BFC@50 Reunion

On 22 February 1968 a group of singers congregated upstairs in the Gas Showroom in Church Street in Brighton, met a Hungarian Chorus Master called Laszlo Heltay, sang through Mozart’s Kyrie in D minor - and thus Brighton Festival Chorus was born!

The old Gas Showroom is now Côte Brasserie, and on 22 February this year a group of over 40 founder members and other early members gathered together in that very room to celebrate 50 years of the BFC, to reminisce, meet old friends and swap anecdotes. In the intervening years quite a few original members have died, and we have lost touch with many others, but a good representative group of people did answer the invitation. Compared with the photos of the youthful choir we used to be, everyone present had, unsurprisingly, aged. However, listening to the conversations, it was obvious that the enthusiasm for music had not dimmed, and the memories were still bright. As Laszlo used to say - VE GO ON!

You can see a video of the gathering here.


Crucifixus - Music at Eastertide

Saturday 31st March, 7.30pm, Brighton Dome

Duruflé - Requiem
Britten (arr. Morgan & Pochin) - Missa Brevis (world premiere)
Lotti, Cherubini, Vivaldi, J.S Bach - Crucifixus

Brighton Festival Chorus
Brighton Festival Youth Choir
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor - James Morgan

Poised between the solemnity of Good Friday and the joy of Easter Day, this special concert by the massed ranks of two great choirs and one of the country’s finest orchestras provides an appropriate focus for the Easter weekend.

Featuring Duruflé’s exquisite Requiem and contrasting settings of the Crucifixus, the Chorus present a feast of choral music ranging from Baroque intricacy to 20th-century eloquence. The world premiere of a new orchestral arrangement of Britten’s Missa Brevis completes the programme, bringing this iconic Mass setting into the concert hall repertoire for the first time.

In one of a series of concerts to mark Brighton Festival Chorus’ fiftieth birthday year, the Chorus and Youth Choir are joined by the world renowned Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to perform some of the most emotional and moving works in the choral repertoire.


New Recording

Back in September 2016 and March 2017 we joined Barry Wordsworth and the BBC Concert Orchestra in Watford Colosseum for two recording sessions of Elgar's Music for Chorus and Orchestra.

The recording, entitled Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, has just been released by SOMM Records (catalogue no: SOMM0267).

The album features a number of lesser known pieces by Elgar, which span 26 years of his creative output and chart the development of his prowess in setting the voice.

Barry Wordsworth said "I have worked with Brighton Festival Chorus for many years. The fine performances they gave were a wonderful example of the musicality and commitment which have been a hallmark of their work during the past five decades."

You can read reviews here:

Cover image: Mountain Scene by Albert Bierstadt (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)



BFC at 50!

Brighton Festival Chorus was founded for the 1968 Brighton Festival by its first Music Director, Laszlo Heltay. The choir's first performance, Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the composer himself, brought overnight success. 2018 therefore marks our 50th birthday, so what could be more fitting than to perform Belshazzar's Feast in Brighton Festival once again, some 514 concerts later!

To celebrate our special year we have planned a whole year of celebratory events, concerts and special performances - from the 2017 Christmas Concert through to the 2018 Christmas Concert.

See our Performances > Forthcoming page to find out what we are performing, where, and when.

You might also have a look at our  Performances > Archive page to see what we have been doing for the last fifty years!

Our Music Director, James Morgan, said "The 50th anniversary is a marvellous opportunity to lay down a marker for where we are now as a chorus, and where we want to be in the future - creating performances of the highest class with fantastic orchestral partners, often presented in a new and innovative way - inspiring new audiences to engage with our work."

Photograph: Brighton Festival Chorus by Summer Dean


Churchill in Coventry


2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Brighton Festival Chorus, and we are planning a whole year of celebratory events, concerts and special performances to mark this event - from the 2017 Christmas Concert through to the 2018 Christmas Concert.

See our Performances > Forthcoming page for the events confirmed so far. More details will be announced over the coming months.

BFC will be performing in this year's Brighton Festival. Further details of these exciting concerts will be announced at the Brighton Festival Programme Launch in February 2018.

To mark the centenary of the end of the First World War we will be performing the War Requiem by Benjamin Britten in Coventry Cathedral, where the first performance took place on 30 May 1962. The War Requiem was commissioned to mark the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral, which was built after the original 14th century structure was destroyed in a WW2 bombing raid. We are delighted to be joining the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and our old friend Paul Leddington Wright.

Our long-planned tour of some of the major cities of the Somme region in France to perform Britten's War Requiem has sadly been cancelled following the Orchestre National de Lille's sudden announcement that they no longer had sufficient budget. However, our Artistic Manager, Gill Kay, has secured an alternative booking for us. We will now be performing the Duruflé Requiem in July 2018 as part of the Festival de St Riquier in the Baie de Somme.

Photographs: Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the ruined nave of Coventry Cathedral by Captain Horton, War Office official photographer; Coventry Cathedral by David Iliff