Birmingham students perform at the BBC Proms 2018

University of Birmingham Voices were pleased to perform this month as part of the BBC Proms Youth Choir at the largest classical music festival in the world – the BBC Proms.

UoB Voices on the Royal Albert Hall steps

Together with the World Orchestra for Peace, the BBC Proms Youth Choir performed Beethoven’s seminal Symphony No. 9 (‘Choral’), as well as a new work by the Lativan composer, Ēriks Ešenvalds – all under the batons of renowned conductors Donald Runnicles and Birmingham’s own Professor and Director of Choral Activities, Simon Halsey.

Reviewed by all of the leading print and online news outlets, Classical Source noted ‘the young chorus proved simply magnificent, singing from memory with the distinctive bright youthful timbre of 250 voices’; whilst Richard Morrison of The Times said the choir were ‘coached to a marvellous unanimity of intonation and attack by Simon Halsey’.

The entire concert, broadcast originally on Saturday 21 July 2018, is available to listen to again at the BBC Proms website and BBC iPlayer.

University of Birmingham Voices are one of the foremost choral ensembles in Birmingham and are led by Professor Simon Halsey, Director of Choral Activities, and Julian Wilkins, University Chorus Director. The choir remain in high demand nationally and at home in Birmingham, with recent highlights including a performance of John Adams’s Harmonium for the opening concert of the BBC Proms 2017, as well as a critically acclaimed performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Yeomen of the Guard with John Wilson and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In 2018/19 they will return to Symphony Hall, Birmingham, for a performance of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the CBSO and CBSO Chorus. 

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.

Behind the scenes

Photographer Victoria Beddoes went behind the scenes with UOB Voices to capture the excitement of performing at the Royal Albert Hall. 

Studying the manuscript

A toy xylophone

Rehearsal in the Royal Albert Hall

The corridors of the Royal Albert Hall

Before the performance

Choir chat together in the Green Room.