Bristol Choral Society was founded in 1889 by George Riseley, then organist of Bristol Cathedral. From a first performance given by some 500 singers, the choir has been actively involved in staging three to six concerts every year, both in and outside Bristol, with tours to various European countries also having taken place in recent years.
During its long history the choir has attracted such eminent guest conductors as Edward Elgar, Adrian Boult and former Joint President of the choir Sir Charles Mackerras. The choir has also performed with many international soloists, including Isobel Baillie, Kathleen Ferrier and in recent years the choir’s current Joint President, Mark Padmore. Critically acclaimed performances with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Bristol Ensemble, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Music for Awhile and the Philharmonia Orchestra have also enhanced the choir’s reputation, with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth symphony with the Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra and choir being a highlight of 2014.
Since 2000 the choir has gained particular momentum under the directorship of Adrian Partington, one of the foremost choral conductors in the country, receiving regular invitations to take part in Proms concerts with the BBC National Chorus of Wales, and performing at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall with Gloucester Choral Society and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Meanwhile, back at home, the choir is working with Bristol Sings Music to help bring on the next generation of local musicians, as well as welcoming young singers as members of its innovative apprentice scheme.