Christopher Bell, Artistic Director


During his first season as Artistic Director of The Washington Chorus, Christopher Bell’s arrival is receiving the same critical and popular acclaim that has followed him throughout his international career. Mr. Bell is also the Chorus Director for the Chicago Grant Park Music Festival, which he joined in 2002, where he conducts choral and orchestral performances, and is the Chorus Master of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, preparing them for concerts with visiting national and international orchestras and conductors. His Chicago successes include Chorus America’s coveted Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and glowing reviews from both critics and audiences alike. “It’s as if he has some magic dust he sprinkles on his singers that gives them this incredible precision,” wrote Andrew Patner of the Chicago Sun Times.

Mr. Bell was instrumental in the formation of the National Youth Choir of Scotland in 1996, serving as its Artistic Director ever since and performing at the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh International Festival, touring internationally, recording and broadcasting. He recently finished his 22nd season as Director of the RSNO Junior Chorus.

After graduating from Edinburgh University, Mr. Bell became the Associate Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. In 1988 he made his debut with the Ulster Orchestra in performances of Handel’s Messiah and since then has appeared regularly with them conducting concerts across Northern Ireland. In 2009 he was appointed the Ulster Orchestra’s first Associate Conductor.

As a conductor Mr. Bell has worked with many of the major orchestras in the UK and Ireland, including the Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, BBC Scottish Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, Scottish Chamber, RTE National Symphony, and the Bournemouth Symphony. Concerts and recordings with professional choruses include Opera Australia Chorus (Melbourne), the RTVE Choir in Madrid, and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir.

Mr. Bell is well-known for his abilities working with young musicians. He was the founding conductor of the Ulster Youth Choir and director of the TOTAL Aberdeen Youth Choir for six years. Between 2001 and 2008 he was Artistic Director of the highly successful Children’s Classic Concert series.

In 2001, Dr. Bell received a Scotsman of the Year Award for Creative Talent in appreciation for his work with singers, particularly his encouragement of young singers in Scotland. In 2003, he was awarded the Sir Charles Grove Prize for his contribution to cultural life in Scotland and throughout the UK.

Washington Chorus names new music director (Washington Post)

Recent Reviews

"Bell, Grant Park Chorus deliver a remarkable evening of Rachmaninoff"
—Chicago Classical Review

"Superb soloists and chorus highlight Martin rarity at Grant Park Music Festival"
—Chicago Classical Review

"Fiddle virtuoso, choral rarity lend cachet to Ravinia, Grant Park shows"
—Chicago Tribune

Carlos Kalmar, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival in Millennium Park, talks about working with Christopher Bell, the Festival's Chorus Director.

Christopher Bell was recipient of the Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art in 2013.