The Sydney University Graduate Choir is one of Sydney’s leading classical choirs. Established in 1952 as the graduate group of the Sydney University Musical Society (founded in 1878), the Choir has over ninety singers and an extensive repertoire of choral music ranging from the grand works of the classical masters to the compelling music of contemporary composers.
Under the leadership of the highly respected conductor and composer Christopher Bowen OAM, the Choir has given several Australian premiere performances of choral works including the first Australian performance of Beethoven’s important Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II in 2006. In 2014, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I and the Gallipoli campaign, the Choir premiered “An Australian War Requiem”, a commissioned work by Christopher Bowen presented in the form of a meditation on conflict and loss.
The Choir is immensely proud of its contribution to Sydney’s vibrant musical and cultural life. The Choir presents a regular program of major choral performances each year in the Great Hall of the University of Sydney. The Choir’s ‘Sydney Sings’™ massed choir events provide an opportunity for hundreds of singers from NSW and beyond to perform great choral masterpieces with an outstanding orchestra, choir, soloists and music director in the Sydney Town Hall.
Since its inception the Choir has continued to provide opportunities for choristers, instrumentalists, soloists and conductors to widen their repertoires and expand their local and international careers as professional musicians. As part of this mission, the Choir founded the biennial Joan Carden Award singing competition in 2004 to foster the development and showcase young professional singers.
The Chamber Choir, established in 2004, is a subgroup of the larger Choir, comprising around thirty singers chosen through an annual audition process and increases the Choir’s performance flexibility and choral repertoire. Offering separate concert programs, as well as enhancing sections of the major works being performed by the main choir, the Chamber Choir provides an intimate sound suited to delicate chamber works and sections within the major works performed by the full choir.
From 2002-2020 the former Governor of New South Wales and former Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir, has honoured the Choir by agreeing to act as our Patron.