About the Choir

City of Birmingham Choir – passionate about great choral music!

Dream of Gerontius, Town Hall, 1945


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Since 1921, the City of Birmingham Choir has  entertained audiences with a wide and adventurous repertoire.  Singing from the start in the historic Town Hall and, more recently, in the magnificent acoustics of Symphony Hall, we have also enjoyed an enormously productive musical partnership with the city’s international orchestra, the CBSO.  (Read more in History and Archive.)

Our Conductor and musical director is Adrian Lucas.  Adrian brings a wealth of experience as one of the country’s leading choral conductors.

Composer, teacher and all-round versatile musician, Colin Baines is our accompanist.

We have performed most of the major choral works as well as more challenging and newer compositions.  The standard of our performances draws consistent praise from both critics and audience.

In Symphony Hall…

As well as performing with the CBSO, we have worked with other orchestras such as the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Swan and the BBC Concert Orchestra, and have had concerts broadcast on Radios 2 and 3.  We joined the CBSO Chorus and CBSO for the much-praised centenary performances of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, The Apostles and The Kingdom. We have also sung at the Three Choirs Festival and have performed some of the more intimate choral repertoire in ‘out of town’ venues such as Tewkesbury Abbey, most recently in May 2015. Easter 2015 saw our first overseas tour – to Paris, and we will be visiting Vienna at Easter 2017.

A highly-acclaimed performance of James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross, our stylish Handel’s Messiah performances and collaboration with Birmingham Schools’ Symphony Orchestra are highlights.  We celebrated our 90th birthday in November 2011 with Janáček’s electrifying Glagolitic Mass, and in March 2012 with the groundbreaking Equinox concert bringing together musicians from many cultures. A Christmas Treats CD was recorded in the same year. Exploring both more familiar territory (Handel, Bach, Brahms, Mozart, Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Holst, Britten, Finzi), and less well-known, (such as Samuel Wesley, Howells, Rautavaara, Kenneth Leighton and Jonathan Dove), we continue to plan enterprising programmes. June 2015, saw us in jazz mode, performing the popular Zimbe!, works by George Shearing, and a new composition, The Rain Queen, by our own composer, John Barber. More recently, we have given concerts in the Elgar Concert Hall alongside our regular Symphony Hall performances.

Paris Tour 2015 - Notre Dame, Sunday am

Paris Tour 2015 – Notre Dame, Sunday am

We also perform for other organisations, including Raymond Gubbay – Spectacular Classics, Christmas Classics, Beethoven’s 9th, Mozart Requiem and Karl Jenkins conducting his own music to a packed Symphony Hall.

Conductor, Adrian Lucas

The Choir is committed to supporting choral music making and has participated in Making Music’s Adopt-a-composer scheme as well as running singing competitions and workshops for people of all ages.  We are helping to develop the next generation of choral performers through our Voice Factory – a series of enterprising projects providing vocal training for the Choir and encouraging the participation of young people in singing and choral concerts. In 2015, a children’s choir was formed to perform Zimbe! as well as The Rain Queen.

We are proud to be an independent organisation promoting and financing major choral concerts with professional orchestras and soloists.

Thank you for coming to our concerts. We value your continued support.

The Choir is a member of 

 The City of Birmingham Choir

Founded 1921. A company limited by guarantee. Company Registration Number 2081252 England. Charity Commission Registration Number 1049684.

Honorary Patrons   The Lord Mayor of Birmingham and Dr Christopher Robinson CBE CVO

President    Hugh Carslake

Conductor   Adrian Lucas

Rehearsal Accompanist   Colin Baines

Contact the choir here.

Board of Management 2016-17

President Hugh Carslake
Chairman Michael Price
General Secretary Tricia Bowden
Concerts Secretary Sue Ward
Treasurer David Pannell
Marketing Manager Su Whale
Membership Secretary Jill Taylor
Development Forum Manager Victoria Wilcher
Board member Alison Burslem

Other roles, not members of the Board

Ticket Secretary Janet Fleming
Publicity Secretary / Board minutes secretary Teri Siggins
Recruitment Officer Georgina Hardy
Presentation Manager Colin Hutcheson
Press/Media Officers Janet Shaw
Supporters Secretary Frances Hooper
Librarian Sue Franklin
Voice Factory Co-ordinator
Dress Secretary Ann Peach
Programmes Editor John Ellis
Annual Review Editor and Archivist David Baxendale
Making Music Delegate Gwyn Williams
Website editor Mark Lawrence
Website creator Matthew Somerville

All officers of the choir give their time voluntarily.