Ian Ray has directed Colchester Choral Society since 1976, during which time the Society’s reputation for presenting concerts of the highest standard, regularly involving soloists of national and international distinction has steadily grown. Under his leadership, the choir has sung most of the major choral works, as well as commissioning and performing new pieces.
Ian is also well known as a pianist, having studied the piano with Allan Granville and Virginia Maclean. He made his debut in Thaxted Church in June 1969 playing César Franck’s Symphonic Variations in a concert hastily transferred from Snape Maltings following a disastrous fire. Ian retired in August 2011 from full-time teaching at Colchester Institute where he lectured for 40 years, during which time he directed over thirty fully staged opera/musical theatre productions in a wide variety of styles. He also directed the choirs and was in charge of vocal studies.
Since 1986 he has promoted a popular series of Wednesday lunchtime concerts at Lion Walk Church in Colchester, where he is Director of Music, frequently appearing as accompanist to visiting artists. In October 2015 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Essex in recognition of his services to music in Colchester and the surrounding area.