schools.

More Summer School links:   Summary  —  How to book  —  Revised schedule