About The Sixteen

Deck the hall with boughs of holly with one of the world’s most renowned choirs performing traditional Christmas classics.

The Sixteen's 2021 festive programme is centred around Bob Chilcott's evocative and atmospheric double-choir O Antiphons. Anticipating the coming of Christmas, they were traditionally sung before and after the Magnificat on the seven days preceding Christmas Eve. Alongside this are two stunning settings of the Conditor - the hymn for advert - by Victoria and Guerrero, and The Sixteen's usual mix of traditional carols and festive favourites.

Images of audiences queuing to hear early Tudor polyphony or contemporary choral compositions belonged to the world of fantasy before The Sixteen and Harry Christophers brought them to life.

The UK-based ensemble, hallmarked by its tonal richness, expressive intensity and compelling collective artistry, has introduced countless newcomers to works drawn from well over five centuries of sacred and secular repertoire. The Sixteen’s choir and period-instrument orchestra stand today among the world’s greatest ensembles, peerless interpreters of Renaissance, Baroque and modern choral music, acclaimed worldwide for performances delivered with precision, power and passion.

The Sixteen arose from its Founder and Conductor Harry Christophers’ formative experience as cathedral chorister and choral scholar. His enterprise, launched in 1979, built on the best of the British choral tradition while setting new standards of virtuosity and musicianship. The Sixteen’s professional female and male voices create a distinctive sound of great warmth and clarity. Although refined over four decades, that sound has remained remarkably consistent, always responsive to the emotional content of words and music, ever alert to subtle nuances of colour and shading.

The Sixteen has widened its reach at home in recent years as ‘The Voices of Classic FM’, Associate Artists of The Bridgewater Hall and Artistic Associates of Kings Place, and with an ongoing Artist Residency at Wigmore Hall. Since 2000 its annual Choral Pilgrimage has brought the ensemble to Britain’s great cathedrals and abbeys to perform sacred music in the spaces for which it was conceived. Appearances in the BBC television series Sacred Music, presented by Simon Russell Beale, have also helped grow The Sixteen’s audience. The most recent edition, an hour-long programme entitled Monteverdi in Mantua: The Genius of the Vespers, was first broadcast in 2015.

‘No praise would be too high for the range of The Sixteen, from seraphic notes on the brink of audibility to a richness of which a Russian choral ensemble would be proud,’ concluded one reviewer following the world premiere performance of Sir James MacMillan’s Stabat Mater, commissioned for The Sixteen by the Genesis Foundation. The work, first performed at London’s Barbican in October 2016, was later streamed live from the Sistine Chapel and recently received its US premiere at the Lincoln Centre, New York. Their long-standing relationship with James MacMillan has continued to flourish. with the group recently performing the world premiere of his Fifth Symphony at the 2019 Edinburgh International Festival.

International tours are an essential part of life for The Sixteen. The ensemble makes regular visits to major concert halls and festivals throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. It gave its first tour of China in October 2017, followed soon after by debut concerts in Estonia and Lithuania. The Sixteen’s touring credits include performances at the Cité de la musique in Paris, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Vienna’s Musikverein, together with appearances at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lucerne, Prague and Salzburg festivals.

The Sixteen’s period-instrument orchestra, central to the ensemble’s ambitious continuing series of Handel oratorios, has drawn critical acclaim for its work in semi-staged performances of Purcell’s Royal Welcome Songs in London, a production of Purcell’s King Arthur in Lisbon and new productions of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse at Lisbon Opera House and The Coronation of Poppea at English National Opera.

Following the success of the inaugural Choral Pilgrimage, The Sixteen launched its own record label in 2001. CORO has since cultivated an award-winning catalogue of 170 titles, albums of choral works by Francis Poulenc, Purcell’s welcome songs for James II, and the world premiere recording of MacMillan’s Stabat Mater recent among them. The Sixteen’s substantial discography for CORO and other labels has attracted many prestigious international prizes, including a Gramophone Award for Early Music and a Classical Brit Award for Renaissance, recorded as part of the group’s contract with Universal Classics and Jazz. In 2009 The Sixteen was named as Classic FM Gramophone Artist of the Year and received the Gramophone Best Baroque Vocal Award for its recording of Handel’s Coronation Anthems. In 2018 the group won the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society award for best ensemble.

The Sixteen’s commitment to the future of choral music is clearly reflected in Genesis Sixteen. The initiative, supported by the Genesis Foundation, offers the UK’s first fully funded choral training programme for singers aged 18 to 23. It has been specially designed to help participants navigate the testing transition from student status to life as professional performers.

Booking Info

Tickets from £13

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Book 2 concerts from the collection and get 10% off

Book 3 concerts from the collection and get 15% discount

Book all 4 concerts in the collection and get 20% discount

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U16s tickets are free with every full price adult

*A £3 per ticket commission is charged when you book through Town Hall Symphony Hall’s Box Office – online, by phone or in person.

There is no per ticket commission on tickets under £13.

Ticket commission

*A £3 per ticket commission is charged when you book through Town Hall Symphony Hall’s Box Office – online, by phone or in person.

There is no per ticket commission on tickets under £13.

Wheelchair Users and Disabled Patrons

If you require a wheelchair position (subject to availability) please call the Box Office on 0121 289 6343.

A range of tickets and services are available under our Access Scheme. To find out more, or to join the Access Scheme, email boxoffice@bmusic.co.uk or call us on 0121 289 6343.

Tickets are for personal use only. Purchasing tickets as, or on behalf of, a business or trader engaged in the resale of tickets is strictly prohibited. Tickets cannot be resold for commercial gain. We may cancel tickets and refuse entry if we have reason to believe this condition has not been respected. Customer accounts may also be suspended.

Getting here

  • Symphony Hall
    Broad Street
    B1 2EA
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