60 Seconds with... Gregory Batsleer


2019 has been quite an eventful year for the SCO Chorus, looking ahead to 2020, the Chorus will be performing Tallis’ Spem in Alium in February. What inspired you to do this project?

It is simply one of the greatest choral pieces ever written and it’s fair to say that I’ve been in love with it ever since I first sang it aged 18 as part of the Rodolfus Choir at Snape Maltings in Aldeburgh. The ornate and intricacy of the writing is incredibly inspiring - it’s completely mind-blowing to think that it was written over 500 years ago and that it still resonates so well with audiences today. It feels like a real privilege to be able to perform this work to our Edinburgh audiences.

What makes the SCO Chorus the right chorus to take on this Renaissance masterpiece?

The SCO Chorus has proven itself to be one the best choral ensembles in the UK and now feels like the right time to tackle this masterpiece. The work is incredibly virtuosic for the Chorus - almost every singer has their own line, therefore giving each member of this great choir an opportunity to shine. I believe that SCOC is one of the only choirs in the UK who could tackle this piece in this way.

What can audiences expect to experience at this concert? 

Within this concert we offer audiences the opportunity to experience some of the most glorious a cappella music ever written, with music spanning 5 centuries from Tallis to James Macmillan. Spem in Alium is a rarely performed work and I believe that this is one of the only times it has been performed in Scotland in the last 10 years. This concert continues the expansion of the Chorus’ work beyond our normal setting with the Orchestra and growing our reputation of a choir not just of orchestra music but also a capella repertoire. The beautiful and serene setting of Greyfriars Kirk is the perfect place for this music to be heard in Edinburgh and we are thrilled to be returning there. 

Conducted by Gregory Batsleer
29 February, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh