National Portrait Gallery announces choir in residence

Many tourists staying in London's luxury hotels will hope to see some of the capital's exquisite art galleries and hear some of the world-class musicians who call the city home. Now, the National Portrait Gallery intends to give visitors the opportunity to do both at once, having announced that it will be the first UK museum to have a choir in residence.

The Portrait Choir will perform a variety of works chosen to complement the gallery's exhibitions and permanent collection, serving a three-year residency as part of the venue's Late Shift programme, the BBC has reported.

Additionally, the choir will commission and perform one new work every year, taking inspiration from the masterpieces that hang in the building.

Pim Baxter, deputy director of the National Portrait Gallery, said: "It has long been an ambition of the National Portrait Gallery to have a choir in residence."

The 22-strong ensemble is made up of members from some of the UK's leading conservatoires and will be led by Gregory Batsleer, chorus master of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, who said he hoped the choir would prove "an integral part of the National Portrait Gallery's work".

Gallery visitors already enjoy a regular Friday Night Music event and the inauguration of the Portrait Choir will ensure that music continues to play a large role in the institution's calendar. The choir's first appearance will be on June 28th at a free event introduced by the gallery's director Sandy Nairne.

The National Portrait Gallery's Late Shift programme sees the venue open until 9pm every Thursday and Friday, with a variety of special events and workshops taking place as well as the opportunity to peruse the gallery's current exhibitions.

These include Man Ray Portraits, a landmark retrospective of the innovative photographer's collaborations with figures like Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso, which runs until May 27th.

A short trip from most central London locations, the National Portrait Gallery is served by the Leicester Square and Charing Cross tube stops.

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