Established in 1856, Bradford Festival Choral Society is one of the oldest and most exciting choirs in the North of England. Performing at least four concerts per year, we have a fascinating past and a vibrant future. Throughout our illustrious history we’ve worked with the outstanding musicians of the day including conductors Edward Elgar, Charles Parry, Charles Halle, Malcolm Sargent, David Willcocks, Richard Hickox and Peter Maxwell Davies and composer John Rutter; our soloists have included such legends as Kathleen Ferrier and Peter Pears. We’ve worked with composer Duncan Druce – known for his completion of the Mozart Requiem – and jazz sensation Will Todd, composer of the acclaimed Mass in Blue. We are committed to diverse programming, performing music by women in every concert (apart from single-work performances) and passionate about our community.
Since 2008 the choir has been led by Musical Director Thomas Leech, who has taken us enthusiastically into new territory while constantly encouraging excellent performances of choral classics. During the Covid-19 pandemic we maintained weekly rehearsals online, led by our team and guests including opera singer Rachel Nicholls and composers Paul Mealor and Roxanna Panufnik. We recorded numerous virtual choir videos to maintain our focus, community and vocal skills, including a complete performance of Haydn’s Nelson Mass with orchestra and soloists:
We are committed to investing in our members and the wider community, providing vocal coaching, music-reading classes and enjoyable and productive rehearsals that help you get the most from the music and your voice. Our regular Come and Sing events are hugely popular, attracting many singers from the region and beyond.
In 2023 we were shortlisted by an independent panel for what is widely regarded as the ‘BAFTAs of classical music’ – the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards ‘Inspiration Award’ which was an acknowledgement for our commitment to broadening access to our music-making through concession pricing, welcoming younger audience members, the delivery of adult learn to sings, our regular Come and Sing events, as well as our work with Bradford Friendship Choir – a choir for refugees, asylum-seekers and their friends. In addition, our musical team were awarded Making Music (the national umbrella organisation for amateur music-making) ‘Group Hero’ award, for their outstanding collaboration with BFC and work during lockdown.
The Society has a series of lively social events throughout the year as well engaging in fund raising activities to help maintain the quality of their musical output.
Come and enjoy our concerts, and bring your friends. It’s a great evening out!