English choirmaster and broadcaster best known for his TV show The Choir.
Gareth Malone was educated at Bournemouth School, singing with the Symphony Chorus of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO). He studied drama at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where he performed in the university choir and composed music for theatre productions. After graduating he gave private tuition and then applied for a postgraduate vocal studies course at the Royal Academy of Music, passing with distinction in 2005.
Until December 2009, Gareth worked for the London Symphony Orchestra at LSO St Luke’s where he ran their youth choir and community choir. Whilst working at the LSO, he was awarded the position of Edward Heath Assistant Animateur in 2001.
He entered television work when approached by 20/20, a production company which wanted to make a series about singing in schools. Without knowing who could front the programme, the company researched the term “community choirmasters” and discovered Gareth Malone’s name. The Choir was the result and won two BAFTAs and a Broadcast award.
The series focussed on teaching choral singing to teenagers with no such experience, the first programme being set in Northolt High School, a comprehensive school in the west London suburbs. Subsequent programmes continued the theme by taking choral music to challenging situations: Boys Don’t Sing (2008) featured pupils at Lancaster School, Leicester, an all-boys school where there was reluctance to sing; the third series, entitled Unsung Town, featured the formation of a community choir in South Oxhey, a suburban town where singing was not a common activity.
In 2010 Malone presented a children’s programme for CBBC, The Big Performance, in which ten keen, but extremely shy, young singers took the opportunity to overcome their fears. They sang for a larger audience each week, taking it in turns to be the soloist, and in the final week they performed for BBC Proms in the Park. A second series was broadcast in 2011 with the final week taking the form of a performance of a choral arrangement of the song “Keep Holding On” for the BBC charity telethon Children in Need 2011. The ten singers led a live choir in the studio along with children’s choirs nationwide, linked by satellite.
In November 2014, it was announced that Malone and a group of celebrities he had mentored had reached the UK number 1 with their Children In Need charity single ‘Wake Me Up’, a cover of the song originally recorded by Swedish dance act Avicii.