CBSO Chorus

Join a group of internationally-recognised singers, performing across the UK, Europe, and the world.

The CBSO Chorus is one of the world’s great choirs – 180 people from all walks of life who come together to sing symphonic choral music. Trained for almost 40 years by Simon Halsey CBE, and supported by a professional staff team, the chorus is a hard-working group of singers who give up their own time to perform the most challenging works in the choral repertoire to the highest international standard.

Founded in 1973, its main role is to perform with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - everything from Bach to Henze, as well as operas, Mahler symphonies and the CBSO’s famous annual carol concerts. But it has also toured to Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, and sung with some of the greatest orchestras in the world, including the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic. With over 50 recordings to its credit, the CBSO Chorus has won four Gramophone awards.

All this has been achieved by singers from Birmingham and the Midlands, 18 years and above, whose day-jobs range from students to nurses, teachers and pilots.

We are currently particularly interested to receive applications from altos, tenors and basses. Listed on this page are some forthcoming audition dates, however, we do often have additional audition dates throughout the year. If you would like to audition please complete our online application form.

How to join

If you're interested in becoming a member of the CBSO Chorus, please register your interest for an audition and a member of the team will be in touch.

Open Rehearsals

Open rehearsals give you the opportunity to find out what it's really like to be a member of the CBSO Chorus. Meet the team, experience a rehearsal, and sing along with us.

Our next open rehearsal will be:

Wednesday 7 February

18:45 – 21:15 at CBSO Centre.

Repertoire: Faure Requiem.

CBSO Chorus FAQs

Who sings in the CBSO Chorus?

The CBSO Chorus is made up of around 200 amateur singers who come from all walks of life and who have a broad range of musical experience.

Where and when are rehearsals held?

Rehearsals are held every Wednesday evening (6.45pm – 9.15pm) at CBSO Centre, Berkley Street, Birmingham, B1 2LF.

What is the commitment?

The Chorus gives up to twenty concerts per year but members do not have to sing in every performance. As a general rule of thumb, members are expected to attend a minimum of 75% of rehearsals for each project and to take part in 75% of concerts in any given season to maintain their membership.

How do I join?

Membership is by audition. Please contact Poppy Howarth via email or call 0121 616 6508 for more information or to register your interest.

What do I have to do in an audition?

Auditions last approximately 10-15 minutes and you are required to sing a prepared piece – this should be a solo song of your choice; not, for example, the alto part from a choral work. You can sing this from the copy or from memory, but, if you do need to use the music, please remember to bring another copy for the accompanist to use.

All candidates are asked to sing with the official accompanist who will be an experienced member of our team. You will also be required to do some sight-singing, a few aural tests and some vocal exercises to help establish your range. A warm-up room is provided from 10 minutes before your audition time.

Can I observe a rehearsal before auditioning?

Prospective new members are very welcome to try out a rehearsal before auditioning. Open rehearsals for prospective applicants are held at various times throughout the year and are generally arranged to precede audition dates, once these have been set. Please email or call 0121 616 6508 for further information.

Do I need to be able to read music?

Yes. As we have a limited amount of rehearsal time for each project, all Chorus members must be able to read music and sight-sing to a good standard.

See the CBSO Chorus in action...

  1. Photograph of the CBSO Chorus performing in Symphony Hall

    Sibelius Symphony No.2

  2. Photograph of Joshua Weilerstein conducting.

    New World Symphony