The ensemble began touring abroad in the 1940s, going as far as Japan and Mexico in the 2000s. It is also heard at a number of festivals in the United Kingdom and Europe, and at special events, such as the funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales.
It always had its own chief conductor, but often works with guest conductors, which have included Stravinsky
, and more recently, Bo Holten
, Jukka-Pekka Saraste
, Pierre Boulez
, and many others. Over the years, the ensemble assumed various sizes and names -- including the Wireless Singers and the BBC Chorus -- but in 1971 the name BBC Singers was affixed permanently, and the current size of 24 voices was set under conductor Simon Joly in the 1980s. With conductor Stephen Cleobury
it made numerous recordings, including works of Charles Ives
and Richard Strauss, and became the first choir to sing an a cappella selection as a part of one of the traditional Proms Concerts. David Hill
became chief conductor in 2006. The BBC Singers continue to make distinguished recordings, appearing primarily on the Signum
label, but also on Naxos
, and others.