The BBC Singers have today announced the appointment of Sofi Jeannin as their new Chief Conductor, taking up her position in July 2018.
Jeannin takes over the reins from David Hill, who has been Chief Conductor for ten years (2007-2017) and has led the Singers through performances including their 90th anniversary concert at the Barbican, Steve Reich’s Desert Music at the BBC Proms and this summer he will conduct them in the world premiere of Judith Weir’s In the Land of Uz in a Proms at…Southwark Cathedral on Saturday 12 August.
Before taking up her official role, Jeannin will conduct the BBC Singers in a number of performances in the UK, including a special ‘Reformation Day’ concert as part of the 2017 BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, presenting a musical story-telling of the Passion through five centuries of music (20 August 2017) and a concert as part of the BBC Singer’s 17-18 season featuring three of Handel’s Coronation Anthems as well as his Dixit Dominus with St James’ Baroque at Milton Court Concert Hall (4 May 2018).
Sofi Jeannin says "I feel both thrilled and deeply honoured. The BBC Singers represent a performance level which is any conductor's dream –they are a truly marvellous group and working with them is a joyful experience. The values of excellence, of a rich and varied season, of the closeness with the audiences in the halls and through our radio broadcasts are missions that one cannot treat lightly. To be entrusted with these responsibilities within the BBC is inspiring and humbling."
Paul Hughes, General Manager, BBC Singers, says “I see exciting times ahead for the BBC Singers under the inspired direction of our new Chief Conductor Designate Sofi Jeannin. The range of her experience and the exacting standards she demands have produced thrilling results with the Singers and I am absolutely delighted to welcome Sofi in her new role.”
Alan Davey, Controller, BBC Radio 3 and BBC Orchestras and Choirs, says: “We’re thrilled to welcome Sofi to our BBC Orchestras and Choirs family and I’m sure our audiences will be as excited as I am about her first outings as the BBC Singers Chief Conductor Designate over the next few months, including at the BBC Proms, whether seeing her live in the Royal Albert Hall or listening at home on BBC Radio 3. I look forward to watching the Singers continue to grow and thrive under Sofi’s direction.”
About Sofi Jeannin
Born in Stockholm, Sofi Jeannin studied music both in Sweden and France before going on to complete a Mmus in choral conducting at the Royal College of Music with Paul Spicer. She conducted the British premiere of Consolation I by Helmut Lachenmann, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 2006, and prepared choirs for Sir David Willcocks, Bernard Haitink and Peter Schreier, taught choral singing at the RCM Junior Department and sang with London Voices and Terry Edwards before pursuing as a professor of choral conducting at the Evry conservatoire in France.
She has been Musical Director of la Maîtrise de Radio France since 2008. With the choir, favoured by Messiaen and Dutilleux, she commissions many new works, gives a full season of broadcast concerts on France Musique and collaborates with composers and conductors such as Esa Pekka Salonen, Peter Eötvös, John Adams, Thierry Escaich, Kaija Saariaho, Kurt Masur, Daniele Gatti, Myung Whun Chung, Mikko Franck, Gianandrea Noseda, Andris Nelsons, Semyon Bychkov, Bertand de Billy, Susanna Mälki and Stéphane Denève.
In 2015 she was appointed musical Director of the French Radio Chorus, the largest professional symphonic chorus in Europe, both giving a cappella concerts and new commissions, as well as collaborations with l’Orchestre National de France, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Bernard Haitink, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev..
In 2018 she records Poulenc Figure Humaine and premieres a new commission by French composer Philippe Hersant. Since 2009, she regularly conducts l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and L’Orchestre National de France, has worked with the Stockholm Concert Orchestra, the Chorus and Philharmonic Orchestra of Arad, Romania, L’Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche Comté and the St Jacob’s Chamber Choir in Stockholm. A regular guest at the St Denis Festival and the festival of Montpellier, she has conducted a wide variety of works from hymns of Hildegard Von Bingen, Fauré Requiem, Mozart Vespers and Sinfonia Concertante to Messiaen Trois Petites Liturgies à la Présence Divine, Orff’s Carmina Burana and collaborates with soloists such as violinist Renaud Capuçon and trumpeter Imbrahim Maalouf.
Future engagements include a concert of contemporary Scandinavian music with the Swedish Radio Chorus in September 2018. Strongly committed to outreach work, she has developped a full time choir school in the city of Bondy, north of Paris, and has the musical and pedagogical responsability of 180 choristers. She has worked with the chorus and orchestra of Kinshasa, Congo, and is also involved in El Sistema Greece since 2017. She regularly gives workshops and masterclasses around the world and has set up a new course of choral conducting at the Paris conservatoire.
About the BBC Singers
The BBC Singers hold a unique position in British musical life. Performing everything from Byrd to Birtwistle, Tallis to Takemitsu, their versatility is second to none. The choir’s unrivalled relationships with some of the most important composers and conductors of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Poulenc, Britten, Judith Bingham and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
The Singers’ forthcoming 2017-18 season will showcase a rich and wide-ranging selection of choral music from across the centuries, from much-loved masterpieces including Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Handel’s Coronation Anthems, to fresh and contemporary music by Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Based at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios, the BBC Singers also give regular free concerts at St Paul’s Knightsbridge, as well as regularly appearing at major festivals across the UK and beyond. The Singers are committed to sharing their enthusiasm and creative expertise through its nationwide outreach programme. This includes frequent collaborations with schoolchildren, youth choirs and the amateur choral community, as well as with the professional composers, singers and conductors of tomorrow.