The Royal Choral Society is an amateur choir, based in London. Formed soon after the opening of the Royal Albert Hall in 1871, the choir gave its first performance as the Royal Albert Hall Choral Society on 8 May 1872 – the choir's first conductor Charles Gounod included the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah in the inaugural concert. From the beginning, performing premieres of new choral works has been a feature of the choir's repertoire. Both Giuseppe Verdi and Antonín Dvořák conducted the choir in premieres of their own works, as have Edward Roxborough, Ariel Ramírez, Raymond Premru and Geoffrey Burgon in more recent years. The choir continued to be conducted by the most eminent musicians of the day, most notably Sir Malcolm Sargent, whose association with the choir spanned forty years. The present Music Director, Richard Cooke, took over the baton in 1995.