Bristol Choral Society
Bristol Choral Society is one of the South West’s premier symphony choruses and has been performing at Colston Hall since the choir was founded in 1889. The ensemble has a membership of approximately 180 auditioned singers, and always presents an exciting programme of music, while teaming up with world renowned soloists and professional orchestras under the direction of their conductor, Adrian Partington. In the past the choir has accepted engagements from the Philharmonia Orchestra and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
As a society the ensemble contributes significantly to the Bristol music scene through their ‘come and sing’ events, community outreach and apprentice scheme, which aims to develop the skills of young singers, exposing them to a wide range of music. BCS also regularly stages concerts for children, showcasing classical choral music in an informal and accessible way.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is the resident orchestra at Colston Hall, performing a series of concerts here every year. Since its foundation in 1893 the ensemble has worked with such historic figures as Bartok, Sibelius, Holst, Stravinsky, and Vaughan-Williams, among many others. The orchestra gives over 150 performances each year, collaborating with world-class conductors and soloists keeping them at the forefront of the UK orchestral music scene.
The BSO is proud to serve the communities of South and South West England, as well as appearing on many of the world’s great stages including Carnegie Hall, New York; Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; and Musikverein, Vienna. Since the first pioneering recordings in 1914, the BSO now has over 300 recordings to its name. Releases include a critically-acclaimed collaboration with James Ehnes and the top-selling classical recording of 2012 in partnership with Nicola Benedetti.
Away from the concert hall and recording studio, the orchestra is committed to engaging new audiences through their education and community department, BSO Resonate. BSO musicians also take part in an extensive array of community outreach projects.
Adrian Partington has had success as a conductor, chorus master, pianist and organist. He is director of music at Gloucester Cathedral, director of BBC National Chorus of Wales and conductor of Bristol Choral Society, among many other things.
Partington studied at the Royal College of Music – with Herbert Howells amongst other fine teachers – and at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was both the Organ Scholar and an Academic Scholar. He has recorded a dozen solo CDs, including the complete sonatas of Gustav Merkel, and the complete works of Basil Harwood.
Peter King is the Director of Music at Bath Abbey, England, and a well-known recitalist in Britain and abroad. Together with Nicolas Kynaston, Peter was responsible for the design and installation of the Abbey’s Klais Organ. Peter was Assistant Chorus Director to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra during Sir Simon Rattle’s tenure as Musical Director and he still plays the organ regularly with the orchestra.
Peter’s perfomance highlights have included recitals at Ingolstadt Minster, Cologne Cathedral, Grote Sint Laurence Kerk, Alkmaar, an opening recital on the new organ in Palacio Euskalduna, Bilbao, and Birmingham, where he played at the opening of the new Organ in Symphony Hall. His recitals at the Bath Mozartfest have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Peter King holds the honorary degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Bath. He has recorded many CDs on the Klais organ in Bath Abbey which have been highly acclaimed.
Mezzo-Soprano Susan Bickley is one of the most accomplished mezzo sopranos of her generation, with a wide repertory encompassing the Baroque, the great 19th and 20th century dramatic roles as well as contemporary repertoire. In May 2011 she received the prestigious Singer Award at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK.
Susan Bickley has sung on many of the world’s great stages with conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Ingo Metzmacher, Trevor Pinnock, Sir Andrew Davis, Christian Curnyn, Antonio Pappano and Mark Wigglesworth. She regularly appears at the BBC Proms. Performances during the last couple of seasons include Alexander Nevsky and Waltraute Götterdämmerung with the Hallé Orchestra, the latter of which was recorded for commercial release and won Best Opera Album at the 2010 Gramophone Awards.
Mark Padmore was born in London and grew up in Canterbury. After beginning his musical studies on the clarinet he gained a choral scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge and graduated with an honours degree in music. He has established a flourishing career in opera, concert and recital. His performances in Bach’s Passions have gained international acclaim.
In the opera house he has worked with directors Peter Brook, Katie Mitchell, Mark Morris and Deborah Warner. He also played Peter Quint in an acclaimed BBC television production of Britten’s Turn of the Screw and recorded the title role in La Clemenza di Tito with René Jacobs for Harmonia Mundi. In concert he has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Munich Radio, Berlin, Vienna, New York and London Philharmonic Orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston and London Symphony Orchestras and the Philharmonia. He makes regular appearances with the OAE with whom he has conceived projects exploring both Bach St John and St Matthew Passions. Mark has given recitals in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, New York Paris and Vienna. He appears frequently at Wigmore Hall in London.
Baritone David Stout is a highly sought-after soloist. He studied on the opera course at Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Rudolf Piernay, where he received the Principal’s Prize. He appears regularly with the English and Welsh National Operas, and also has an extensive concert and song repertoire. His recordings, among which include the NMC Songbook with Iain Burnside, Haydn’s Creation with New College, Oxford, and Mahler (arr. Schönberg) Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Orchestra of the Swan, have received to critical acclaim.
Stout has performed Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with Sir Colin Davis, Handel’s Messiah and Brahms’ Requiem with the Hallé Orchestra, Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bach’s St. John Passion with Polyphony at St John’s Smith Square, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast at the Royal Festival Hall, Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater with the Derby Bach Choir, Bach Ich habe genug at King’s Place and Christus St. Matthew Passion for the St. Endellion Festival.
Song recitals have included Mendelssohn Lieder with Iain Burnside for BBC Radio 3, while his oratorio repertoire includes Bach’s B Minor Mass; Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Polyphemus’ Acis and Galatea, Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Verdi’s Requiem, Tippett’s A Child of Our Time, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius and Britten’s War Requiem.