Simon Halsey occupies a unique position in classical music. He is the trusted advisor on choral singing to the world’s greatest conductors, orchestras and choruses, and also an inspirational teacher and ambassador for choral singing to amateurs of every age, ability and background.
Making singing a central part of the world-class institutions with which he is associated, he has been instrumental in changing the level of symphonic singing across Europe. He holds positions across the UK and Europe as Chorus Director of City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Professor and Director of Choral Activities at University of Birmingham, Choral Director of London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Creative Director for Choral Music and Projects at WDR Rundfunkchor, Conductor Laureate of Rundfunkchor Berlin, and Principal Guest Conductor and Choral Ambassador of Orfeó Català Choirs.
He is also a highly respected teacher and academic, nurturing the next generation of choral conductors on his post-graduate course in Birmingham and through masterclasses in Germany, the Netherlands, and the US. He holds four honorary doctorates from universities in the UK, and in 2011 Schott Music published his book and DVD on choral conducting, Chorleitung: Vom Konzept zum Konzert.
Halsey has worked on nearly 80 recording projects, many of which have won major awards, including the Gramophone Award, Diapason d’Or, Echo Klassik, and three Grammy Awards with the Rundfunkchor Berlin. He was made Commander of the British Empire in 2015, was awarded The Queen’s Medal for Music in 2014, and received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2011 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to choral music in Germany.
Born in London, Simon Halsey sang in the choirs of New College, Oxford, and of King’s College, Cambridge and studied conducting at the Royal College of Music in London. In 1987, he founded with Graham Vick the Birmingham Opera Company. He was Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Choir from 1997 to 2008 and Principal Conductor of the Royal Northern Sinfonia’s Choral Programme from 2004 to 2012. From 2001-2015 he led the Rundfunkchor Berlin (of which he is now Conductor Laureate); under his leadership the chorus gained a reputation internationally as one of the finest professional choral ensembles. Halsey also initiated innovative projects in unconventional venues and interdisciplinary formats and has pioneered the development of community choirs, including two in Birmingham and the surrounding area.