Composer Will Todd on his perfect Surrey weekend

Will Todd

Will Todd - Credit: ANDY HOLDSWORTH

One of the UK’s most popular choral composers, Will Todd is looking forward to hearing a selection of his music performed at the opening concert of Guildford International Music Festival. Here, the Guildford resident reveals how he likes to relax away from the rigours of concertos and cantatas…

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2015


I try not to write any music over the weekend so, usually, after a frantic Friday afternoon finishing off a piece of music (or giving up on it for the week!), I look forward to spending the evening at home with my family.

It doesn’t always work like that of course because I quite often have concerts of my music to attend or perform in but, assuming I’m at home, I love to make dinner with the children. This tends to be quite chaotic with my three racing round and we all make a tremendous mess! Generally, the results are okay – favourites are macaroni cheese, curry, or, if we are feeling very energetic, a roast dinner!

A cup of tea is a must during this process – usually at least three with the calming tones of Classic FM playing in the background (although youngest daughter Rowan will change this to Queen’s Greatest Hits if she can – she’s a massive Freddie Mercury fan and, in fact, we all are – they’re such great songs!).

Saturday is busy in our house as middle daughter Petra does a full day at the Italia Conti School of Acting and Dance so it’s a pretty early start! Once that has happened, a trip into Guildford is often the next event. I love the atmosphere of Guildford town centre with plenty of great shops (and coffee places – very important).

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In the summer, we often make visits to the National Trust properties, such as Hatchlands and Clandon, including the fantastic garden centre there, where the staff are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful and lunch and tea are good too.

On a Sunday morning, we often go to Holy Trinity Church, which is an amazing space with a lovely welcoming congregation. Myself and my children have all sung with the choirs there and it’s a nice way to start the day.

Torch-lit walks

Sunday is often a family visiting day and, if family come to us, we love to take walks around Saint Martha’s and Newlands Corner. Our favourite is to walk from Guildford to Newlands and back, stopping of course for cups of tea either at the Car Park Café or over the road in the Tea House.

In winter, we sometimes time it so we can walk back in the dark with torches, which the children love (and I do too!).

I’m particularly looking forward to some of the weekends coming up, as this month sees the return of Guildford International Music Festival with all sorts of exciting things to enjoy.

As part of that, on Friday March 13, the award-winning chamber choir Tenebrae will be doing a concert featuring choral music from my new album Lux Et Veritas.

So that’s one Friday night that I won’t be doing the cooking!


• Tenebrae performs at the opening Gala Concert of Guildford International Music Festival at Holy Trinity, Guildford, on Friday March 13 at 7.30pm. The programme includes The Call of Wisdom by Will Todd, which was performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations at St Paul’s Cathedral. In addition, there will also be a pre-concert talk held at the Guildhall from 6pm, in which he will discuss the evening’s programme with award-winning conductor and former King’s Singer, Nigel Short. Tickets for the talk and concert are £16 (£13 concessions; £3 students/U18) or for concert only £15 (£12 concessions; £2 students/U18). To book, call 01483 444334 or see online: