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As Northern Ireland’s only professional symphony orchestra, the UO has achieved much since 1966. Here are a few of those achievements and significant events.
Christopher BellBelfast-born Christopher Bell is Chorus Director of the Grant Park Chorus, Chicago, USA, Chorus Master of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, the Belfast Philharmonic Choir, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus, and Artistic Director of Children's Classic Concerts. He was largely responsible for the formation of the National Youth Choir of Scotland in 1996 and has been its Artistic Director since then. He was also the former Artistic Director of the Ulster Youth Choir.
He studied at Edinburgh University and his first post was as Associate Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony (1989-1991). Since then he has worked with many of the major orchestras in the UK and Ireland, including the Royal Philharmonic and London Philharmonic. Overseas he has worked with orchestras and opera companies in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia (where he was Principal Guest Conductor of the State Orchestra of Victoria, Australia).
For his work with singers, and particularly his encouragement of young singers in Scotland, Christopher Bell was awarded a Scotsman of the Year 2001 award for Creative Talent. In 2003 he was awarded the Charles Grove Prize for his contribution to cultural life in Scotland and the rest of the UK.