Internationally renowned conductor Paul Spicer celebrates 25 years leading Birmingham Bach Choir with a special anniversary concert on Thursday 30 November 2017, at Birmingham Town Hall.
Fittingly, for a choir named in honour of Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach, Paul has chosen Bach's masterful Mass In B Minor for the performance.
"Bach's B minor Mass is quite simply one of the greatest creations of the human mind," says Paul. "It has been central to my musical career ever since Birmingham Bach Choir's previous musical director, Richard Butt, brought back a full score of the work from Leipzig as a gift for me back in 1988.
“Since then I have conducted the work many times, a lot of those with Birmingham Bach Choir. There is a whole world of experience and emotion in this Mass. As I have said before, I feel that Bach is the only universal composer."
Completed in 1749, a year before JS Bach's death, Mass In B minor (BWV 232) revisits previously composed passages and was only performed publically, in full, a century later. Today, it’s regarded as one of the greatest musical compositions of all time.
Since becoming Birmingham Bach Choir's Musical Director in 1992, Paul has steered the choir through a myriad of successes, extending the their repertoire to cover both contemporary and centuries old lesser known works alongside more popular, well known choral pieces.
During his fruitful tenure, specific highlights have been numerous but must include The Deciduous Cross, a work based on five poems by RS Thomas commissioned for Paul's 10th anniversary as conductor; the much acclaimed recording of Easter Oratorio; and the world premiere of Unfinished Remembering, a major choral symphony commemorating the centenary of the first World War, performed at Symphony Hall, Birmingham in 2014.
For the 25th anniversary concert Birmingham Bach Choir are joined by the London Baroque Sinfonia, with Sarah Fox (soprano), James Laing (countertenor), Robert Murray (tenor) and Ashley Riches (bass).
Sarah has worked with many of the world's leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Halle. A former judge on BBC TV's The Choir: Sing While You Work, she also appears regularly with John Wilson and his Orchestra. James’ operatic engagements include performances for the Royal Opera, English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Opera North. A former member of King's College Choir, Cambridge, Ashley is presently a member of the 2017/ 2108 BBC New Generation Artist scheme.