The Edinburgh International Festival has announced the appointment of Aidan Oliver as the new Chorus Director of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, taking up his position in Autumn 2018.
Aidan is one of the UK's leading choir directors, whose activities encompass the full range of symphonic, operatic, liturgical and contemporary music. He is the founding director of Philharmonia Voices, the professional choir which collaborates with the Philharmonia Orchestra on many of its most ambitious projects, while as guest chorus master he has worked with some of the UK’s leading choirs including the BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Singers, Huddersfield Choral Society and the Chorus of English National Opera. He is currently the director of Dulwich Choral Society and Director of Music at St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey, as well as Associate Conductor of the St Endellion Festival in Cornwall.
Aidan Oliver says: “The Edinburgh Festival Chorus has an immensely distinguished history at the heart of one of the world’s great festivals, and I am thrilled to have been entrusted with its future development. I am particularly excited by the opportunity to contribute significantly to music-making in Scotland, a country to which I have strong family ties and for which I have enormous affection.’
Fergus Linehan, Festival Director, Edinburgh International Festival, says: “I am delighted to welcome Aidan in his new role as Chorus Director of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus. Aidan brings with him a wealth of experience, and under his leadership I am sure the Chorus will continue to grow and thrive. We would like to thank Christopher Bell for his remarkable service, and wish him well in his new post in Washington.”
Aidan will take over the reins from Christopher Bell, who has been Chorus Director of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus for ten years (2008-2018), leading the Chorus through standout performances at the world-renowned celebration of culture in Scotland’s capital every August. Highlights during his tenure have included performances with conductors including Marin Alsop, Riccardo Chailly, Sir Mark Elder, Ivan Fischer, Valery Gergiev, Mariss Jansons and Donald Runnicles, as well as the critically-acclaimed Harmonium Project in 2015.
The Edinburgh Festival Chorus has been at the heart of the Edinburgh International Festival since its foundation in 1965, when it opened the 19th International Festival with the Scottish premiere of Mahler’s Symphony No 8. The Chorus is the backbone of the International Festival’s choral programme and over the past fifty years has worked with some of the world’s greatest soloists, conductors and orchestras including Leonard Bernstein and the London Symphony Orchestra and Herbert von Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic.
In 2018, the Chorus performs Mahler's Eighth Symphony alongside the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Harding; Vaughan Williams's A Sea Symphony with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Dvořák's Requiem with the Bamberger Symphoniker.