One of the UK’s finest and most distinctive amateur choirs, the BBC Symphony Chorus was founded in 1928. Its early appearances included premieres of Bartók’s Cantata Profana, Stravinsky’s Perséphone and Mahler’s Eighth Symphony and this commitment to new music is undiminished today with premieres and commissions in recent years of works by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Judith Weir, Stephen Montague, Peter Eötvös and Sir John Tavener.
In its performances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Chorus performs a wide range of challenging repertoire, most of which is broadcast on BBC Radio 3. The 2011-12 Barbican season’s concerts included performances of Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with Sir Andrew Davis and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms with David Robertson as well as appearances at two of the season’s ‘Total Immersion’ events dedicated to Jonathan Harvey and Arvo Pärt. In its 2012-13 season performances include music by Verdi, Prokofiev and Vaughan Williams at the Barbican, plus Elgar’s The Music Makers at Fairfield Halls.
As resident chorus for the BBC Proms, the BBC Symphony Chorus takes part in a number of concerts each season, usually including the First and Last Nights. Appearances in the 2012 Proms included performances of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder with the BBC SO under Jukka- Pekka Saraste (Prom 41) and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (Prom 23).
As well as dedicated studio recordings for Radio 3, the most recent of which was a programme of contemporary repertoire for choir, soprano, tenor and cello conducted by Chorus Director Stephen Jackson, the Chorus has also made recordings for commercial record labels, including a selection of choral works by Joseph Marx, and Delius’s The Song of the High Hills and Appalachia with the BBC SO and Sir Andrew Davis.