BBC finally finds a chorus director

BBC finally finds a chorus director


norman lebrecht

March 02, 2017

Fourteen months ago, the BBC fired the popular Stephen Jackson, director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra chorus, ‘for failing to follow reasonable management instructions’. (George Orwell is alive and well in BBC-speak).

Today, after more than a year of uncertainty, it announced as the new director Neil Ferris, associate chorus director of the LSO and music director of the Wimbledon Choral Society.

Let’s see if he can follow reasonable BBC whatever.



UPDATE: The BBC press release has just landed. They have also hired Grace Rossiter as deputy chorus director. That will required more management, so…

Meanwhile Helen MacLeod joins the BBC in the new position of Choruses Manager of the BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC Proms Youth Chorus. 

Doncha just love the BBC?



  • Alkan says:

    Whatever the past, Neil is a terrific artist and the BBC are lucky to work with him. Looking forward to hearing the results!

    • Dave says:

      Hear, hear.

      A terrific musician as his work with the BBC Symphony Chorus (as it is correctly known) has already proved.

      The press release does his choral chops much better justice than the grudging newsbite above.

  • aliphil says:

    The BBCSC has had a Chorus Manager or similar role for many years. The new part is combining that with the management of the Proms Youth Choir.

  • Paddy says:

    Just think, if Stephen Jackson had been given a deputy chorus director and a full-time choruses manager he might have been able to delegate listening to reasonable management instructions to them, and might still be in post.

    • Robin Daniel says:

      Yeah – how simple! Pity they didn’t think of that before. I’m so old I was there when John Poole was appointed (under Colin Davis, BBCSO Conductor) to succeed Peter Gellhorn, BBC Singers Director (ie the 28, now about 16, stunningly good professionals, then called the BBC Chorus), as the first person to have “special responsibility for the BBC Choral Society” (ie the 120 or so highly competent amateurs, as the BBC Symphony Chorus was then called – they don’t make it easy with the name changes, do they!). I wish them all well, and I really do mean all of them, though I do hope that perhaps management may now be able to present an understood strategic path for the future.