Hi K-M !


Dear Kah-Ming……

Helen Garrison (Producer, BBC Arts & Classical Music Radio)

I'm just listening to your new CD with Charivari Agréable and I think it's FABULOUS!!!!!!! I'm wallowing in the wonderful JC Bach piece as I write this and it's blowing my mind into pieces! I think you should come onto In Tune as guests ASAP. Do you have any gigs coming up? Has the disc had good reviews? It's fantastic – the best thing I've heard for ages. I really like the tenor as wellI haven't come across him before.

Prof. Edward Higginbottom (Director, Choir of New College; Professor of Choral Music, University of Oxford)

Very good to be in on the show, and have the opportunity of working with CA. My privilege entirely, and I hope I wasn't too bossy! The choristers were very taken with the band's sonorities, rather different (and pleasingly so) from the standard 'baroque' ensemble. And a very nice group of people.


Robert Sharpe (Director of Music, York Minster)

It was a real treat having you all here and especially seeing you again. I hope it might be the first of many performances of this kind. You were all so accommodating and easy which was great. Please convey my thanks to the other players.


John Taylor (Bass guitarist, Duran Duran)

You guys were great! Everybody was most complimentary about your music, and I appreciate how easy you and your fellows were to deal with. I am already planning a summer party outdoors, and Gela wants to do the 30th again next year, so I hope you'll be available!


Tim Byram-Wigfield (Director of Music, St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle)

I want to thank you once again for assembling such a group of high-quality and good-natured players. Messiah is always a marathon; but the results were consistently high. Look forward to Monteverdi next year!

David Halls (Director of Music, Salisbury Cathedral)

It is a good opportunity to thank you and your orchestra for such a wonderful experience with the St John Passion. I thoroughly enjoyed working with you all, because of that happy blend of your fine musicianship and your obvious goodwill. It produced a very special evening for the cathedral choir and the audience (judging by all the emails and comments I have received), and I hope the orchestral players had a good time too. Please pass on my thanks and best wishes to the players, and to you, an especial thank you for putting it all together, and also for the splendid CD which I have already listened to and enjoyed. We must do this again sometime.

Andrew Lumsden (Director of Music, Winchester Cathedral)

Very good to meet you too as I've heard so many good things from so many people. I hope we might be able to work together again soon. Thanks for some lovely playing on Saturday (and your great athleticism between harpsichord and organ!).


Benjamin Nicholas (Director of Music: Merton College, Oxford, & Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum)

It was wonderful to work with you and your group. I enjoyed the performance and rehearsal very much and very much hope that we will collaborate again soon.


Clive Driskill Smith (Asst director of music, Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford)

I want to thank you all VERY much for playing so beautifully last night. It was wonderful to work with you and your excellent musicians. Thank you for arranging everything – it was really excellent. 

Timothy Noon (Director of Music, Exeter Cathedral)

This is just a note formally to express my sincere thanks to you and Charivari Agréable for your wonderful playing in Monday's performance of the SJP in Exeter Cathedral.

It is always reassuring to know, when working with you and your group, that one is working with utterly committed musicians of the very highest calibre, who will do everything they can to ensure that the performance is not an "abject failure". What is, of course, a bonus, is that you are all so pleasant and collaborative in your approach to music making, which makes a potentially stressful single full rehearsal into a pleasurable experience.

I have received many messages of congratulations and thanks, all of which pay particular tribute to how fabulous the band was: a view with which I wholeheartedly concur. Indeed, everyone I have spoken to has agreed with my opinion that the performance was, an "utter triumph".

Thanks once again — I very much hope we can work together on future projects.

Colin Walsh (Organist & Master of the Choristers, Lincoln Cathedral)

It was all fabulous: thank you. Your abilities to adapt immediately to the individual singers and the chorus were exceptional. We enjoyed having you here and would love to work with you all again.

Christopher Barton (Director, St Woolos Cathedral, Newport)

It was such a delight working with you and your colleagues. I just love working with such musicians who know how to play in such a stylish way. I feel that style of playing exactly complemented what I had been trying to achieve with the choir, and that therefore we ended up with a 'performance' rather than just a play through.

Neil Dennis (Chairman, Wimbledon Choral Society)

For info: we’re in the middle of interviewing for Michael’s replacement as MD, starting September 2009. Every time we’ve mentioned CA to any of the interviewees, the response every time has been along the lines of “Oh wow, fantastic – they’re really good”.


Alexander Chaplin (Conductor, Harlow Chorus)

Words fail me to describe how delighted I was with the ensemble last night. Everyone, without exception, was in raptures about their performance and musicianship. Could you please pass on to all of the instrumentalists our deep appreciation and thanks. And it was inspiring to work with you. I learnt a great deal from such a short time spent with you and your passion also infected the choir! This is such a treat, to have an orchestra that actually relates to the singers as musicians.


Leo Hussain (Conductor, Newbury Choral Society)

Huge thanks to you all for Saturday. I was extremely grateful for the input, patience and professionalism of the orchestra during what was a pretty punishing day for us all, I think! It is always a privilege for the chorus to have an orchestra in, and I know that not only did they enjoy working with you hugely, they were also very grateful for the period instruments (they were a little resistant to the idea at the first stage of planning!) For me, it was certainly refreshing to have such a vibrant, energetic, responsive, and extremely collaborative group to work with. And special thanks for the beautiful orchestral solos throughout the night. And I should pass on to you, too, the extremely positive feedback various chorus members have received from the audience regarding both the concert as a whole, and the playing.


James Jarvis (Conductor, The Exmoor Singers)

I had a thoroughly enjoyable experience, thanks to the positive and supportive approach of you and the orchestra in making the very best performance and, of course, to their exemplary technical standard. I sincerely hope that a shorter interval will elapse before we can all work together again.

Timothy Byram-Wigfield (Music Director, Choir of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle)

I'm sorry that I didn't get a chance to see you after the performance on Saturday to thank you for the work you did in putting the players together and for accompanying so sensitively … I think there were some very good moments indeed, and the players sounded terrific. I do hope that we'll have the chance to work together again on some other project soon.


Andrew Reid (Organist & Director, Peterborough Cathedral; conductor, Northampton Bach Choir)

I would like to thank you very much for the performance of Bach's Mass in B minor last November. The band was terrific and very flexible in helping to reach a good and characterful performance.


Kate Tilling (Chairman, Romsey Choral Society)

You rushed off so fast, I didn't have time to thank you for the fantastic performance given by Charivari last night. As ever, the team was entirely impressive and a joy to work with. All the obbligatos were faultless and how you managed to play so many dots over two hours, most of them standing up, I shall never know! Please convey our heartfelt thanks to the band. The choir felt entirely secure throughout and I have received many compliments about you from singers and audience alike. I hope that we shall find another programme for us to work together on in the near future. You can be sure that we will be looking!

Timothy Noon (Organist & Master of the Choristers, St Davids Cathedral)

Thanks again for a marvellous concert. You and your band were a delight to work with and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. We will definitely book you again.

Timothy Noon (Organist & Master of the Choristers, St Davids Cathedral)

Thanks again for a marvellous concert. You and your band were a delight to work with and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. We will definitely book you again.

James Jarvis (Conductor, The Exmoor Singers)

More anon, no doubt, but for now just a quick word of appreciation regarding Saturday. The orchestra was great fun to work with and the audience feedback on its performance has been uniformly excellent - please pass on my congratulations and thanks. I was particularly grateful for their highly-professional approach to a time-pressured rehearsal. And well played yourself!

Will Dawes (Conductor, Henley Choral Society)

I read most of your message out to them on Monday and they responded by saying that CAS were the best orchestra that Henley has seen for a very long time indeed. Words can't really express how much easier it is for a conductor to have an orchestra that just get on with it during the rehearsal – credit must go to yourself for fixing such a glorious group.

Dana Marsh (Director of Chapel Music, Girton College Cambridge)

The choir had an excellent time and there were some truly good moments in the performance. Here's hoping for a repeated collaboration!

James Wood (Conductor, New London Chamber Choir)

Mea culpa … for not having written to thank you for your wonderful collaboration for our twentieth birthday. The two extra pieces you played were ravishing, and as a former cellist/gamba player myself, I was especially knocked out by Susanne’s playing – please pass on my admiration! – but you were all wonderful – thank you!!! I do hope we can do some more – it’s a period of music I’m specially interested in – I have several ideas for future collaborations, so will keep in touch.

John Dunford (Conductor, St Oswald Singers Sowersby)

May I thank you and Charivari once more for providing us with such excellent musicianship over the weekend. There have been so many wonderful comments about the playing and the performance as a whole that we can all feel pleased with a job well done.

Richard Crossland (Conductor, Lincoln Chorale)

I thought your players were excellent. There is some really tricky stuff in the piece and they dispatched it with virtuosic ease, with a real sparkle where it was needed. It really inspires confidence having such a good continuo group who work together so well and know the piece so well … We will certainly be keen to work with you again.

Frances Brewitt-Taylor (Musical director, Goring Chamber Choir)

The quality of the orchestral playing undoubtedly made the choir feel utterly secure and inspired them to give of their best. You now have many fans among the choir, who are eager to work with your team again!

Richard Stangroom (Conductor, St Cecilia Chorus) 

I thought the orchestra played beautifully, with some excellent intonation in places where there frequently isn’t and some excellent obbligato playing.

Richard Crossland (Conductor, Lincoln Chorale)

Many thanks for last Saturday. I thought it was a very good show, and I am most grateful for the excellent playing and the spirit and attitude of the orchestra. It makes so much difference when everyone wants to get on, work at it and not get uptight about things. I thought the string ensemble and wind solo playing were absolutely wonderful – and of course yourself. James Bowman seemed very chuffed with the whole thing. Thanks very much – tell them all I think they are great.

Colin Walsh (Organist & Master of the Choristers, Lincoln Cathedral)

Thanks to you and your outstanding team for a wonderful St John again. You and your professionals are marvellous.

JanJoost van Elburg (Musical Director, Reading Bach Choir)

I was very impressed with the elegant musicality and the level of musicianship of your playing, so I am very much looking forward to start a good and fruitful relationship between the orchestra and the choir in Reading.

Owen Rees (Organist & Director of Music, The Queen’s College, Oxford; conductor, A Capella Portuguesa)

Many thanks to you for such a fulfilling collaboration, for all your helpfulness and care over the project, and for the exciting musicality which you and the group brought to the occasion. The choir and I very much enjoyed working with Charivari Agreable Simfonie, and I do hope that we can collaborate again. I have long wanted to do a Monteverdi Vespers in that setting, and to give the Queen's singers the chance to do the piece. And I wonder about a Messiah…

Julian Thomas (Director, Norwich Cathedral Consort)

Thank you very much for everything you did to make our B minor Mass such a success on Saturday. It was a great privilege to work with musicians of such calibre and the playing was stylish and responsive throughout. The performance was enhanced enormously by the fact that we were able to use a period-instrument orchestra, and both the soloists and the choir members said how much they appreciated the sensitive and stylish accompaniment. It was a dream combination from my point of view! Not only was everything wonderful musically, but at every stage you were so helpful administratively too and that was a huge help to me as we planned the event. I hope you all had reasonable journeys home that evening. Do please pass on my thanks again to all the players, and I very much hope we will be able to work together again soon. Do let me know when you are next in Norwich as I know a lot of people who will want to come along and hear you! 

Michael Smedley (Conductor, Oxford Pro Musica Singers)

A great evening - it was nice to have a full house - I think they actually turned people away. I'll start to think about something for next Summer. 

Andrew Fardell (Conductor, The Waltham Singers) 

Once again thanks to you and your team for your first-rate work last w/e.  Having musicians familiar with the repertoire and at ease working with each other made my job so much more enjoyable.  Particular thanks to all the soloists who were fantastic and especial thanks to you and Gareth for sympathetic and sensitive recits. Let's do some more soon....


James Jarvis (Conductor, The Exmoor Singers) 

As ever, the group was a tower of strength.  One of the great joys of working with Charivari (quite apart from the consummate playing, which goes without saying) is your positive, flexible and collaborative approach to the process of making a satisfying performance.  It was a really enjoyable experience and I look forward eagerly to the next one. 

Stephen Clarke (Conductor, Jubilate!; Director of Music, Radley College)

I was very pleased with the concert, and enjoyed working with the players - you were right - they all knew it so well that the short rehearsal time proved no problem. Yes - I would do it again too!


Ryan Wigglesworth (Director of Music, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge)

Thank you so much for organising such a terriffic band; they really were a joy to work with. I'll be in touch again soon re. a Christmas Oratorio!


Simon Williams (Conductor, Harrow Choral Society; Director of Music, St George's Hanover Square)

I was delighted with Charivari Agreable and will certainly hope to be able to invite you back to play with us when we next do appropriate repertoire. I'd worked hard with the (large!) choir to get a sense of lift/dance and, on the day, the orchestra helped enormously in this respect. I had been worried that our 160 singers would swamp a period band, but this was not the case at all and the choir relished the fact that, for once, they weren't drowned by the orchestra! The lovely, tranparent quality of the band's sound was just right.


Charles Harrison (Suborganist and Assistant Director of Music, Lincoln Cathedral)

It was a great pleasure to work with you and your outstanding orchestra last week. The success of the performance owes much to the professionalism of you and your players, but also to their friendliness, flexibility and readiness to adapt quickly to the peculiarities of Lincoln's large acoustics (not to mention those of the conductor!). The performance was enriched by the relaxed exchange of musical ideas during the rehearsals, and by everyone's readiness to assimilate them so quickly. I am especially grateful to Persephone, who took care of lots of detail that I had missed, and kindly clarified my intentions to the band when I was unclear; also to the continuo team, for offering realisations of such colour, character and tightness.

Members of the audience have singled out the fine ensemble and polish for particular praise; that we managed this with such a short rehearsal period is something we can be rightly proud of! So, thank you all for such an enjoyable experience. I felt wonderfully well supported by a team which was as determined as I to deliver a fine performance, and we achieved it with the minimum of rehearsal, and without a single tense moment. The players were always responsive when I was clear, and always ready to compensate for my inexperience when I was not.


Robert Sharpe (Organist & Master of the Choristers, Truro Cathedral)

I was of course absolutely delighted with Charivari. The stylish playing of the Simfonie was at the centre of the success of the Monteverdi Vespers in Truro. Not only was it one of the most memorable concerts for the Three Spires Singers, it has also resulted in a large influx of new members under the age of 25. This means that Three Spires Singers is now evenly spaced in terms of the age of its membership; something we are very proud of. Thanks so much for being such a lovely group to work with. We shall certainly be trying to book you again in the future.

Bob Ryan (Treasurer, Ilkley Concert Club)

You gave the club a most interesting and enjoyable evening.


John Booth (Hon. Treasurer, Luton MusicClub)

Thank you for the delightful concert which was enjoyed by every one.


Dr Jon Whiteley (Ashmolean Museum)

It is we who are in your debt for providing such a wonderful evening of beautiful and rare music. I do need need to tell you how much the Friends enjoyed every minute and hope that there will be further occasions when you and the harpsichord can come together on a similar occasion.


Mark Gibson (Manager, Northampton Bach Choir)

As for Charivari Agreable, I thought they rose to the occasion so superbly and their playing in the performance was just superb, responding to Lee with such sensitivity and skill. We are so very grateful to you and them … I will be in touch again for the 2011 season.


David Truslove (Conductor, Romsey Choral Society)

Thank you also for being everything we as a choir could wish for – that is an orchestra that didn't dominate and was compliant within the always limited time frame and above all played beautifully. There was too a warmth from you and the players that helped me (and the choir) relax and that was especially gratifying (as I'm not known for being very relaxed at final rehearsals). It was terrific that we could put all that together on just one afternoon rehearsal – always a challenge however familiar the music might be – and make the performance sound even more polished. Everyone was really pleased with you and the orchestra and all have said that we would like to collaborate again – so perhaps another opportunity can be found in the next year or so. Once again, thank you one and all for being so wonderful last Saturday.

Tim Hooper (Conductor, Bournemouth Bach Choir)

Many thanks Kah-Ming for all your efforts. It was excellent working with you and the band. The original instrumentalists and their instruments was just wonderful.  I know my CD collection bulges with Baroque and Classical music all on original instruments. I wish I could work more with your players – I hope we will again in the not too distant future.

Peter Davis (Director of Music, Chapel Choir of Oakham School)

Thank YOU and please pass on my thanks to your players for their musicianship and expertise. It was a fantastic collaborative event for us today, and I very much hope that we will have the chance to work again in the not too distant future.

Alexander Chaplin (Conductor, Wokingham Choral Society)

Maestro! Once again, a pleasure and a privilege to work with you, and to benefit from your expertise and passion. I couldn't imagine Vespers with anyone else! The ensemble was just breathtaking. Please convey to them my deepest appreciation and thanks, and that of the entire choir. Looking forward to another collaboration, asap!

Lesley Kirby (Concert Secretary, Stamford Choral Society)

On behalf of Stamford Choral I would like to thank Charivari Agréable for its contribution to a successful and most enjoyable performance of Bach's St John Passion last Saturday. Your playing was much admired by audience and choir alike. Wishing you every success for the future, and hoping that we may have the pleasure of working with you again at some point in the future.

Dr Edward Higginbottom (Director, Choir of New College; Professor of Choral Music, University of Oxford)

Thanks for the nice band who engaged and played very musically. 

Rosemary Allsop (St. Boniface Music Society, Crediton)

In my official capacity as secretary of the St. Boniface Concert Society, I would like to thank you and Stephen, John and Jenny very much for the most enjoyable concert last Thursday. It was very well received and is still being talked about, even to the point of further CD enquiries. Now having done my official bit, I'll add my own appreciation: I thought it was a great evening that worked very well with Peter's explanations, we had the largest audience of the season and the stream of compliments continues!

Kath Tilling (Chariman, Romsey Choral Society)

Thank you so much for bringing your exceptionally talented colleagues down to Romsey on Saturday. I have had many appreciative comments, from choir and audience alike, speaking of the band's sensitivity to instrumental/vocal balance (so important with a smallish choir), their dramatic use of dynamics and fantastic dexterity in the "twiddly bits" (!). So I think you can conclude that everyone was well-impressed. A pleasant tumult indeed! Please would you give our particular thanks to your oboeist and trumpeter for their fabulous solo work and the heroic continuo team for holding the Jephte together. Also, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your overtures. What fun and, at the same time, complementary to but different from the choral pieces. It all worked very well indeed, so bravo for that too, sir!

Mark Wilderspin (Director of Music, St. Paul's School, London; Conductor, Colet Choral Society)

Thank you and the crew for being such a wonderful group. It really made such a difference to our choral society; and the look on their faces when the first little interlude of No. 1 started up was one of sheer joy. I hope we will meet again; please do let me know when Charivari are next playing in London! 

Neil Ferris (Chorus Director, Royal College of Music; Assoc. Chorus Dir., London Symphony Chorus; Conductor, Wimbledon Choral Society)

Thank you so much for your most wonderful contribution on Saturday. I really appreciated your expertise and collaboration and the choir loved the way in which you engaged with them. Charivari were outstanding and a delight to work with.

Simon Williams (Conductor, Harrow Choral Society)

We had a great concert and the orchestra was on top form and a pleasure to work with. Here are extracts from emails from our chairman and publicity officer: “Is it just me or was it an absolutely great concert yesterday?  In fact,  I know from what I've heard so far that it isn't only me!  Great soloists who really acted the part and engaged so well with the audience, and a terrific performance from the orchestra.” … "the orchestra was delightful, the nature of their instruments being such that we never were drowned out.” Many thanks to Charivari for contributing so splendidly to what was our 80th anniversary!