About Brisbane Chorale
Brisbane Chorale is a symphonic choir of over 100 voices based in Queensland, Australia, with a reputation for excellence in choral performance. Since its beginnings in 1983 as a new force in choral music, emerging from the amalgamation and expansion of existing choirs at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, the Brisbane Chorale has made its mark in the cultural landscape of Brisbane, Queensland and Australia. Its journey has been a story of many explorations of repertoire, events, and collaborations.
The Brisbane Chorale regularly performs with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and other major orchestras, choirs, performance organisations and festivals. Over many years the Brisbane Chorale has participated in the Queensland Pops Orchestra’s Best of British concerts, the 4MBS Festival of Classics, and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Spirit of Christmas concerts. The Brisbane Chorale has performed Australian premieres, commissioned works from Australian composers and recorded works for Move Records and ABC Classics. Its repertoire is broad and extensive, and includes both the great choral works of classical music and more contemporary works. Highlights have included the world premiere of Elena Kats-Chernin’s Symphonia Eluvium, a reflection of the Queensland floods, for the 2011 Brisbane Festival, Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring in 2012, and the Dr Who Symphonic Spectacular presented by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and BBC in 2014.
Today, the Brisbane Chorale is a popular fixture in the music calendar of the city, and beyond, that enjoys bringing the joy, wonder and beauty of great choral works by composers past and present to audiences.
The Brisbane Chorale also greatly appreciates and takes pride in maintaining its strong links with the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University.
Read more of our story in Brisbane Chorale – Our Journey.
Our Strategic Direction
For more than 30 years the Brisbane Chorale has seen several major phases of strategic development, including the establishment of the Brisbane Chorale as a community choir by the Queensland Conservatorium and our growth towards incorporation as Brisbane Chorale Inc. in 1997. Our strategic direction has focused on our product, the Brisbane Chorale symphonic choir, maintaining mutually beneficial associations with the Queensland Conservatorium and key performance partners and perfecting what we are.
The world of classical music entertainment is changing. It is important we prepare for this changing environment and that our future direction, strategies and programmes of Brisbane Chorale Inc. be carefully considered and changes put in place to address the requirements of the market place for our product, the Brisbane Chorale.
Our strategic priorities involve enriching our community, strengthening financial sustainability, having inspired artistic planning, dynamic rehearsals and operations, reconfigured governance structures and penetrating new markets.
Find full details of our strategic directions in the Brisbane Chorale Inc. Strategic Plan 2014 – 2018
Celebrating 25 Years:
A Message from Roy Wales
In 2008 the Brisbane Chorale turned 25 years old. At the anniversary celebration in October 2008 a video message from Dr Roy Wales, founder and inaugural Director of the Brisbane Chorale, was played to the assembled company.
Our Core Values
Frequently asked questions
The most common venues we perform in are the Concert Hall of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane City Hall, Queensland Conservatorium Theatre and St John’s Cathedral.
As a symphonic choir, our major repertoire includes the great choral works of the classical music repertoire from the baroque to the present day, such as symphonies, requiems, oratorios and other large religious and secular works. We enjoy the challenge of performing new works and have been involved in some world première performances. However, from time to time we perform programs of shorter works, and are often involved in programs of lighter works.
We are usually involved in 3 major concerts each year, and smaller performances, some of which may be for charity.
We rehearse weekly on Wednesday nights from 7:15 to 9:50. Approaching concerts, or at other times determined by the Music Director, additional rehearsals may be called.
Our regular rehearsal room is on the lower ground level of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Southbank, Brisbane. Entry is from either the Grey Street or the Southbank side of the building.
You do not have to be a professional or solo singer to join the Brisbane Chorale. Entry is by audition, and a reasonable standard of voice quality and musicianship will be required. Some of our members have never had singing lessons but, having sung in choirs for years, have developed good choral singing techniques.
A sight singing exercise is one of the components of the audition to enter the choir. However, if you have a good voice and display strong aural musicianship (a good ear) and excellent intonation, the Music Director will take a lack of confidence in sight-singing into consideration.The best answer is to audition and find out!
Many of our members have come back to singing after leaving it in earlier years while life took other turns. Entry to the choir is by audition, but if you have previous experience this will increase your chances of passing that audition.
There is a uniform style of concert dress for women of the Brisbane Chorale which is made to order. Men supply their own dinner suits and bow-ties.
Black music folders for concert performance can be supplied. We recommend you bring your own.
Membership fees are due at the beginning of each year, and we think they represent excellent value for money! Fees cover the cost of rehearsals, music hire, and public liability insurance for our members. We are also open to discussing alternative payment terms with you if needed.
Pro-rata fees are charged to members who join later in the year.
The schedule of fees can be found here.
Occasionally we perform outside of Brisbane. This has included places such as Ipswich, Toowoomba, Noosa and Kawana Waters. In 2008 we toured to Adelaide to perform in a collaborative concert with the Adelaide Symphony Chorus. They reciprocated with a tour to Brisbane the same year. In 2013 we undertook our largest tour yet, to Auckland, performing Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with Auckland Choral.
The day-to-day running of the Brisbane Chorale is carried out by an elected Management Committee, comprising President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Concert Manager, two Membership Secretaries and two Ordinary Members. Other non-elected members may be co-opted by the elected committee as required. All positions are voluntary.
Professional music staff, i.e. Music Director and Accompanist are engaged and paid by the Brisbane Chorale, from funds derived from membership fees and singing engagements. No outside funding is received.
Our music team
Meet the people who work tirelessly together to keep our music going…
Emily Cox AM
Known for sensitive, authoritative musical interpretations and inspirational conducting, Emily Cox is one of Australia’s leading choral musicians, exploring diverse and challenging repertoire in her varied roles as conductor and chorusmaster. Specialising in the performance of the choral/symphonic repertoire and virtuosic chamber choral repertoire, she has been Music Director of Brisbane Chorale since 2003, and is founding Music Director of the acclaimed Canticum Chamber Choir.
Emily has conducted a diverse range of works including Bach St John Passion and Christmas Oratorio, Mendelssohn Elijah, Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem (two-piano version), Monteverdi Vespers, Walton Belshazzar’s Feast, Beethoven Mass in C, Mozart Mass in c minor, Orff Carmina Burana, Stravinsky Les Noces, Elgar The Dream of Gerontius, Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony, Fauré Requiem, Rachmaninov Vespers, and Pärt Passio.
American born and educated, Emily studied at the Queensland Conservatorium and in Europe with renowned conductors, including Eric Ericson, Frieder Bernius, and most recently Simon Halsey in Berlin where she was a member of the Professional Panel of the Rundfunkchor Berlin International Masterclass. Musical highlights of recent years include conducting the Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s 2015 performance of Handel’s Messiah with Brisbane Chorale, her role as Chorusmaster of the Brisbane Mahler Chorus in the Helpmann Award-nominated performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Simone Young, and her leadership of Canticum in Brisbane Baroque 2015 and in 2016 as Music Director of the acclaimed production “Women of the Pietà”.
Emily’s innovative programming, and her reputation both as a creative musical collaborator and as a dynamic interpreter of music from the renaissance to the present day, place her in demand by professional arts companies and festivals.
She was recognised in the 2020 Australia Day Honours as Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to the performing arts through choral music”.
Assistant Chorus Master
Justine Favell is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music with a Bachelor of Music and a Graduate Diploma in Piano Performance.
Since 1995, Justine has pursued her interest in the specialized area of accompanying choral music. She is principal accompanist for Brisbane Birralee Voices and Brisbane Chorale, and freelances with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. She has accompanied the Brisbane Chorale continuously since 1995.
Justine also enjoys conducting various school choirs and is regularly asked to conduct massed school events for the Department of Education. She is on staff at the Qld Conservatorium as an accompanist for the Vocal Department and teaches the piano in her home studio. Justine is currently training to become a Kindermusik early childhood educator with the hope that she can spend some more time at home with her children.
You can support the Chorale in continuing these worthwhile programs. You can contribute financially, through tax-deductible donations, bequests, or business partnerships. Find out how here.
The Chorale values any contribution, however small.
Brisbane Chorale is honoured to have two distinguished patrons.
Dr Roy Wales, then Director of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, founded the Chorale in 1983. He was its inaugural Music Director, guiding the new organisation through its first few years until 1987, when he left to take up a position in England. His vitality and vision propelled the new organisation into a respected and valued position in Brisbane’s musical scene as a major symphonic choir.
Professor Alan Mackay-Sim AM was a member of the choir for several years. As a biomedical scientist, his research at Griffith University, Queensland, was in the field of stem cells, which has contributed to the treatment of spinal cord injuries. In recognition of the significance of this work, he was awarded the title of Australian of the Year In 2017. Further recognition came in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours, when he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, for “significant service to tertiary education, and to biomedical science”.
The Chorale is proud to be associated with these leading figures in the cultural and scientific fields of Brisbane, and globally. The difference between their fields reflects the diversity within the choir itself, and also in the local community which the Chorale aims to serve through its music.
Choir Management - Brisbane Chorale Inc.
Brisbane Chorale Inc. is an incorporated body under the Queensland Associations Incorporation Act 1981, operating under its own registered rules of association. Under those rules, an elected management committee is responsible for the operations of the Brisbane Chorale and the appointment of the professional music staff. The election is held at the annual general meeting of members.
The elected members are: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Concert Manager, Marketing Manager and two General Members. The Music Director is also a member of the management committee. The management committee can appoint people to fulfil other duties, as required, to assist with the operations of the organisation.