It is one of the country's leading choirs, founded in 1891 by Lluís Millet and Amadeu Vives to spread the Catalan and universal choral repertoire with the highest artistic excellence. Simon Halsey is currently the artistic director, Pablo Larraz the principal conductor and Pau Casan the pianist. It has its headquarters in the Palau de la Música Catalana, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The choir performed the most representative choral works and first auditions of Bach's Mass in B minor in our country and The seasons by Haydn. It has been conducted by leading international leaders: R. Strauss, P. Casals, Z. Mehta, M. Rostropovich, L. Maazel, D. Barenboim, S. Rattle and G. Dudamel, among others. It made its debut at the Konzerthaus in Vienna and the Gulbenkian Hall in Lisbon and toured Italy with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, conducted by D. Gatti. In London it has performed at the Royal Festival Hall (2015) and the Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms in several editions, always directed by S. Rattle. Orfeó Català has toured China (Shanghai International Art Festival, 2018) and Europe, most recently in 2019 with G. Dudamel, performing the Second Symphony by Mahler.
In 2020 the choir commemorated the Year of Beethoven with the interpretation of Christ on the Mount of Olives, with the London Symphony Orchestra and S. Rattle, and later the Ninth Symphony, with G. Dudamel and the Galician Symphony Orchestra. In 2021 Orfeó català commemorated the centenary of the country premiere of the St. Matthew Passion by Bach, with soloists from the Berlin Philharmonic and the Franz Schubert Philharmonic, conducted by S. Halsey.
During the covid the Orfeó Català did not stop the activity. Highlights of this season are the performance ofOltra mar by Kaija Saariaho at Palau de la Música Catalana, with the OBC and Anna M. Helsing, and the tour with the Mass of Glory by Puccini, with the Luxembourg Symphony Orchestra, under the conduction of G. Gimeno (Palace, Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris and Philharmonie in Luxembourg).