Frances Cooke has been chorus master for the Chester Festival Chorus for over 20 years, preparing them in a diverse range of works, including two world premières, for such eminent conductors as Yan Pascal Tortelier, Vasily Petrenko, Richard Hickox, Harry Christophers and John Wilson. During this time the Chester Festival Chorus has also been invited on four occasions to sing at the BBC Proms, a rare accolade for a regional, not to mention 'part-time', choir that is not affiliated to an orchestra.
Currently Associate Choir Director of the Hallé Choir, Frances prepared them for their performances and recording of Elgar’s ‘The Apostles’ last year, which won both the Choral category and the overall Recording of the Year in the 2013 BBC Music Magazine awards and also the coveted Gramophone award for “Best Choral CD of the Year”.
Frances is also Chorus Master for the St Endellion Festival in Cornwall and has worked with Huddersfield Choral Society and the BBC Symphony Chorus as well as the Manchester Chamber Choir nearer home. She is a tutor for the Association of British Choral Directors and recently took up a position in the vocal faculty at the Royal Northern College of Music, teaching ensemble-singing skills to undergraduate singers.
Frances has a music degree from Clare College Cambridge where she was a choral scholar under John Rutter. She studied singing with Marjorie Thomas at the Royal Academy of Music and enjoyed a busy career performing and recording with all the leading chamber choirs in the UK, including The Sixteen, Tallis Scholars, BBC Singers, and Choir of the Enlightenment. Throughout her career she has also taught singing and now teaches at the King's School, Chester.