Toby Young
Photography: Vikram Kushwah

Complementing works from composers such as Jonathan Dove and Judith Bingham, the choir presented the world premiere of ‘Beauty’ by award-winning composer Toby Young.

Toby Young, alongside his educational work at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, is a fresh voice in the landscape of choral composition, and frequently writes for projects across a variety of cross-disciplinary formats. Young’s work has been commissioned by a number of world-class ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra and Rambert Dance Company and he also works as a producer for some of the country’s leading artists.

Commissioned by Professor Simon Halsey and the Principal Conductor of Birmingham University Singers, Bob Chilcott, the choir were thrilled to be working with Young on the performance of this new work. The piece itself sets a ‘stunningly evocative’ poem by Birmingham-born writer Constance Naden, which ‘tussles with the timeless pursuit of art to capture the ineffable’ and captures the juxtaposition of beauty as both something ‘knowable and enigmatic’ and as a concept with ‘universal power’.

BUS is a mixed chamber choir of up to 45 auditioned singers directed by Bob Chilcott. Since its inception, the choir has gained a national reputation as one of the finest university choirs in the UK.

In recent years BUS has sung in Tewkesbury Abbey, Worcester, Gloucester, Oxford Cathedral’s, Clare College (Cambridge), the Royal Albert Hall, and Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod. Over the years BUS have had the opportunity to work with professional vocal ensembles, such as The Sixteen, Binchois Consort, Tenebrae, and Voces8. The choir has also developed a noted international reputation, having given concerts in Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland.

BUS has appeared under the baton of many distinguished guest conductors including Simon Carrington, Simon Halsey, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, and Sakari Oramo. Recent collaborations have included performances with Jeffrey Douma and Yale Glee Club, Nigel Short and Tenebrae, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.