Saffron Walden's Choral Society since 1883
Patron: John Rutter | Music Director: Janet Wheeler
Incorporating SignuptoSing

Musical Director

Janet Wheeler

Janet Wheeler is a freelance composer, choral conductor and teacher.

She read music at Cambridge and then followed a career in secondary education, afterwards becoming a music producer for BBC Schools Radio primary music for eight years.

She has been Musical Director of SWCS for twenty-five years and continues to approach the role with energy and excitement. She relishes the opportunity to inspire and develop the choir in an ever-changing choral world.

During her time with the choir, Janet has directed them in a vast amount of repertoire from small works to large choral and orchestral repertoire. Highlights from recent years have included The Dream of Gerontius at the Thaxted Festival, and at Saffron Hall Bach's St Matthew Passion, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony and Jonathan Dove’s There Was a Child.

Janet is increasingly in demand as a composer, writing principally choral music, both small and large-scale. A number of her works have been composed for SWCS, including in 2016 The Ceaseless Round of Circling Planets premiered at Thaxted Festival. Recent performance of her music have also been given by I Fagiolini, Gloucester Cathedral Choir (both of these being broadcast on Radio 3), the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Farnham Youth Choir and many other groups. She has won a number of composition competitions and is working on numerous commissions at present. More information about her compositions can be found at

Janet also conducts the chamber choir Granta Chorale and SWCS’s youth choir SignuptoSIng. Her work with young singers and players also takes her to many local schools, and she very much enjoys working with the combined choirs at the Spirit of Christmas concerts and at other community events.

"...the choir responded magnificently to the demands of the conductor. Janet Wheeler is to be congratulated on guiding the ship through stormy and calm waters with such serene authority."

Richard Latham on the SWCS performance of Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony