We welcome new singers in all voice parts who would like to join the choir. Rehearsals for our new season begin in September in central Edinburgh. New singers are invited to come along to two or three rehearsals before auditioning with our musical director Michael Bawtree. Please contact email@example.com if you would like more details.
Messiah Maestro Announced
We are delighted to introduce Australian conductor Benjamin Bayl who will be directing our 2018 Messiah at the Usher Hall on Tuesday 2 January. ERCU is thrilled to be singing under this exciting and accomplished conductor who has worked with a starry roster of orchestras, choirs and opera companies.
EDINBURGH ROYAL CHORAL UNION Michael Bawtree chorus director Morley Whitehead accompanist
Since its foundation in 1858, the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union has established itself as one of Edinburgh’s most versatile and engaging choral societies, playing a significant part in the musical life of Scotland. As well as giving the first Scottish performances of many works, including Bach’s B Minor Mass, the choir performed at the opening of the Usher Hall in 1914 and has worked with orchestras such as the Hallé, the Royal Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Vienna Philharmonic, the BBC Scottish Symphony, the Scottish Chamber and the Royal Scottish National under such legendary figures as Sir Henry Wood, Sir Thomas Beecham, Otto Klemperer and Sir Adrian Boult.
ERCU’s annual new year presentation of Messiah at the Usher Hall is a highlight of the festive season, each year bringing fresh interpretations of the work by different conductors. The choir continues to give Scottish premieres, including TheFarthestShore by Paul Mealor, The Voices of our Ancestors by Thea Musgrave and St John Passion by Bob Chilcott. In 2009 the choir gave the world premiere performance of Judith Bingham’s Shadow Aspect, a special 150th anniversary commission, in the Usher Hall. ERCU performed another work by Judith Bingham, The Christmas Truce, in November 2014 as part of a programme of music commemorating the centenary of the beginning of the Great War. Earlier that year the choir celebrated the centenary of the completion of the Usher Hall with the RSNO in a special birthday concert, and returned there for a Commonwealth Games celebration concert, also with the RSNO. Performances outwith the choir’s core programme over the 2015-16 season ranged from Beethoven’s Symphony No 9in Orkney with the St Magnus Festival Chorus and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, to the festive Street of Light in Edinburgh, for which Messiah choruses were recorded with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Holst’s Planets in the Usher Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and backing for Andrea Bocelli at the SSE Hydro.
Click below to read an extract from ERCU 1858-1958, charting the first 100 years of the choir's history.
A musician with a wide-ranging international career, British conductor and organist Michael Bawtree has directed the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Red Note Ensemble, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and many performances for Scottish Ballet, Northern Ballet and Raymond Gubbay Ltd across the British Isles.
Martyn Brabbins is Music Director of the English National Opera. An inspirational force in British music, Brabbins has had a busy opera career since his early days at the Kirov and more recently at La Scala, the Bayerische Staatsoper, and regularly in Lyon, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Antwerp.