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RSNO Chorus

In 2018, the RSNO Chorus celebrated its 175th anniversary with performances of music by Handel, Bernstein and Holst. The RSNO Chorus evolved from a choir formed in 1843 to sing the first full performance of Handel's Messiah in Scotland. Today, it 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 has c120 members and 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 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.

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 who share this passion?

Celebrating 175 years of the RSNO Chorus

The RSNO Chorus is one of Scotland’s most cherished musical treasures. But it also holds a highly unusual, almost certainly unique, position.

Gregory Batsleer

Gregory Batsleer

Chorus Director

Gregory Batsleer is widely regarded as one of the most charismatic and innovative choral conductors of his generation.
He has held the position of Chorus Director with the RSNO since 2015, and has in that time overseen an improvement in the overall standard of the RSNO Chorus as well as a rise in the RSNO’s choral activity. This has included the inauguration of the RSNO Chorus Academy, Singing Days, and the establishment of regular Come and Sing events with the Orchestra.
Since 2009, Gregory has also held the position of Chorus Director with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and last season started the newly created post of Choral Director of the Huddersfield Choral Society, where he is responsible for overseeing the Society’s artistic development. In summer 2017, Gregory co-founded Festival Voices, a professional vocal ensemble specialising in cross-discipline collaboration and performance.
As a guest conductor, highlights include performances with the RSNO, Hallé, Academy of Ancient Music, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Aurora Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North, Royal Northern College of Music Symphony Orchestra, Black Dyke Band, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. This spring, Gregory conducts a UK-wide, fully staged production of Bernstein’s West Side Story.
Read Gregory’s full biography here.

Abigail Kitching

Abigail Kitching

Sir Alexander Gibson Memorial Fellow

Abigail Kitching is a 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 took 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

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

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.

Forthcoming Concerts with the RSNO Chorus


The Lark Ascending

A blue sky, a soaring bird and a dream of tranquillity – Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending is one of the nation’s favourite classical pieces. But it’s just one face of this great British composer, and today conductor Martin Yates shares an amazing rediscovery: The Future, a visionary masterpiece for…

Fri 8 Nov 2019, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

The Lark Ascending

The Lark Ascending

A blue sky, a soaring bird and a dream of tranquillity – Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending is one of the nation’s favourite classical pieces. But it’s just one face of this great British composer, and today conductor Martin Yates shares an amazing rediscovery: The Future, a visionary masterpiece for…

Sat 9 Nov 2019, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

The Lark Ascending

Danny Elfman Gala

If you know the theme tune from The Simpsons, you already know the music of Danny Elfman – the genius who created the musical world of Edward Scissorhands, followed Alice into Wonderland and let Tim Burton’s Batman take flight. Outrageously tuneful, deliciously dark or just plain magical, there’s no film…

Fri 29 Nov 2019, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

Danny Elfman Gala

Danny Elfman Gala

If you know the theme tune from The Simpsons, you already know the music of Danny Elfman – the genius who created the musical world of Edward Scissorhands, followed Alice into Wonderland and let Tim Burton’s Batman take flight. Outrageously tuneful, deliciously dark or just plain magical, there’s no film…

Sat 30 Nov 2019, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Danny Elfman Gala

Handel's Messiah

Handel’s Messiah isn’t so much an oratorio as an institution. Everyone knows the Hallelujah chorus, but if that’s all you know, you’re in for a wonderful surprise, because every note is just as uplifting. Ev’ry Valley, For Unto Us a Child Is Born, The Trumpet Shall Sound...you know the tunes…

Thu 2 Jan 2020, 3.00PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Handel's Messiah

Brahms' German Requiem

The RSNO Chorus sounds great in the Royal Concert Hall, so imagine how it’ll feel to hear them singing up close and personal in the wonderfully intimate setting of the New Auditorium. Written in memory of his mother, Brahms’ German Requiem is the great master at his most tender and…

Sun 2 Feb 2020, 2.30PM
New Auditorium, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Brahms' German Requiem

Beethoven Revolution: The Emperor

Beethoven never actually called his Fifth Piano Concerto ‘The Emperor’ – it just seemed perfect for a piece that’s so magnificently larger than life. So who better to play it than the charismatic composer and pianist Fazil Say? His Grand Bazaar is a musical tour through the colours, fragrances and…

Thu 12 Mar 2020, 7.30PM
Caird Hall, Dundee
Box Office: 01382 434 940

Beethoven Revolution: The Emperor

Beethoven Revolution: The Emperor

Beethoven never actually called his Fifth Piano Concerto ‘The Emperor’ – it just seemed perfect for a piece that’s so magnificently larger than life. So who better to play it than the charismatic composer and pianist Fazil Say? His Grand Bazaar is a musical tour through the colours, fragrances and…

Fri 13 Mar 2020, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

Beethoven Revolution: The Emperor

Beethoven Revolution: The Emperor

Beethoven never actually called his Fifth Piano Concerto ‘The Emperor’ – it just seemed perfect for a piece that’s so magnificently larger than life. So who better to play it than the charismatic composer and pianist Fazil Say? His Grand Bazaar is a musical tour through the colours, fragrances and…

Sat 14 Mar 2020, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Beethoven Revolution: The Emperor

Singing Day: Verdi Requiem

Verdi’s Requiem is one of the most thrilling choral works in existence – and if you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to be in the middle of that incredible sound, now’s your chance! In this one-off scratch performance with piano, you’ll get to rehearse it with the RSNO’s Chorus…

Sat 21 Mar 2020, 10.00AM
New Auditorium, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Singing Day: Verdi Requiem

Singing Day Concert: Verdi Requiem

Verdi’s Requiem is an opera in all but name. A real blockbuster of a piece, come and enjoy this special informal performance of this exciting work by members of the public accompanied by piano in the New Auditorium.…

Sat 21 Mar 2020, 5.00PM
New Auditorium, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Singing Day Concert: Verdi Requiem

Season Finale: Verdi Requiem

Judgement Day: drums thunder, trumpets blast, and a massed chorus cries out in terror. Verdi’s Requiem might not be what you expect from religious music, but it’s exactly what you’d expect from the supreme master of Italian opera. With the full RSNO Chorus joined by four world-class operatic soloists, hold…

Fri 29 May 2020, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

Season Finale: Verdi Requiem

Season Finale: Verdi Requiem

Judgement Day: drums thunder, trumpets blast, and a massed chorus cries out in terror. Verdi’s Requiem might not be what you expect from religious music, but it’s exactly what you’d expect from the supreme master of Italian opera. With the full RSNO Chorus joined by four world-class operatic soloists, hold…

Sat 30 May 2020, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Season Finale: Verdi Requiem

© Royal Scottish National Orchestra 2018