Founded in 1970, the William Byrd Singers are a chamber choir of 8, 6, 6, 8 voices. They have performed widely around the UK, in Italy, Ireland, France, Belgium, Poland, Holland and Finland, and have broadcast and recorded four CD's. Their repertoire extends from the Renaissance to the present day, and includes valuable revivals and commissions. The Byrds and their companion young string ensemble Capriccio are directed by Stephen Wilkinson.
Following their successful tour of Italy in 2002, the Byrds have performed not only in their customary venues in Manchester, but also in other prestigious locations, including Durham and Ripon Cathedrals. 2004-2005 season has seen two concerts in Emmanuel Church, Didsbury, and others at the RNCM, for Prestwich Music Club, for the Bollington Festival, and in St Peter's Church, Hale. The February RNCM concert marked the completion of their cycle of performances of J.S. Bach's four Lutheran masses (BWV 233-236). Their next concert was of Romantic music: Robert Schumann, Schubert and Johannes Brahms. Their 2005-2006 season included George Frideric Handel's dramatic Dixit Dominus and Domenico Scarlatti's marvellous Stabat Mater for 10 part choir.