A welcome from Canon Andrew Lythall, Canon Precentor
Music is at the very heart of our common life together, and Birmingham Cathedral is very much a centre of excellence for both sacred and secular music. We value and treasure the English choral tradition, which is one of the envies of the world, and offer sung services throughout the week with our talented and versatile choirs.
To that end, our musicians strive, together with our Director of Music and Organist, to reach the very highest standards of choral music, that God’s name may be glorified in our praise and prayer. Being committed to excellence means that we offer to our choristers extensive training opportunities and valuable life-long skills that help them to flourish and equip individuals for a lifetime of musical enjoyment.
As well as sacred music, the cathedral is also used as a venue for a rich variety of performances and events through the year. Whatever your musical tastes or background, you are sure to find much delight in the diverse and repertoire that we offer, week in, week out, at this sacred place.
Rev. Canon Andrew Lythall
Head of the Music Department
Birmingham Cathedral has an excellent professional Cathedral Choir of boys, girls and adults. They sing five services each week in various formations, usually including the boys at three services and the girls at two. We have no choir school so our choristers come from many different schools and their diversity reflects the diversity of the city. The Choir gives regular concerts in the Cathedral, in parish churches in our diocese and further afield. Recent destinations include Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the Thomaskirche in Leipzig.
The Choir’s repertoire ranges from Palestrina, through Bach, Mozart and the great 19th and 20th century Anglican church composers to modern pieces commissioned by the Choir. One highlight was their 2016 collaboration with Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, singing with Tony on the download track How Good It Is - it's a free download, available here. The Choir also recorded an associated CD, After the Sabbath, copies of which are online here, or from the Cathedral shop. Other recent engagements include a broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Choral Evensong, which is available to listen to here.
The Cathedral Choir on tour in Leipzig singing in the Thomaskirche, one of J.S. Bach's workplaces.
One of the jewels in the crown of Birmingham Cathedral is Choral Evensong, a short service at the end of the day, using traditional language from the Book of Common Prayer. Evensong is sung five times a week by the choir, and the service lasts around 45 minutes.
CDs available from the Cathedral shop include A Song of the Light (Music by Canon Marcus Huxley, performed by the Cathedral Choir, released in December 2010) My Dancing Day (released December 2004), On Christmas Night and a CD of Victorian organ music by Wesley, Smart and Stanford played by Canon Marcus Huxley (all Regent Records).
The Cathedral also plays host to many choirs and ensembles throughout the year, including, for example, Ex Cathedra, the Birmingham Bach Choir and the University of Birmingham Singers and Orchestra. Details of these concerts can be found on the events page or directly via the promoters' websites. For more details about our upcoming concerts, please see our Events page.
Friends of Cathedral Music
On Sunday 6 March 2016 the cathedral welcomed Peter Toyne, Chairman of the Friends of Cathedral Music, to present a £30,000 endowment to help fund our music. The FCM relies on the generosity of regular givers, one-off donations and legacies to continue to support the English Choral Tradition. Find out more on their website.
St Philip's Singers
Our voluntary choir, the St Philip’s Singers, sings on Wednesday lunchtimes. The choir usually rehearses for two successive weeks and then sings at our BCP Communion service on the third week. Please contact David Hardie on email@example.com for further information.
Cover photo courtesy of Graham Lacdao.