About the Choir
City of Birmingham Choir – passionate about great choral music!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The City of Birmingham Choir
Founded 1921. A company limited by guarantee. Company Registration Number 2081252 England. Charity Commission Registration Number 1049684.
The Lord Mayor of Birmingham
President Hugh Carslake
Conductor Adrian Lucas
Rehearsal Accompanist Colin Baines
Contact the choir here.
Board of Management 2017-18
|Deputy Chairman||John Ellis|
|General Secretary||Tricia Bowden|
|Concerts Secretary||Sue Ward|
|Marketing Manager||Su Whale|
|Membership Secretary||Jill Taylor|
|Development Forum Manager||Victoria Wilcher|
|Board member||Michael Toolan|
Other roles, not members of the Board
|Board minutes||Teri Siggins|
|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.