Edinburgh Festival Chorus

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The Edinburgh Festival Chorus performs annually at the Edinburgh International Festival taking its place on stage with world famous orchestras, soloists and conductors.

'Delivered with ringing pomp by the Edinburgh Festival Chorus'

The Scotsman

In 2014 they will be performing in several concerts at the Usher Hall including: the Opening Concert with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Oliver Knussen, Holst's The Planets with Donald Runnicles and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Britten's War Requiem with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis, with John Axelrod and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for Bernstein's Kaddish Symphony, and the closing concert with Ilan Volkov and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

As an amateur chorus performing to extremely high standards, it draws the majority of its members from Scotland’s central belt, rehearsing on Tuesday evenings throughout the year for the four or five concerts it performs in during the Festival. Auditions are held annually in the autumn ahead of the rehearsal season starting in mid-October and successfully auditioned Chorus members automatically take part in all Festival concerts, touring and recording opportunities. If a chorus member is not able to commit to all concerts there is also the opportunity to audition for Chorus Master Christopher Bell's list of 'extra' singers for when additional voices are required.

If you are interested in auditioning for the Edinburgh Festival Chorus please contact Helen MacLeod, Chorus Manager, chorus@eif.co.uk, 0131 473 2027.

The Edinburgh Festival Chorus has been at the heart of the Edinburgh International Festival since its foundation in 1965. Performing with internationally renowned orchestras and conductors, the Edinburgh Festival Chorus has performed virtually all the great standard works of the 19th and 20th centuries, continuously broadening its repertoire under the Festival Director’s programming. 

The Chorus occasionally performs outside of the Festival and since 2009 has enjoyed a wonderful creative relationship with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, joining the orchestra, and its Chief Conductor Donald Runnicles, at the 2010 BBC Proms for Mahler’s Symphony No.3; two performances of Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem in Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of the orchestra’s 75th anniversary season in February 2011; at the 2011 BBC Proms with Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé, and Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody in March 2012. They will join the orchestra and their Associate Guest Conductor Andrew Manze for a performance of Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony in May 2014.

Find out more about what it’s like to be a member of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus with this video or read the Chorus blog.

We visited the Edinburgh Festival Chorus during their rehearsal of the 2012 programme and quizzed newcomers and veterans about why they were there and what they thought of singing with the group.

Christopher Bell, Chorus Master
Belfast born, Edinburgh based Christopher Bell is currently Chorus Director of the Grant Park Chorus, Chicago, USA and of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus. He was largely responsible for the formation of the National Youth Choir of Scotland in 1996 and has been its Artistic Director since then. In 2009 the Open University awarded him an Honorary Masters Degree for Services to the Arts.

Listen below to Christopher Bell as he reveals the rewards of life in the Edinburgh Festival Chorus.