About the Royal Choral Society

The Royal Choral Society began its illustrious life as the Royal Albert Hall Choral Society – formed for the opening of the Royal Albert Hall in 1871. Its inaugural concert was held at the Royal Albert Hall on 8th May 1872. The choir’s name was shortened to The Royal Choral Society (with permission from Queen Victoria) shortly afterwards.

The choir’s history reads like a 'Who’s Who' of the musical world. Former RCS conductors include Charles Gounod and Malcolm Sargent – the latter, described as ‘the finest British choral conductor of his generation’, had a 40-year association with the choir. The RCS has always had a wide repertoire; their performance of new works has been a feature, with Verdi and Dvorák conducting the choir in premičres of their own works.

Our Musical Director, Richard Cooke, took over the baton from his distinguished predecessors in 1995. An experienced singer himself, he understands the capabilities of choral singers and is able to bring out the full potential of individual voices.

Today, the RCS enjoys maintaining a balance between performances of traditional repertoire and the opportunities to perform in unusual and contrasting events including leading the singing in Hyde Park at the annual BBC Proms in the Park concert. Other unique events include singing at the launch of the Queen Mary 2, participating in the 25th anniversary for the Falklands conflict, adding our voices to events marking the 70th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation and performing at the Royal Festival Hall re-opening in 2007. The choir recently recorded the Sky Sports ‘idents’ vocals, and we sang the vocals for the specially composed soundtrack to Channel 5’s fly-on the-wall documentary Royal Marines: Mission Afghanistan.

A longer history of the choir can be found here.