The London Symphony Chorus was formed in 1966 to complement the work of the London Symphony Orchestra and is renowned internationally for its concerts and recordings with the Orchestra. This important partnership was strengthened in 2012 with the appointment of Simon Halsey as joint Chorus Director of the LSC and Choral Director for the LSO. The Chorus plays a major role in furthering the vision of LSO Sing, which also encompasses the LSO Community Choir, LSO Discovery Choirs for young people.
The LSC has worked with many leading international conductors and other major orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic. It has also toured extensively throughout Europe and has visited North America, Israel, Australia and South East Asia.
The partnership between the LSC and LSO, particularly under Richard Hickox in the 1980s and 1990s, and later with Sir Colin Davis, led to its large catalogue of recordings which have won nine awards, including five Grammys. Gramophone included the recordings of Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust and Romeo and Juliet on LSO Live with Sir Colin as two of the top ten Berlioz recordings. Recent LSO Live recordings with the Chorus include Bernstein’s Wonderful Town and Candide, Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust, Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and Beethoven’s Christ on the Mount of Olives, all with Sir Simon Rattle.
In early 2020 the chorus undertook a major European tour of Beethoven, including Christ on the Mount of Olives, with the LSO and Sir Simon Rattle. Further recent performances over the past two seasons include the world premieres of Howard Goodall’s Never to Forget and Errollyn Wallen’s After Winter with Simon Halsey at the Spitalfields Festival in July 2021; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Orchestre Philharmonique in Monte-Carlo and Aix-en-Provence with Kazuki Yamada; Julian Anderson’s Exiles (an LSC co-commission); Haydn’s The Creation with Sir Simon Rattle; Dallapiccola’s Il Prigioniero with Sir Antonio Pappano; and a return to the BBC Proms this summer for Mahler Symphony No. 2 under Sir Simon Rattle.
Never to Forget is an LSC commission in memory of health and social care workers who died from Covid-19 while caring for others. An initial eight-minute version was recorded online by the Chorus with LSO players and released as a video during the pandemic. The completed work was performed at a national memorial concert alongside choreographed work from Rambert at St Paul’s Cathedral in March 2022.
The Chorus is an independent charity run by its members. It is committed to excellence, to diversity, equity and inclusion, and the vocal development of its members. It engages actively in the musical life of London, seeking new members and audiences, and commissioning and performing new works.
Sir Simon Rattle OM CBE
Michael Tilson Thomas
Simon Russell Beale CBE
Howard Goodall CBE
Simon Halsey CBE
LSO Choral Projects Manager