RSNO Chorus

The RSNO Chorus performs in around six different programmes in up to twenty concerts across Scotland with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra each year. The RSNO Chorus has also had great success in recording with the Orchestra. Its recordings, amongst others, of Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky, conducted by Neeme Jӓrvi, and Holst's The Planets, conducted by David Lloyd-Jones, have both been subject to high critical acclaim.

In addition to its commitment to the Orchestra, the RSNO Chorus performs independently and has been invited to perform with orchestras in many different parts of the world, establishing an international status for the choir. The RSNO Chorus has toured in Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Israel, Germany, Belfast, Australia, Trondheim, Amsterdam and most recently, Prague.

The RSNO Chorus evolved from a choir formed in 1843 to sing the first full performance of Handel's Messiah in Scotland. Today, the RSNO Chorus is one of the most successful choruses in the UK. In recent years, the Chorus has performed practically every work in the standard choral repertoire along with contemporary works by renowned composers, including John Adams, Magnus Lindberg, Howard Shore and James MacMillan.

The RSNO Chorus is directed by Gregory Batsleer, one of the UK's most dynamic and in demand choral conductors and chorus masters. Gregory recently received The Arts Foundation Award 2015 for Choral Conducting.

Currently, the RSNO Chorus has around 120 members. As an amateur chorus, the members receive no payment for their services, but the level of performance and the speed at which they are required to learn repertoire means that the ability of singers is high.

Forthcoming concerts featuring the RSNO Chorus

RSNO Christmas Concert

RSNO Christmas Concert

Join us for our annual celebration of all things festive – a mouthwatering spread of Yuletide music old and new.…

Perth Concert Hall

01738 621 031

RSNO Christmas Concert

RSNO Christmas Concert

Join us for our annual celebration of all things festive – a mouthwatering spread of Yuletide music old and new.…

Caird Hall, Dundee

01382 434 940

RSNO Christmas Concert

RSNO Christmas Concert

Join us for our annual celebration of all things festive – a mouthwatering spread of Yuletide music old and new.…

Usher Hall, Edinburgh

0131 228 1155

RSNO Christmas Concert

RSNO Christmas Concert

Join us for our annual celebration of all things festive – a mouthwatering spread of Yuletide music old and new.…

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

0141 353 8000

RSNO Christmas Concert

RSNO Christmas Concert

Join us for our annual celebration of all things festive – a mouthwatering spread of Yuletide music old and new.…

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

0141 353 8000

Handel’s Messiah

Handel’s Messiah

Hallelujah! Never mind who’s the Christmas number one: Handel’s Messiah has been the greatest hit in British music for 276…

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

0141 353 8000

Bernstein 100: West Side Story

Bernstein 100: West Side Story

Life, liberty, and big, big tunes – American music never does anything by halves! And from the joyous shouts of…

Usher Hall, Edinburgh

0131 228 1155

Bernstein 100: West Side Story

Bernstein 100: West Side Story

Life, liberty, and big, big tunes – American music never does anything by halves! And from the joyous shouts of…

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

0141 353 8000

Bernstein 100: MASS

Bernstein 100: MASS

Only in America! Throw together a sacred service, a 1970s rock opera, avant-garde theatre and a wild, impossible argument with…

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

0141 353 8000

Join the RSNO Chorus

Are you a passionate and committed singer? Do you enjoy a wide range of music? Would you like to sing with others like you? Read on to find out how you could join the RSNO Chorus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where and when are rehearsals held?

The RSNO Chorus normally rehearses once a week, and meets more often on a concert week. The rehearsals take place on a Wednesday evening 7.30pm–10pm at The RSNO Centre, Glasgow.

What is the required level of commitment?

The RSNO Chorus performs approximately six pieces of music per season, and singers are expected to attend at least 80% of rehearsals to be able to sing in the performance(s). The rehearsal and concert schedule is circulated several months in advance.

Can I come to a rehearsal before auditioning?

Yes, there are two open rehearsals each year where anyone that's interested in joining the RSNO Chorus is encouraged to come along and sing with the choir for an evening. But if you can't wait that long, please email chorus@rsno.org.uk.

When is the next open rehearsal?

We don't currently have any open rehearsals planned. If you would like to attend a rehearsal, please email chorus@rsno.org.uk.

When are the next audition dates?

The next round of auditions will be held on:

Saturday 2 December 2017

Please email chorus@rsno.org.uk with the subject line 'Audition' if you would like to attend.

What do I have to do in an audition?

You'll be asked to sing a solo piece that you've prepared in advance, someone will be there to accompany you on the piano if you want.  You will be asked to prepare a short choral extract 5 minutes before you go into the audition.  You will have your range tested and you may be asked to do some aural tests, these may include singing the middle note of a chord and singing back a short phrase played to you twice.

What does membership cost?

Memberships fees for 2017:18

  • Membership is £80 per annum, due in September 2017.
  • Membership is £40 per annum for new members (first year only).
  • Membership is £40 per annum for mature students in full time education and persons in receipt of job seekers allowance.
  • Membership is free for young people aged 17–25 (inclusive).
  • Bursaries are available for those who cannot afford membership fees. Please contact chorus@rsno.org.uk for more details.

Is there any financial support available for students and those on a low income?

The Grant Murray Bequest was set up by the family of a past member of the RSNO Chorus who died at the early age of thirty-one. Its purpose is to assist younger members of the Chorus to experience the opportunities Grant Murray had so much enjoyed, particularly touring with the Chorus. Funds from the Bequest are also available for help with the cost of singing lessons or to help with travelling expenses to rehearsals.

Do I need to be able to read music?

Yes. The way the RSNO Chorus learns new works, and the general pace of rehearsals, really means that you should be able to read music.

What age do I have to be to join the RSNO Chorus?

Normally singers should be over the age of eighteen to join the RSNO Chorus.

Where are members based?

Members of the RSNO Chorus come from all over central Scotland, not just Glasgow, with a number of singers travelling from Edinburgh each week for rehearsals.

Do I need to buy my own music?

Members of the RSNO Chorus are asked to have their own copy of Handel's Messiah (Watkins Shaw edition), which the Chorus performs annually with the RSNO. All other music is provided.

Where does the RSNO Chorus perform?

The RSNO Chorus regularly performs with the RSNO in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. The RSNO Chorus also occasionally travels to sing in the Caird Hall in Dundee, the Music Hall in Aberdeen and Perth Concert Hall.

Does the RSNO Chorus perform outside of Scotland?

The RSNO Chorus has been on a number of overseas tours, performing with the RSNO and with other orchestras. In recent years, the RSNO Chorus has performed in Copenhagen, Belfast, Australia, Norway, Amsterdam and Prague.

Why should I join the RSNO Chorus?

The RSNO Chorus sings wonderful music, ranging from the choral classics through to more unusual, modern pieces, for example, the concert version of the Lord of the Rings film score… in Elvish! Add to that regularly performing with one of Europe's leading symphony orchestras, alongside world-renowned conductors and soloists… What more could you want?

Meet the Team

Gregory Batsleer

Gregory Batsleer

Chorus Director

Greg joined as RSNO Chorus Director in January 2015. For a full biography, please click on the picture above.

Abigail Kitching

Abigail Kitching

Sir Alexander Gibson Memorial Fellow

Abigail Kitching is a recent graduate of Music from the University of Manchester where she gained a first in performance. In her final year, she was Musical Director of the chamber choir, Ad Solem, and a student conductor for the larger university choirs. During this time she instigated and directed Musica festival to celebrate female music-making which led to participating in a conducting masterclass given by Odaline de la Martinez. Abigail is a co-founder of the Manchester-based opera collective, The Opera Shack, and was Musical Director of their debut performance. In September 2017, she will be taking up the role of Musical Director of Darwen Ladies Choir. Aside from conducting, Abigail sings both as a soloist and in choirs such as Kantos chamber choir, with whom she recorded with the BBC Philharmonic. After succeeding in solo competitions in her youth, she took part in a masterclass given by Mark Widman, the head of Vocal Studies at the Royal Academy of Music, and in January 2017 found success at the David Clover Festival of Singing where she won the recital category. She works for Streetwise Opera – a charity which teaches opera to adults who have experienced homelessness – and performed in their adaptation of the St Matthew Passion alongside The Sixteen Singers, which aired on BBC Four.

Polly Beck

Vocal Coach

Liverpool-born, Polly lives in Greenock. She studied at the RSAMD, and later won the entrance scholarship to the Postgraduate Opera Course at the RNCM where she achieved her MMus and won many prizes and awards including the Peter Moores Foundation Award, the Countess of Munster Prize and the D’Oyle Carte Scholarship.

Polly later returned to Scotland to work with Scottish Opera. As a soloist Polly has sung with several UK orchestras, and appeared in many festivals throughout the country, including the 40th anniversary Aldeburgh Festival.

Her operatic roles include many of the great Wagnerian heroines such as Sieglinde and Brangäne. More recently she has sung with Lyric Opera Dublin and for the Royal Opening of the Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock.

Polly has many years teaching experience. She taught Singing, as well as Performance classes, at the Junior RNCM and at Scottish Opera Education Department. Currently she enjoys her role as a Vocal Instructor for Inverclyde Music Service, teaching Voice and Performance Skills. She is also Vocal Coach for Inverclyde Senior Choir, and contributes on the committee of the Inverclyde Festival.

In addition, Polly teaches at the University of Glasgow, the Junior Conservatoire of the RCS and the National Youth Choir of Scotland.

Ed Cohen

Accompanist

Ed trained at the Royal Academy of Music, Indiana University, and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he currently holds a position as part-time lecturer and staff accompanist. He regularly works with numerous choirs in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and enjoys a busy freelance career, frequently performing across the UK and further afield.