Director: Jonathan Silk
The Music Society's Big Band draws together the finest jazz musician on campus, under the direction of their professional MD, Jonathan Silk. The band performs in The Bramall and in a variety of jazz venues across the city. Their main focus is on jazz orchestra repertoire, but they can also be heard playing the occasional funk tune and they have recently been playing some Chaka Khan classics. This year they are joined by guest soloists Stan Sulzmann and Bobby Shew.
Rehearsals: Tuesdays, 19.30-21.30.
Birmingham Symphonic Brass (Brass Dectet)
Director: Dr Stephen Roberts
This brass dectet offer symphonic brass players the opportunity to perform core brass dectet repertoire, new arrangements and works by their director and works with organ as part of the University Degree Ceremonies. The group perform in a concert each term in The Barber Institute of Fine Arts and at high profile University events.
For audition information or to book the group for an event please contact Christina Hancock.
Birmingham University Singers
Director: Professor Simon Carrington
BUS is a mixed chamber choir of up to 40 auditioned singers run by the Music Department and led by Professor Simon Carrington. They rehearse weekly and perform varied repertoire, ranging from Weelkes and Britten to Whitacre and Jonathan Dove. The choir usually gives two concerts per year in the Elgar Concert Hall, plus a performance in Symphony Hall as part of the University of Birmingham Voices. Their annual Festival of Lessons and Carols at St Michael’s, Tenbury, is a highlight of the year.
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, and Voces8.
In 2017/18 the choir will, in addition to its regular activities, perform Debussy’s Trois chansons de Charles d’Orléans with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and its new Music Director, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.
Rehearsals: Mondays, 19:45-22:00.
New Music Ensemble
Director: Daniele Rosina
The hand-picked New Music Ensemble is the Department of Music's contemporary music group. Directed by Daniele Rosina, Director of Orchestral Studies, this group presents new works by student and staff composers, as well as commissioning UK-wide composers. Recently performed composers include Reich, Boulez and Dallapiccola. New Music Ensemble feature in the Music Department's CrossCurrents music festival.
Please note that NME auditions do not take place as part of the main audition process. Please contact Christina Hancock for more information.
Rehearsals: Tuesdays, 17.00-19.00.
Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra
Director: Daniele Rosina
The Music Society has two full-sized, auditioned orchestras of equal standing. They each give a termly concert in The Bramall, and occasional concerts at Town Hall (Birmingham) with the University Chorus. Both orchestras are directed by Daniele Rosina and the general standard of players is around Grade 7-8, but orchestral experience is just as important as an exam result. The orchestras receive coaching from a variety of professional musicians, including members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Auditions take place in Week one of the Autumn term.
Rehearsals: Philharmonic - Mondays 17.00-19.30, Wednesdays 15.00-18.00. Symphony - Thursdays 19.15-22.00.
University Camerata is specially selected choir of up to 40 voices, created to work with the MA Choral Conducting students, under the supervision of Professor Simon Halsey and University Chorus Director, Julian Wilkins. They rehearse once a week, focusing particularly on singing and conducting technique. Working with up to four conductors, Camerata is a great platform for exploring a large variety of choral repertoire.
In 2017/18 the choir will participate in an abcd Young Conductors Day, as well as a concert of its own music for the MA Choral Conducting students’ final recital in March.
Rehearsals: Mondays, 17:00-19:00.
University of Birmingham Voices
Directors: Professor Simon Halsey CBE and Julian Wilkins
The University of Birmingham Voices rehearse in the spring term for an annual performance alongside the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in Symphony Hall. This choir is a chorus of approximately 120 students, including singers from Birmingham University Singers, University Women’s Choir, and University Camerata. Performances to date have included a Gilbert & Sullivan Gala (2014) and Opera Choruses Gala (2015), as well as a revue show of the music of Rodgers & Hammerstein (2016). In 2017 they performed Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Yeomen of the Guard with the orchestra and maestro John Wilson to critical acclaim.
University of Birmingham Voices remain in high demand and – alongside other vocal ensembles at the university – have returned to perform at the BBC Proms on a number of occasions in recent years. Highlights include three performances of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Sir Simon Rattle and the Vienna Philharmonic in Birmingham, London, and Lucerne, as well as a performance of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Marin Alsop at the penultimate night of the festival in 2016. In 2017, the choir opened the Proms season with BBC Proms Youth Choir and Edward Gardner in a live televised performance of John Adams’s Harmonium.
In 2017/18 the choir will perform alongside the CBSO at Symphony Hall in a gala celebrating the music of Leonard Bernstein.
Rehearsals: Mondays, 19:45-22:00 (spring term only).
University Women's Choir
Director: Patrick Barrett
The University Women’s Choir was founded by Professor Simon Halsey CBE in 2013 to accommodate and nurture the wealth of strong women’s voices at the University. Through their first year they quickly made a name for themselves, placing 1st position in the Female Choirs Competition and securing a place in the Choir of the World final at the International Music Eisteddfod.
Conducted by Patrick Barrett, the University Women’s Choir have performed in the Elgar Concert Hall, Symphony Hall, Worcester Cathedral, and the Royal Albert Hall. In 2015 they worked with Juice Vocal Ensemble on a programme of contemporary women’s repertoire, including compositions by UoB Composition Fellow Dr Daria Kwiatowksa.
In 2017/18 the choir will celebrate historic and contemporary women composers, including music by Elizabeth Poston, Cecilia McDowall, and Janet Wheeler.