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Philharmonia Chorus celebrates 60th anniversary with Belshazzar's Feast

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On Tuesday November 12 1957 the Philharmonia Chorus gave its very first performance. The occasion was the culmination of a Beethoven cycle with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Otto Klemperer in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

The Chorus marked 60 years of glorious music making on Sunday 5 November at the Royal Festival Hall in a performance of William Walton's spectacular oratorio Belshazzar's Feast, with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner.

The concert was recorded by BBC Radio 3, and was broadcast at 19.30 on Tuesday 28 November. You can hear it here until 28 December.


Ravel in Lille

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The Philharmonia Chorus made its debut with the Orchestre National de Lille on Friday September 22 in the Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle in Lille with a performance of Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé conducted by the orchestra's principal conductor Alexandre Bloch. This is the opening concert in the orchestra's 2017-18 season.

The concert was repeated on Saturday 23 September, and the performances were recorded by Mezzo TV for future transmission.


Philharmonia Chorus at the Rheingau Festival

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This summer the Philharmonia Chorus made its first appearance at the Rheingau Music Festival in two concerts of English music.

On August 31, the Chorus was accompanied by organist Thomas Frank in a programme of music from the English Musical Renaissance, 1850 - 1930, in the Marktkirche in Wiesbaden. Choral works by Stanford, Parry, Wood, Elgar and Vaughan Williams were conducted by Stefan Bevier. The concert was recorded by Deutschlandfunk for future transmission.

Two days later on 2 September, the Chorus took part in the final concert of the 2017 Rheingau Music Festival, a performance of Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius in the Basilica of the Kloster Eberbach, with mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge, tenor Brenden Gunnell, baritone Markus Eiche, and the Symphoniker Hamburg. The performance was conducted by Paul McCreesh.


Grand Opera Gala

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On Saturday 3 June at the Royal Festival Hall, London, the Philharmonia Chorus took part in a Grand Opera Gala with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Stefan Bevier, Chorus Master of the Philharmonia Chorus, with soprano Natasha Jouhl, tenor Peter Auty and baritone David Kemster.

The Chorus performed masterpieces from the world of opera, including Wach Auf! from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Entry of the Guests from Tannhäuser, the Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore, the Grand March from Aida and the Easter Hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana.

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Recent Reviews

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Walton - Belshazzar's Feast
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner
Royal Festival Hall, London
5 November 2017
6 / 11 / 2017

The surtitles were not entirely necessary, as virtually every word could be heard from this wonderful body of singers.
Robert Matthew-Walker, classicalsource.com, 6 November 2017

The Chorus is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary this season: the original 1957 body of singers set new standards in its day, and on this evidence standards are again very high under the leadership of the current Chorus Master Stefan Bevier. The quality of singing in Belshazzar’s Feast was in fact wonderfully high, both technically and in terms of tone quality.
Alan Sanders, seenandheard-international.com, 6 November 2017

The choir rewarded Gardner with with singing as poetic in By the Waters of Babylon as it was punchy in the terrifying cry of 'Slain'.
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 19 November 2017

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Elgar - The Dream of Gerontius
Hamburger Symphoniker conducted by Paul McCreesh
Basilica of the Kloster Eberbach, Rheingau Music Festival
2 September 2017 5 / 09 / 2017


The Philharmonia Chorus was the star of the evening. The chorus of around a hundred men's and women's voices pulled out all the stops, sounding now celestially transported, now devilishly sinister. The top symphony chorus from London, guests for the first time at the Rheingau Music Festival, gave us goose pimples with their piano and their forte had powerfully resonating energy. Together with the orchestra they created an unparalleled apotheosis of sound. Long, refreshing applause from the enthusiastic audience.
Manfred Mertz, Gießener Allgemeine Zeitung, 3 September 2017


Supremely good were the Symphoniker Hamburg and the powerful Philharmonia Chorus from London.
Bernhard Uske, Frankfurter Rundschau, 9 September 2017

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Music from the English Musical Renaissance
Thomas Frank (organ), Philharmonia Chorus conducted by Stefan Bevier 1 / 09 / 2017


'...Vaughan Williams' Te Deum set the direction towards total vocal magnificence'.
Axel Zibulski, Wiesbaden Kurier, 2 September 2017

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Beethoven - Symphony No.9 'Choral'
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Zander
Royal Festival Hall, London, 18 March 2017
19 / 03 / 2017

...this was singing of the highest quality, powerful, controlled, overwhelming
Anthony Hodgson, www.classicalsource.com

The Chorus was staggeringly good throughout.
Colin Clarke, http://seenandheard-international.com

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Concerts & Recordings

  • Sat 29 Apr 2017 7:30PM

    Mahler - Symphony No.8

    Special concert marking the 30th Anniversary of the Palau de la Música

    Ricarda Merbeth - soprano
    Julia Novikova - soprano
    Ofelia Sala - soprano
    Theresa Kronthaler - mezzo-soprano
    María Luisa Corbacho - mezzo-soprano
    Nicolai Schukoff - tenor
    José Antonio López - baritone
    Alfredo García - bass

    Escolanía de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados
    Coro de la Generalitat Valencia
    Orfeó Valencià
    Philharmonia Chorus

    Orquesta de Valencia
    conducted by Yaron Traub

    Iturbi Hall, Palau de la Música, Valencia

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  • Sat 3 Jun 2017 7:30PM

    Grand Opera Gala

    Natasha Jouhl - soprano
    Peter Auty - tenor
    David Kemster - baritone
    Philharmonia Chorus
    Philharmonia Orchestra
    conducted by Stefan Bevier

    Royal Festival Hall, London

    more
  • Thu 31 Aug 2017 8:00PM

    Music from the English Musical Renaissance

    Thomas Frank - organ
    Philharmonia Chorus
    conducted by Stefan Bevier

    Vaughan Williams - Te Deum in G
    Wesley - Wash Me Throughly
    Elgar - The Shower
    Wood - Expectans Expectavi
    Faulkes - Festival Prelude on 'Ein' Feste Burg' (organ)
    Parry - Blest Pair of Sirens

    Parry - I Was Glad
    Stanford - Magnificat in C
    Hollins - Concert Overture in C minor (organ)
    Stanford - The Blue Bird
    Stanford - For Lo, I Raise Up
    Wood - O Thou, the Central Orb

    Recorded by Deutschlandfunk for later transmission

    2017 Rheingau Music Festival

    Marktkirche, Wiesbaden

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  • Sat 2 Sep 2017 7:00PM

    Elgar - The Dream of Gerontius

    Kathryn Rudge - mezzo-soprano
    Brenden Gunnell - tenor
    Markus Eiche - baritone
    Philharmonia Chorus
    Symphoniker Hamburg
    conducted by Paul McCreesh

    Closing concert of the 2017 Rheingau Festival

    Basilica of the Kloster Eberbach, Eltville am Rhein

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  • Fri 22 Sep 2017 8:00PM

    Ravel - Daphnis et Chloé

    Orchestre National de Lille
    conducted by Alexandre Bloch

    Recorded by Mezzo for future transmission

    Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle, Lille

    more
  • Sat 23 Sep 2017 6:30PM

    Ravel - Daphnis et Chloé

    Orchestre National de Lille
    conducted by Alexandre Bloch

    Recorded by Mezzo for future transmission

    Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle, Lille

    more
  • Sun 5 Nov 2017 7:30PM

    Walton - Belshazzar's Feast

    Philharmonia Chorus 60th Anniversary Concert

    Roland Wood - baritone
    Philharmonia Chorus
    Philharmonia Orchestra
    conducted by Edward Gardner

    Royal Festival Hall, London

    more
  • Thu 15 Mar 2018 8:00PM

    Poulenc - Sept répons des ténèbres
    Rossini - Stabat mater

    Gabrielle Philiponet - soprano
    Monika Bohinec - mezzo-soprano
    Frédéric Antoun- tenor
    Mirco Palazzi - bass
    Philharmonia Chorus
    Orchestre National de Lille
    conducted by Joana Mallwitz

    Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle, Lille

    more
  • Sun 25 Mar 2018 3:00PM

    Brahms - Ein deutsches Requiem

    Elsa Dreisig - soprano
    Michael Kraus - baritone
    Philharmonia Chorus
    Philharmonia Orchestra
    conducted by Karl-Heinz Steffens

    Royal Festival Hall, London

    more
  • Sun 6 May 2018 7:30PM

    Mozart - Requiem

    Ailish Tynan - soprano
    Mezzo-soprano - TBC
    Luis Gomez - tenor
    Bass - TBC
    Philharmonia Chorus
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    conducted by Itzhak Perlman

    Royal Festival Hall, London

    more

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