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BBC Symphony Chorus

The BBC Symphony Chorus is one of the UK’s leading choirs. It performs, records and broadcasts large scale choral repertoire alongside the BBC Symphony Orchestra and internationally-acclaimed conductors and soloists.

One was lost in admiration for the BBC Symphony Chorus.
The Times, March 2020

Founded in 1928 the Chorus’s early appearances included UK premieres of Bartók’s Cantata Profana, Stravinsky’s Perséphone and Mahler’s Eighth Symphony. The Chorus continues to perform diverse, inspirational, cherished and challenging repertoire and demonstrates its undiminished commitment to new music with frequent commissions and premieres.

In 2021 the Chorus returns to the Barbican where the BBC Symphony Orchestra is Associate Orchestra. Regularly performing at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, the Chorus’s 2019 Proms appearances with the BBC SO included Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass conducted by Karina Canellakis; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Sakari Oramo; and Elgar’s The Music Makers under Sir Andrew Davis. The Chorus also joined seven other choirs to perform the European premiere of John Luther Adams’s immersive choral spectacular In the Name of the Earth.

The Chorus features in dedicated studio recordings for Radio 3 and has developed a large commercial discography. This includes a Grammy-nominated recording of Gustav Holst’s First Choral Symphony and a BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone award-winning CD of Edward Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Other recordings include Karol Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater, Harnasie, and Symphony No. 3 with Edward Gardner; Brett Dean’s Vexations and Devotions under David Robertson, Elgar’s The Music Makers and Spirit of England with Sir Andrew Davis, and Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D conducted by Sakari Oramo.

Uniquely among symphony choruses, the BBC Symphony Chorus has performed large-scale a cappella choral repertoire, including Schoenberg’s Friede auf Erden and Poulenc’s Figure humaine. It has made recordings of works by Carl Rütti and Judith Bingham, and performed specially-commissioned works by Richard Rodney Bennett, Peter Maxwell Davies, John Tavener, Mark Anthony Turnage, Stephen Montague and Judith Weir. At the 2019 BBC Proms, the Chorus performed the world premiere of Jonathan Dove’s We Are One Fire conducted by Chorus Director Neil Ferris – a piece commissioned for the Chorus’s 90th anniversary season.