The Choir

President: Professor John Morehen

Since its foundation in 1856, the Nottingham Harmonic choir, Nottingham’s civic choir, has established itself as the premiere choir in the region and one of the leading choirs in Britain. In its early years the names of Charles Hallé and Sir Arthur Sullivan were among those associated with the chorus. At the beginning of the twentieth century its principal conductor was Henry Wood, later to become Sir Henry Wood, conductor of the first Promenade Concerts.

A twenty-year distinguished period of musical achievement under the guidance of gifted choral director Neil Page led to a brief stewardship under international conductor Murray Stewart.
Our new chorus master and director of music Richard Laing brings a new, vibrant and youthful approach building upon the last period of successful development by his illustrious predecessors.

The choir has frequently performed with guest conductors in addition to its Director of Music. Sir Adrian Boult, Sir Malcolm Sargent, Owain Arwel Hughes, Norman Del Mar, James Loughran, George Weldon, Laszlo Heltay, Richard Hickox, Sir Charles Groves and Sir David Willcocks are among those who have worked with the choir.

In the last few years the choir has performed regularly as part of the Nottingham Classics series of concerts, working with conductors such as John Wilson (CBSO) and Sir Mark Elder, Cristian Mandeal and Andrew Gourlay (Hallé).

Until the 1970s the choir used its own amateur orchestras (adult and youth training). Since then it has worked with professional orchestras, frequently the Orchestra da Camera.

National orchestras have included the BBC Concert Orchestra, RPO, Philharmonia and the Hallé. We have even featured providing the backing choir in a concert with ELO, extending our repertoire to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and We will Rock you. The choir has recorded exclusively for Priory in two CDs of Christmas music with the Thoresby Colliery Band.

The full choir, numbering over 200 singers at the time, performed at the opening of Nottingham’s magnificent Royal Concert Hall, which has become the venue for the majority of the Society’s concerts. In addition to its concerts in the Royal Concert Hall the choir has accepted invitations on numerous occasions to perform in other venues including the Royal Albert Hall, London. The choir also performs in Nottingham’s Albert Hall.
Most summers however, we move to the sublime surroundings of Southwell Minster, where the friendly atmosphere and fine acoustics complement much of the earlier classical repertoire.