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Chorus Director of the Grant Park Music Festival since 2002, Scottish conductor Christopher Bell has been Artistic Director of the Washington Chorus since 2017.
Christopher Bell enters his 11th season as Chorus Director of the Grant Park Music Festival in 2012. He serves as Chorusmaster for the Edinburgh Inter-national Festival and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus. He was largely responsible for the formation of the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) in 1996 and serves as its Artistic Director.
Born in Belfast, Christopher Bell was educated at Edinburgh University and held his first post as Associate Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra between 1989 and 1991. Since then, he has worked with many of the major orchestras in the UK and Ireland, including the Royal Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, BBC Scottish Symphony, Ulster, Scottish Chamber, City of London Sinfonia, and London Concert.
Christopher Bell was Chorusmaster of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra between 1989 and 2002 and was the first Artistic Director of the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union. For six years he directed the TOTAL Aberdeen Youth Choir, undertaking touring and recordings as well as many concerts in the Northeast of Scotland. He was the first Artistic Director of the Ulster Youth Choir between 1999 and 2004, a group he developed into a critically acclaimed ensemble. Through his leadership, the National Youth Choir of Scotland has performed at the London Proms and Edinburgh International Festival, and made numerous recordings and broadcasts on BBC radio.
For his work with singers (particularly with young vocalists) in Scotland, Christopher Bell received a Scotsman of the Year (2001) award for Creative Talent. In 2003, he was awarded the Charles Groves Prize for his contribution to cultural life in Scotland and the rest of the UK. For his services to choral music, Bell was awarded an honorary Master of the University in 2009 from the United Kingdom’s innovative Open University.