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Groundbreaking online concert will showcase Mahler’s 'Symphony of a Thousand' recorded in isolation

Choir of Earth, Orchestra of Earth and a gang of soloists will all perform the famous "Mahler's 8th" on January 22nd
Choir of Earth, Orchestra of Earth and a gang of soloists will all perform the famous "Mahler's 8th" on January 22nd Copyright Larisa Birta
Copyright Larisa Birta
By Tim Gallagher
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Mahler's eighth symphony is renowned for requiring large amounts of musicians. This will be the first performance of the piece since the pandemic started.


This Saturday, a ground-breaking performance is due to take place of Mahler’s "Symphony of a Thousand".

The symphony (Mahler’s eighth) is known as such because of the staggering amount of musicians required to perform it.

After a year of work - on a global scale - hundreds of musicians from around the world will take part in the score; comprising the necessary double chorus, children’s chorus, soloists, orchestra, and organ.

However, in true pandemic fashion, only the children’s chorus will be performing together in-person with all other musicians recording their parts in isolation.

In all, 1,200 parts have been recorded and will be mixed together to create the unique piece which is the first performance of ‘Mahler 8’ of its kind.

The concert will be conducted by John Warner, and performers include the 1,000 strong Choir of Earth, Children’s choir Conservatorio Gustav Mahler de Irapuato, the near-100 instruments of Orchestra for the Earth and a variety of soloists.

None of the performers met during rehearsals with all teaching done online by Warner.

For many of us in the choir, this is a lifelong dream

Choir of the Earth’s founder Mark Strachan BEM expressed excitement at the prospect of the performance, “I am certain Mahler would have embraced the way we have put together his 8th Symphony.

“For many of us in the choir, this is a lifelong dream to sing Mahler 8, and because we are recording and learning from home from all over the world, we can record more than one part.”

Rehearsals have taken place throughout the pandemic, with many choir members recording more than one part.

Discussing how the project came together, Warner said, “This performance is the result of well over a year of work by hundreds of musicians from around the world, young and old.

“The music is Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, a work of boundless love and optimism that speaks to us especially directly in these difficult times, and yet I am sure this is the first rendition the world has seen since the pandemic.”

Warner started out with just a piano master track of the symphony before adding the recordings in a "truly collaborative" process.

Performing soloists hail from the award-winning vocal collective, Sansara, which also provided the backing tracks that helped the international choir learn their parts at home.

Meanwhile, the children's choir comes from Salamanca, Mexico. The Conservatorio was founded in 2012 to provide a space for children and young people to develop musical skills and knowledge.

The Mahler Foundation supports the Conservatory in its work to educate the region’s children about classical music, and create a positive social impact among local communities.

Choir of the Earth has announced that all profits from ticket sales for the online concert will go to the Conservatory to help further this important work.

Tickets are available here.

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