Birmingham University Singers and University Women’s Choir were pleased to perform new music this month, including three world premieres of pieces commissioned specially for them by Paul Mealor, Ryan Latimer, and Birmingham alumnus, Hillary Lester. 

Birmingham University Singers

Under the baton of Simon Carrington, Birmingham University Singers performed Ryan Latimer’s new commission, EzRa (based on words from Embassytown by China Miéville) to critical acclaim. Latimer is a composer based in Birmingham and a Lecturer in Music at the University. His music has been performed throughout the UK and Europe by leading ensembles such as the London Symphony Orchestra, CBSO, London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia. BCMG, Orkest de Ereprijs, and Loki. 

Meanwhile, University Women’s Choir and Patrick Barrett gave the first performance of Paul Mealor’s I Am The Still Rain Falling. Commissioned by Simon Halsey CBE, the piece sets two poems by Sara Teasdale (Moods and There will be rest) and is written for upper-voice choir and hand-held percussion. Mealor has been described as, ‘the most important composer to have emerged in Welsh choral music since William Mathias’ (New York Times, 2011), and is currently Professor of Composition at the University of Aberdeen.

University Women’s Choir rehearsals

Choirs are an integral part of University Music in Birmingham, and offer unrivalled opportunities for young singers at any university in the UK. For more information, or if you would like to find out more about choirs at University of Birmingham, please contact Gavin Allsop (