CBSO Chorus

The CBSO Chorus, which was founded in 1973 by Louis Frémaux and made its concert debut the following year, is the permanent choral partner of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Its members are amateur singers from throughout the West Midlands who are able to meet the highest vocal demands and who must regularly demonstrate their skill in auditions. The centerpieces of its repertoire include such works as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which the Chorus has performed more than fifty times; the choral symphonies of Gustav Mahler; and the great oratorical works of Brahms, Elgar, Britten, and Holst. Highlights of recent years have been the concerts marking the 150th anniversary of Edward Elgar’s birth (The Dream of Gerontius, The Apostles, and The Kingdom), the inauguration of the CBSO’s Principal Conductor Andris Nelsons with Puccini’s La Bohème, and a performance of Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky at the BBC Proms in 2011. The CBSO Chorus also partners with other orchestras, such as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics. Since 1983 Simon Halsey has served as Chorus Director of the CBSO Chorus. Halsey, who was born in 1958 in London, studied at New College in Oxford, King’s College in Cambridge, and the Royal College in London. In Birmingham he also founded a children’s chorus, a youth chorus, the ensemble CBSO Young Voices, and the City of Birmingham Touring Opera. From 2002 to 2008 Halsey additionally served as Principal Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Choir in Hilversum; since 2001 he has been Artistic Director of the Berlin Radio Choir, in which capacity he regularly collaborates with the Berlin Philharmonic, the DSO Berlin, and the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin. In 2011 he published a textbook for choral conductors as part of the Schott Master Class in Choral Conducting.

August 2012