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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

Celebrating its 90th anniversary throughout the BBC SO’s 2018-19 Barbican season, the BBC SC’s performances include David Lang’s Memorial Ground; Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D conducted by BBC SO Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo; Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ with Edward Gardner; Bach’s Mass in B Minor with John Butt; Lili Boulanger’s Psalm 24 'La terre appartient à l'Éternel', Vieille prière bouddhique and Psalm 130 'Du fond de l'abîme' conducted by James Gaffigan as part of a Total Immersion day devoted to Nadia and Lili Boulanger; and Osvaldo Golijov’s Oceana with Joana Carneiro. Highlights in the BBC SO’s 2017–18 Barbican season included Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Karawane as part of a Total Immersion day devoted to the Finnish composer, Elgar’s Spirit of England conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius conducted by the BBC SO Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo.

Regularly performing at the BBC Proms, including the iconic First and Last Nights, the BBC SC’s 2018 Proms appearances with the BBC SO include Vaughan Williams’s Toward the Unknown Region conducted by Sakari Oramo; Brahms’s A German Requiem with Richard Farnes; Boulanger’s Pour les funérailles d’un soldat and Vaughan Williams’s Dona Nobis Pacem with Edward Gardner; and the world premiere of Roxanna Panufnik’s Songs of Darkness, Dreams of Light at the Last Night of the Proms conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. The BBC SC will also perform Fauré’s Pavane and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Alain Altinoglu and Mahler’s Symphony No.8 with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC National Chorus of Wales, and London Symphony Chorus conducted by Thomas Søndergård;

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 Bliss’s The Beatitudes with the BBC SO under Sir Andrew Davis.

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 and Judith Weir.