Bristol Chamber Choir

under the auspices of Bristol  Madrigal Society

Choir History


The Bristol Chamber Choir traces its history back to 1837 when the Bristol Madrigal Society was founded to "promote madrigal singing in the city", and the first singing meeting was held on 1 March 1837 at the Montague Inn, Kingsdown (destroyed in World War II). Except for the years of World War II, the Society has rehearsed and given concerts ever since. Apart from the longest-running music festival choirs, Bristol Madrigal Society is therefore the oldest British musical society to have performed regularly in public.






Both Robert Pearsall and E. H. Fellowes had strong links with the Society, and its original repertoire consisted of 16th century English and Italian madrigals and sacred works including, in 1839, Lotti's ten-part Crucifixus, sung to English words. Works were also composed specifically for the society. This has now broadened to encompass an extensive repertoire from late medieval to modern times, together with works commissioned from several local composers, including Raymond Warren, our president. In 1988 the Society renamed its choir Bristol Chamber Choir to reflect these changes.




As well as singing an average of four public concerts each season, we hold exchanges with other choirs, have undertaken foreign tours, and organise choral workshops and social events for our members. The founding tradition of madrigal singing is maintained in at least one of our concerts each year. The tradition of amateur music-making continues too, with rehearsals each Wednesday in term time at 7.30 pm. Do telephone or email the Secretary if you are interested in singing with us.






The Society is affiliated to Making Music, the National Federation of Music Societies, which represents and supports amateur choirs, orchestras and music promoters throughout the United Kingdom.



You can read Herbert Byard's famous history of Bristol Madrigal Society, published in 1966, here.