About the Choir

City of Birmingham Choir – passionate about great choral music!

Dream of Gerontius, Town Hall, 1945


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, since its opening, in the magnificent Symphony Hall, we have also enjoyed a warm 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 directors and conductors.

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

We have sung the major choral works as well as more challenging and newer compositions.  The standard of our performances draws consistent praise.

In Symphony Hall…

We have worked with other orchestras including the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Swan and the BBC Concert Orchestra.  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 performed some of the more intimate choral repertoire in ‘out of town’ venues such as Tewkesbury Abbey, most recently in June 2017.  Easter 2017 saw our second hugely successful and enjoyable overseas tour – singing Handel’s Messiah in the Stephansdom in Vienna – following a tour to Paris in April 2015.

A highly-acclaimed performance of James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross, our stylish annual Handel’s Messiah performances, collaboration with Birmingham Schools’ Symphony Orchestra (Belshazzar’s Feast in 2017) – these are some 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. We are now planning our Centenary in 2021.

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.

In June 2018, we entered another new sphere by performing Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with period instruments in Gloucester Cathedral.

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 have helped 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.

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. Registered Charity 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 2017-18

President Hugh Carslake
Chairman John Ellis
Deputy Chairman Michael Toolan
General Secretary Tricia Bowden
Concerts Secretary Sue Ward
Treasurer David Pannell
Marketing Manager Su Whale
Membership Secretary Jill Taylor
Development Forum Manager Victoria Wilcher

Other roles, not members of the Board

Tickets Janet Fleming
Board Minutes Secretary Teri Siggins
Recruitment Georgina Hardy
Presentation Colin Hutcheson
Supporters/Patrons Hannah Day
Voices from the City of Birmingham Choir John Franklin
Librarian Sue Franklin
Dresses Ann Peach
Programmes Editor John Ellis
Annual Review / 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.