‘It’s a very positive step for any chorus to become fully part of its orchestra,’ agrees Gregory Batsleer. ‘And more recently we’ve been very keen to offer many more choral opportunities to singers throughout Scotland, which we’ve achieved through the launch of the RSNO Chorus Academy.’ This new RSNO Chorus off-shoot is open to all singers, without audition, with the dual aims of developing singers for the main RSNO Chorus, but also offering greater opportunities to Scottish singers of all levels. ‘It shows that there are ways for everyone to be part of the RSNO through singing – and also what a significant part of the RSNO the Chorus actually is.’
What ambitions does Batsleer have for the RSNO Chorus now? ‘We want the singers to be thriving in their music-making, and performing exciting works with a full symphony orchestra – and we want the Orchestra’s Seasons to be full of great opportunities for the audience to hear them, too. There’s also a huge appetite for us to go back to touring with the Orchestra, and making important recordings.’
He’s clear, however, that the right way to celebrate the RSNO Chorus’ astonishing 175-year history is to look forward, rather than simply back. ‘The most important thing for a Chorus with such a great tradition and history is that we use both of those as inspiration for what we do next, and that we’re constantly looking at new ways to develop, and to have a relevance to Glasgow and Scotland – the communities that we serve.’
Article written by David Kettle.