One of the country’s top amateur choirs, it was founded in 1891 by Lluís Millet and Amadeu Vives to disseminate a Catalan and world choral repertoire and hone the artistic excellence of its performances. These values have marked its career up to the present day. It has as its home at the Palau de la Música Catalana, built between 1905 and 1908 and listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Throughout its history the Orfeó has performed the most outstanding works in the choral repertoire and starred in premieres in this country of works like Bach’s Mass in B Minor and The Seasons by Haydn. It has been conducted by leading figures on the international scene including Daniel Barenboim, Simon Rattle, Richard Strauss, Camille Saint-Saëns, Pau Casals, Zubin Mehta, Frans Brüggen, Mstislav Rostropóvitx, Charles Dutoit, Lorin Maazel o Gustavo Dudamel, among others.
In June 2013 the Orfeó Català debuted in Konzerthaus Vienna; in February 2014 gave a concert in the Sala Gulbenkian in Lisbon to mark its reopening; in April 2015 performed at the Royal Festival Hall and Cadogan Hall in London and in May 2016 he toured Italy close to the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Daniele Gatti, the Ninth Symphony of L. van Beethoven. Also in May 2016 the choir started the celebrations of its 125th anniversary with a concert at the Palau de la Música Catalana.
Since September 2016 Simon Halsey is the conductor of the choir, taking over from Josep Vila i Casañas, who was the conductor since 1998.