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), decided it might be a good idea to form a choir. With the help of Muriel Clark, who is still a member of the choir today, a group of singers was formed.  Their conductor, Keiron McNiff, was a vocal graduate from the Northern School of Music.

In 1989, John Bethell, who was at that time Music Librarian for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, was appointed Artistic Director and Conductor. Rehearsals continued at Studio 7 and under John Bethell’s 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 relinquished his position. Douglas Butters was appointed Music Director, a post he held until March 2005,when he returned to his native Scotland. In April 2005, Ian Chesworth took up the position and was Music Director until June 2013.

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

Previous minutes of our AGMs are available here