BSF Choir to perform with English National Opera Orchestra

The BSF Choral Programme has began the 2018-19 season rehearsing for two New Year concerts with the English National Opera orchestra during their tour of China in December.
Friday, September 14, 2018
BSF Choristers are preparing works by Mozart, Donizetti and Bizet which will be performed at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing and Changsha Grand Theater. The concerts mark a further milestone for the choral programme which was founded in May 2013, aiming to provide local communities access to world class choral training in the British choral tradition.

September 2018 also marks the beginning of Zhuhai Classical Children’s Choir’s three-year tenure as Choir-in-Residence at Zhuhai Opera House. Such residences are extremely rare. Zhuhai Classical Children’s Choir’s association with Zhuhai Opera House dates back to the opera house’s inaugural concerts in December 2016, when the choir performed works by Tchaikovsky and Borodin with the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Shostakovich’s erstwhile friend, Thomas Sanderling. BSF choristers will be able to enjoy the rich cultural environment of the opera house on a weekly basis for rehearsals and will regularly perform there. 

Since making its professional debut in December 2015, singing Johann Strauss’ Tritch-Tratch Polka at the Changsha Concert Hall with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the BSF Choral Programme has performed regularly throughout China. A few days following their debut, the choir performed with Sinfonietta Cracovia in Zhongshan Culture and Arts Centre. In November 2017, the choir performed Byrd Mass in Three Parts at the Central Conservatory of Music Beijing as part of the International Chamber Music Festival. The concert was subsequently broadcast on Chinese National Television. 

In March 2017, the choir provided the challenging off-stage chorus for a performance of  Holst Planets Suite with Guiyang Symphony Orchestra conducted by Rico Sacanni. The choir then returned to Guiyang the following June to perform Puccini Madama Butterfly with renowned Chinese opera stars, Li Xiuying and Liang Ning. Zhuhai Classical Children’s Choir made their first overseas appearance in October 2016, singing for HRH Princess Anne at the British School of Kuala Lumpur. Performances of such challenging works are testimony, if any were needed, to the British Schools Foundation’s commitment to providing the highest level of educational experiences for our pupils.

The choral programme provides conservatory-standard musical training in the English choral tradition to children aged between 8 and 18. Choristers rehearse secular and sacred choral works in a variety of original languages, including English, Latin, Italian and German. There is a great emphasis on high standards of discipline and independent study, with high expectations for attendance, punctuality and attendance. The choristers wear a formal uniform and stand throughout each two-hour rehearsal. Rehearsals take  place in smaller-scale classes based on ability, with each class named after a British composer of choral music; Byrd, Purcell, Parry, Elgar and Britten. Each chorister is expected to practice individually and they are assessed on performances of their vocal part, recorded at home and then submitted to the choral centre. Only choristers with a high assessment grade are eligible to participate in concerts. This somewhat rigid  and highly structured approach ensures that every chorister on stage has mastered the music and can face the public with great confidence and energy. The choir has established a unique community with shared goals, centred around an unobtainable quest for perfection. Consequently choristers and families take great pride in the traditions of the choir and their artistic achievements.