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Since its foundation in 1965 the Edinburgh Festival Chorus has been at the heart of the International Festival, performing annually with internationally renowned orchestras, soloists and conductors. The 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. At the 2017 International Festival, Chorus performances included The Opening Concert (Mendelssohn Symphony No 2 ‘Lobgesang’) with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado; Elgar's King Olaf with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis; Berlioz's La damnation de Faust with Hallé conducted by Sir Mark Elder; and with Filarmonica della Scala conducted by Riccardo Chailly (Verdi Stabat mater and Verdi Te Deum).
The Chorus occasionally performs outside of the International Festival and has most recently joined the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard for Haydn’s The Creation in May 2017; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and its Chief Conductor Donald Runnicles to perform Beethoven's Missa Solemnis for live broadcast on the BBC in March 2016; 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; two performances of Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody in March 2012; a performance of Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony in May 2014 with Associate Guest Conductor Andrew Manze; and three performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 in November 2014.
Christopher Bell was appointed Chorus Master of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus in October 2007. He is also currently Chorus Director of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago and of the RSNO Junior Chorus and has been Artistic Director of the National Youth Choir of Scotland since its formation in 1996. The Open University awarded him an Honorary Masters Degree for Services to the Arts in 2009 and in 2013 Chorus America awarded him the Michael Korn Founders Award for the Development of the Professional Choral Art.
To tell the story of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus’s colourful history, the characters, the performances, the grit and the glamour, and to give audiences a glimpse into today’s Chorus, a celebratory book has been published. Copies of 50 years of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus can be bought online or at The Hub or the Usher Hall for £5. If you have sung with the Chorus over the past 50 years, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your free copy of the book.