Our History

The first rehearsal of the choir took place in Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester on Monday 15 April 1985. Joyce Lindley Parker, who was at that time, Chair and Administrator of the BBC Philharmonic Club (as it was then called), had decided it might be a good idea to form a choir. So, she and Muriel Clark formed a group of singers.  The conductor, Keiron McNiff, was a vocal graduate from the Northern School of Music.

In 1989, the choir appointed John Bethell as its Artistic Director and Conductor. He was Music Librarian for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Rehearsals continued at Studio 7 and under his leadership, the choir grew in number and sometimes gave concerts there for the BBC Club members, accompanied by members of the Friends of the Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 1990, the choir joined with other choral societies from the North West and toured Denmark, Sweden and Finland, later singing in the Isle of Man with The Manx Festival Chorus. In 1993, the choir together with Oldham Choral Society, Sale Choral Society and The Manx Festival Chorus, sang in The Latour de France International Festival of Music and Arts.  During this phase, the choir accompanist was Douglas Butters.

In later years, when the choir rehearsed at a different venue, its link with the BBC ended and by then it had become The Philharmonic Choir of Manchester. In 2000, John Bethell resigned and the choir appointed Douglas Butters in his place. When he returned to his native Scotland in 2005, Ian Chesworth took up the position until June 2013.

Aiden Bradley is our current Music Director and our accompanist is Richard Brocklehurst.  Students and graduates from the Royal Northern College of Music regularly perform with us at our concerts.

Minutes of our previous annual general meetings are available here