The Orchestra of Scottish Opera;
The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, formed in 1980, is an integral part of Scotland’s National Opera Company. The Orchestra performs for all of Scottish Opera’s main scale and medium scale performances, and is in ever-increasing demand as a concert-giving ensemble.
In addition to its commercial and education commitments the Orchestra works closely with Scotland’s Choral Unions and Societies and enjoys its special relationship with the highly successful 'Children’s Classic Concerts' and 'Celtic Connections'. Under its founder, Sir Alexander Gibson, and subsequent Music Directors including John Mauceri and more recently Sir Richard Armstrong, the orchestra has acquired a magnificent reputation both in the U.K. and abroad.
The City of Glasgow Chorus was founded in 1983 by Graham Taylor MBE, who is still its music director. Since then, it has established its position as the biggest independent choral group in the West of Scotland and a significant player in Scotland's arts environment. It has achieved this in spite of, or perhaps because of, a policy of performing less familiar pieces in the mainstream choral repertoire. The Chorus presents a series of self-promoted concerts each season, which have included in recent years performances of a string of lesser-known works by very well-known composers, for example Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem, Verdi's Four Sacred Pieces, Holst's Choral Symphony, Puccini's Messa di Gloria, Arnold's The Return of Odysseus and Bruckner's Mass in F minor.
No less important for building the Chorus's reputation has been a string of collaborations with leading orchestras and performers. Some particular highlights include a joint performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with the Philharmonia Chorus, and participation in a large-scale performance of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana for the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. Other past collaborations include performances with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, the Orchestra of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the Paragon Ensemble, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra , the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Individual singers who have graced Chorus performances include Lesley Garrett, Sarah Brightman, Willard White, Maria Ewing and José Carreras.
The Chorus has also gained popularity with overseas audiences. Noticeable performances include concerts in Notre Dame Cathedral, Chartres, and a tour of the Czech republic in 1996, where the Chorus performed the Prague première of William Walton's Belshazzar's Feast with the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra.