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Simon Halsey
, conductor


Simon Halsey is one of Britain's leading young conductors, particularly renowned for his work with choirs. His current posts include Chief Conductor of the Berlin Radio Choir, Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Choir, Chorus Director to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. He is also Artistic Director of Birmingham's choral festival Voices in the City.

Simon is a regular guest conductor working extensively with major orchestras and choirs all over the world. He has toured extensively with the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, building particularly strong relationships with the orchestras and festivals in Vienna, Salzburg and Leipzig and his international contacts have yielded prestigious invitations for the CBSC to perform at Festival Vancouver and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival, Harbour of Life, in August 2000, of which he was Chorus Director.

In 1995 he founded the 150-strong City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Chorus, whose performances have included Britten's St Nicolas, Henze's Raft of the Medusa and Wagner's Parsifal and, in October 1999, Mahler's Symphony No 3 with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in London and Paris. In 1998 the Chorus made debut appearances at the BBC Proms and at the Salzburg Festival.

Simon has worked on over twenty recordings for EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, Chandos, Collins Classics and Conifer. The Collins Classics recording of Tippett's A Child of Our Time, on which he collaborated with the composer, won the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. The CBSO recording of Szymanowski's Stabat Mater for EMI won the 1995 Gramophone award for Best Choral Recording and was nominated for a Grammy award in the USA. The CBSO recording of Mahler Symphony no 2 for EMI won the Gramophone award for Best Recording of the Year.

As Principal Conductor of the City of Birmingham Touring Opera, Simon has collaborated with director Graham Vick on projects as diverse as Rameau's Les Boréades, Wagner's Ring Saga, Verdi's Falstaff, Britten's Church Parables, recorded for television by BBC2, Britten's The Little Sweep for German TV and Janacek's The Adventures of Vixen Sharp-Ears. He has worked on a number of projects with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, including two BBC Proms appearances.

At Sir Simon Rattle's invitation, Simon Halsey formed the young professional choir European Voices, which made a sensational debut at the Salzburg Festival at Whitsun 1999 in Rameau's Les Boréades with Sir Simon and a subsequent debut appearance at the BBC Proms. In 2000, European Voices made festival appearances at the Aldeburgh Festival; and at the BBC Proms, with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group in music by Varèse and Weill and with Sir Simon Rattle and the Rotterdam Philharmonic in Wagner’s Parsifal.

Simon is consultant editor to Faber Music in the UK and to Hal Leonard in the USA and fronts a prestigious best-selling series of choral publications. He appears regularly on radio and television and is one of the panel members for the Sainsbury's Choir of the Year competition, broadcast on BBC television.

January 2002 / 494 words

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