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National Symphony Chorus

National Symphony Chorus - female members of the choir dressed in black holding their songbooks

National Symphony Chorus

The National Symphony Chorus (formerly RTÉ Philharmonic Choir) was formed in January 1985 by RTÉ’s choral director Colin Mawby and has been at the heart of Ireland’s choral music scene ever since.

In the capable hands of its subsequent chorus directors Mark Duley (1996-2011), Mark Hindley (2012-2018) and David Young (2019- present) - the Chorus has gone from strength to strength, firmly establishing itself as Ireland’s leading symphonic choral ensemble with a highly impressive repertoire well in excess of a hundred pieces.

Following their transfer from RTÉ in January 2022, the Chorus forms part of the National Concert Hall’s family of choirs, with Cór Linn youth choir and Cór na nÓg children’s choir.

The Chorus prepares, performs and broadcasts at least six large-scale orchestral choral works each season (September to June) alongside the National Symphony Orchestra and internationally acclaimed conductors and soloists, with occasional recordings and stand-alone concerts. Two trips to sing in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh during the 2018 and 2019 Festival were very well received, and the Chorus has recorded for RTÉ and Naxos.

Rehearsals take place in the NCH on Wednesday evenings during the concert season and include sectional and small group sessions with vocal coaches such as Anthony Norton, working with David on choral technique and sound.

It’s 160 dedicated amateur singers span all ages and backgrounds with some travelling from as far away as Cork, Louth, Meath, Roscommon, Tipperary, Wicklow and Wexford to take part. There is a great sense of community and support, with the opportunity to learn and make great music together providing an uplifting and joyous experience all- round. 

For more information on National Symphony Chorus, please contact Lesley Bishop  

David Young

Chorus Director

David Young has been Chorus Director with the National Symphony Orchestra since 2019. He has spearheaded the recent development of the National Symphony Chorus, guiding the choir through the pandemic and into a series of hugely successful large-scale concerts including Rachmaninov The Bells (Mihhail Gerts), Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony (Leonard Slatkin) and a sold-out, memorised performance of Mahler Symphony No. 2 (Anja Bihlmaier).

As well as his work with the NSC, David has conducted both the National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and has worked as Chorus Master with Chamber Choir Ireland. David is based in the UK, and is also Musical Director of the Cambridge University Symphony Chorus, with recent highlights including Elgar The Dream of Gerontius in Ely Cathedral and Mendelssohn Elijah in West Road Concert Hall. CUSC have also been regular recent guests with major european orchestras, joining the Orchestre de Paris for Walton Belshazzar’s Feast under the baton of Klaus Mäkelä, and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra for Elgar The Dream of Gerontius with Nicholas Collon. In 2023 David was appointed as Musical Director of Musarc, one of the UK’s leading experimental choirs, where recent repertoire has included Jennifer Walshe, Lili Boulanger, Ben Patterson, Purcell, Pat Thomas, and Brahms. Musarc frequently collaborates with outstanding contemporary artists, recently including Keiji Haino and Holly Herndon, and with leading galleries and curators, such as the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Café Oto and the Serpentine Galleries. David’s work in this field has also seen him travel to the Grotte Font de Gaume in the south of France with Oliver Beer, for his forthcoming Resonance Caves project.

David appears regularly with the BBC Symphony Chorus, where he has worked on a characteristically diverse array of projects, including music by Matthew Kaner, George Walker, Judith Weir, Vaughan-Williams, Sibelius and Mahler. He first worked with the BBC Singers as Chorus Master for the BBC Proms in 2023, presenting the music of Jon Hopkins with conductor Jules Buckley. His past appointments include Cardiff Polyphonic Choir, Reading Bach Choir, Stafford Choral Society, and Dorking Choral Society, and he is former Choral Director at the Yehudi Menuhin School.

David studied at the University of Manchester and Royal Welsh School of Music and Drama with Justin Doyle, Neil Ferris, Matthew Hamilton, Mark Heron, and Sarah Tenant-Flowers, and was Sir Alexander Gibson Fellow with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2016-17.