Director & Conductor


Alan Tavener is a music graduate of the University of Oxford, and an educational research graduate of the University Strathclyde where he was also Director of Music with responsibility for teaching, the promotion of a professional concerts series, and the direction of a wide range of student choirs, orchestras and ensembles.  This included forming Strathclyde University Chamber Choir, which has toured many times in Europe and further afield, has undertaken recorded and live radio broadcasts, released a CD of Romantic Scottish part-songs and premiered many new works including 11 of James MacMillan’s Strathclyde Motets.  His research interests in the holistic benefits of group-singing activities have also been ongoing, and are currently realised in a project to facilitate supported participative group-singing activities for people with dementia.

Together with Rebecca Tavener, in 1982 Alan founded Cappella Nova, the award-winning professional vocal ensemble which has established an unrivalled reputation as champions of Scotland’s unique treasury of medieval and renaissance vocal music (in particular, the music of the 16th century Scottish polyphonist, Robert Carver), as well as being renowned for its performances of contemporary music, having commissioned and premiered more than 100 new works.  He has made 15 CD recordings with the ensemble including no fewer than four of the music of James MacMillan, as well undertaking various broadcasts including a series of short films for BBC2 TV.   Besides appearances in many British festivals, Cappella Nova has toured worldwide, including Russia, the USA and several European locations.

Alan is also Conductor of the Scottish Plainsong Choir (Cappella Nova’s open-access community choir), and leads music classes and choirs for Strathclyde University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning.  As well as working with established and ad hoc choirs ranging between community choirs and one-off choral workshops, Alan is periodically invited to direct specialist workshops for other organisations, and to work with other established choirs.  In 2008, he was invited to direct a master-class for postgraduate Students at the Moscow Conservatoire, and has since led sessions for the Association of British Choral Directors as well as mentoring for its Apprentice Conductors scheme and serving on its Training and Standards Unit.

Whilst Director of Music at Jordanhill Parish Church in Glasgow, Alan formed a community choir and an ecumenical liturgical choir, and recorded a CD of organ works.  He is now Director of Music at St Bride’s Episcopal Church in Glasgow where he is responsible for playing the organ and directing the Church Choir in a rich programme of liturgical music, as well overseeing a flourishing concerts programme.  In association with Music Sacra Scotland, he has also formed and directs a Schola in the Roman Catholic Parish of St Columbkille’s in Rutherglen.  In 2015 he was awarded the honorary Associateship of the Royal School of Church Music for his “considerable contribution to church music in Scotland, particularly in his ecumenical approach” and, in the 2020 New Year Honours List, the BEM for “services to choral music in Scotland”.