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BBC Symphony Chorus

The BBC Symphony Chorus was founded in 1928 and its early appearances included UK premieres of Bartók’s Cantata Profana, Stravinsky’s Perséphone and Mahler’s Eighth Symphony. This commitment to new music continues undiminished and in its performances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and internationally acclaimed conductors and soloists, most of which are broadcast on BBC Radio 3, the Chorus performs diverse and challenging repertoire.

...sung with otherworldly dreaminess by the BBC Symphony Chorus...
The Times, September 2012

...sung with otherworldly dreaminess by the BBC Symphony Chorus...

The Times, September 2012

Joining the BBC Symphony Orchestra in its 2020-2021 Barbican season, the Chorus performs Stravinsky’s Perséphone and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, conducted by the BBC SO’s Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo; Britten’s Spring Symphony conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth; Brahms’s Song of Destiny, Nänie and Song of the Fates conducted by Nathalie Stutzmann; and Bartók’s Cantata profana and Kodály’s Psalmus hungaricus conducted by the BBC SO’s Principal Guest Conductor Dalia Stasevksa. Highlights of the Chorus’s 2019-2020 season included performances of Elgar’s The Apostles at the Royal Festival Hall conducted by Martyn Brabbins with the London Philharmonic Choir and London Philharmonic Orchestra; Mendelssohn’s Elijah conducted by Sakari Oramo, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis conducted by Donald Runnicles and the UK premiere of Detlev Glanert’s Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch conducted by Semyon Bychkov, all with the BBC SO.

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

In addition to featuring in dedicated studio recordings for Radio 3, the Chorus has developed a large discography, which includes the Grammy nominated recording of Holst’s First Choral Symphony; BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone award winning recording Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius under Sir Andrew Davis; Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater, Harnasie, and Symphony No. 3 under Edward Gardner; Brett Dean’s Vexations and Devotions under David Robertson and recently released Elgar’s The Music Makers and Spirit of England with the BBC SO under Sir Andrew Davis and Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D with the BBC SO under Sakari Oramo for Chandos.

Uniquely among symphony choruses, the BBC Symphony Chorus has specialised in performing 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, Judith Weir and most recently the world premiere of Jonathan Dove’s We Are One Fire conducted by Chorus Director Neil Ferris at the 2019 BBC Proms, commissioned for the Chorus’s 90th anniversary season.