Patron: His Majesty King Charles III
Chorus Master: Gavin Carr
Accompanist: Timothy End
Arts Council England
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    The Rest is History: Mozart and Beethoven with live orchestra

    On Friday 18 October, the world's most popular history podcast, The Rest Is History, is coming to the Royal Albert Hall on stage with a full orchestra and chorus. Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook take a deep dive into the lives and times of two of history's greatest composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven.

    From the spectre of the French Revolution looming over Mozart's final years, to the Napoleonic wars, which served as great inspiration to Beethoven, Tom and Dominic bring to life the stories of these two musical geniuses. The Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the Philharmonia Chorus will be conducted by Oliver Zeffman.

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    King Charles III confirmed as the Patron of the Philharmonia Chorus

    We are deeply honoured and proud that His Majesty King Charles III has been confirmed as the Patron of the Philharmonia Chorus.

    Buckingham Palace announced His Majesty's patronages to mark the first anniversary of the Coronation.

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    Debussy at the Proms

    On Tuesday August 1, the sopranos and altos of the Philharmonia Chorus will take part in Prom 17, in a performance of Debussy's Sirènes, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko at the 2024 BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London. The performance will be relayed live on BBC Radio 3. Tickets can be obtained here.

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    Handel's Messiah at the Proms

    The culmination of the Proms 2024 Choral Day, Saturday 7 September, will be a performance of Handel's Messiah (Mozart arrangement), with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields conducted by John Butt. The Philharmonia Chorus will be joined by soprano Nardus Williams, mezzo-soprano Helen Charleston, tenor Benjamin Hulett, bass Ashley Riches, the Fourth Choir, the Jason Max Ferdinand Singers, the LYC Chamber Choir, the Bath Minerva Choir, and the Voices of the River's Edge. The performance will be relayed live on BBC Radio 3. Tickets can be obtained here.

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    Mahler's Second Symphony at Bold Tendencies

    The 2024 season at Bold Tendencies will close on Saturday 14 September with a performance of Mahler's Second Symphony, with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Philharmonia Chorus conducted by the young Greek conductor Nefeli Chadouli. This the first time this symphony has been presented in this venue, a former car park in Peckham, South London. Tickets are available here.

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    Verdi's Messa da Requiem with Vasily Petrenko

    On Tuesday 23 April the Philharmonia Chorus took part in a performance of Verdi's Messa da Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall. The Chorus joined soprano Miah Persson, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston, tenor David Junghoon Kim, and bass Alexander Vinogradov. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by Vasily Petrenko.

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    Rachmaninov The Bells with Vasily Petrenko

    On Thursday 11 April, the Philharmonia Chorus took part in a performance of Rachmaninov's The Bells at the Royal Festival Hall. The Chorus joined soprano Mirjam Mesak, tenor Pavel Petrov, bass Andrii Kymach, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The performance was conducted by Vasily Petrenko.

    Photograph: Chris Chistodoulou

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    La Bohème in Lille

    At 20.00 on 4 and 5 July, the Philharmonia Chorus took part in two semi-staged performances of Puccini's La Bohème with the Orchestre National de Lille conducted by Alexandre Bloch. A stellar cast was be led by Nicole Car as Mimi and Pene Pati as Rodolfo.

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    Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King in Concert

    Following the screenings of the second film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy in September last year, the Philharmonia Chorus took part in screenings of this film classic in the third film of the trilogy, The Return of King. There were six showings over four days, 14-17 March at the Royal Albert Hall. Middle-earth came to life in Howard Shore's epic score, for which he won his second Oscar for Best Original Score, performed live by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, the Philharmonia Chorus, and Trinity Boys Choir. The performances were conducted by Ludwig Wicki.

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    Christmas Classics at the Royal Festival Hall

    On Friday December 15 and Sunday 17 December, the Philharmonia Chorus took part in three performances of Christmas Classics at the Royal Festival Hall, London. The Chorus joined Marisha Wallace, the London Youth Choirs, and presenter YolanDa Brown for a programme of Christmas favourites. The Philharmonia Orchestra was conducted by Michael England.

Concerts & Recordings

7:30pm Thursday 1 August 2024

Debussy - Nocturnes

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Vasily Petrenko

BBC Prom Concert
BBC Radio 3 live relay

Royal Albert Hall

7:00pm Saturday 7 September 2024

Handel - Messiah (Mozart arrangement)

Nardus Williams - soprano
Helen Charlston - mezzo-soprano
Benjamin Hulett - tenor
Ashley Riches - bass

Fourth Choir
Jason Max Ferdinand Singers
LYC Chamber Choir
Bath Minerva Choir
Philharmonia Chorus
Voices of the River's Edge

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields
conducted by John Butt

BBC Prom Concert
BBC Radio 3 live relay

Royal Albert Hall, London

7:30pm Saturday 14 September 2024

Mahler - Symphony No.2 'Resurrection'

Soprano - TBC
Mezzo-soprano - TBC

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

Philharmonia Orchestra
conducted by Nefeli Chadouli

Bold Tendencies, Peckham

7:30pm Friday 18 October 2024

The Rest is History: Mozart and Beethoven with live orchestra

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields
conducted by Oliver Zeffman

Royal Albert Hall, London

7:30pm Thursday 14 November 2024

Beethoven - Symphony No.9 'Choral'

Soloists - TBC

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

Philharmonia Orchestra
conducted by Robert Ziegler

Royal Festival Hall, London

Recent Reviews

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Rachmaninov - The Bells
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko
Royal Festival Hall, London

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Poetic cello, blazing chorus - Atmospheric Elgar and Weinberg, but Rachmaninov's 'The Bells' takes the palm

Purple patches flourished in the first half of this admirable programme: it could hardly have been otherwise given Sheku Kanneh-Mason's devotion to a new work in his repertoire, and the current strength of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko. Even so, it was the culmination, Rachmaninov's multifaceted "Choral Symphony" The Bells, which truly dazzled.

It seems so obvious: Petrenko just knows this idiom and is completely at ease with the difficult Rachmaninov rubato. The Philharmonia Chorus was simply electrifying: hard to believe they weren't professionals with a knockout sound like that.

This, rather than the too church-choiry Tenebrae, is what Pappano needed for his Ravel Daphnis et Chloé, repeated last night over at the Barbican at around the same time. The two masterpieces are only a year apart, and Rachmaninov proves master orchestrator too in the glitttering spirit of delight that frames his opening sleigh-ride. What a punch from the opening choral response to the tenor's "listen!", though, and what overwhelming climaxes throughout.

It takes real power and expression to hold focus in the "Loud Alarm Bells" movement; in Konstantin Balmont's translation of Edgar Allan Poe, when the voices become the flames in "I want to go higher, to burn higher, to touch the moonbeams", the effect was one of terrifying levitation. Special kudos to Chorus Master Gavin Carr.
David Nice, The Arts Desk, 12 April 2024

Rachmaninov's take on The Bells hits the spot

When a big choral symphony is called The Bells, a basic requirement, you might think, would be to hear some bells. There were three handsome specimens, small but sturdy, parked at the end of the percussion line on the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's back row. Reader, I could hear none of them.

Disappointment? Well, a smidgen. But so much else in Rachmaninov's spectacular take on Edgar Allan Poe's poem, the crowning glory of Vasily Petrenko's latest concert in the RPO's Icons Rediscovered strand, hit the spot unimpeded. Top of the list was the mighty force of the 80-strong Philharmonia Chorus, splendidly nurtured by its chorus master Gavin Carr, and especially thrilling in the alarm bell section. Not far below came the stentorian wonder of the baritone Andrii Kymach, your perfect companion for the gloomy bells of the final movement, fittingly marked "lento lugubre".
Geoff Brown, The Times, 12 April 2024

Sheku Kanneh-Mason and the Philharmonia Chorus shine in Weinberg and Rachmaninov

Rachmaninov's cantata 'The Bells' after the interval was an unqualified triumph. Petrenko was on home ground here, and he inspired a coruscating performance from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, doing full justice to Rachmaninov's brilliance as an orchestrator and his instinctive sense of drama. The soloists too were superb: the sweet-toned tenor Pavel Petrov found it hard to project his voice over the hubbub in parts of the first movement, but in the second the soprano Mirjam Mesak's clear, bell-like voice was a joy to hear, opening out thrillingly at the movement's climax. The fine baritone Andrii Kymach brought appropriately cavernous gloom to the final movement: he had me hoping that Petrenko might engage him for Shostakovich's Babi Yar.

The real heroes of the evening, though, were the Philharmonia Chorus. Not especially large around 100 singers they blew us away with their first entry: precision, attack, and enough volume for 'Gurrelieder'. The quieter moments they're humming over harp, piano and celeste later in the first movement were magical too. They were fabulous: the combined power of chorus and orchestra at the climaxes was shattering.
Chris Kettle, Seen and Heard International, 14 April 2024

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Shore - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in Concert
Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra conducted by Ludwig Wicki
Royal Albert Hall, London

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Conducted by Ludwig Wicki, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra's playing is very much a credit to Shore's masterwork. The violins are powerfully used to pull at the heartstrings, the brass section gets the pulses pumping when the fighting starts and, when the Philharmonia Chorus join in, there is a phenomenal wall of sound which pushes us back into our seats.
Franco Milazzo,, 18 March 2024

The stunning Philharmonia Chorus and Trinity Boy's Choir give depth and emotion to the beautiful choral moments
Lucy Boardman,, 17 March 2024


Tchaikovsky - Iolanta
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko
Royal Albert Hall, London

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The Philharmonia Chorus sang with admirable focus.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 9 November 2023


Verdi - Messa da Requiem
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali
Royal Festival Hall, London

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...but even more impressive was the Philharmonia Chorus. Sometimes a British performance of this piece leaves me longing for an Italian chorus, but not here. They were simply superb, whether in the cries of terror of the Dies Irae, or the consoling Agnus Dei.
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 22 September 2023

The Philharmonia Chorus were weighty in the Confutatis, and the enormity of their entry in the Libera Me was monumental.
Marc Bridle, Opera Today

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Handel - Samson
Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Laurence Cummings
Royal Albert Hall, London

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This spellbinding rendition of Handel's great oratorio came to the Proms as a heartwarming and uplifting blaze of glory. Vital to the success of the evening was the Philharmonia Chorus, who were on absolutely thrilling form.
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 24 August 2023

Allan Clayton's rich tenor defied the tricksy acoustics of the great hall, while the Philharmonia Chorus were truly outstanding. .....the Israelites' prayer in Act 2, its chewy harmonies sung with relish as part of an outstanding performance by the Philharmonia Chorus.
Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 24 August 2023

There's much to be said for performing Handel oratorios with a chorus several times bigger than expected. The Philharmonia Chorus numbered more than 100, and what a difference their weight and attack made. Using this chorus was a bold decision by the conductor Laurence Cummings and the Academy of Ancient Music. But it paid off in a work that depends so much on choral battles between the Philistines and Israelites.
Richard Morrison, The Times, 24 August 2023

The Academy of Ancient Music under Laurence Cummings for Handel's Samson so far, so promising. But full symphony chorus and the cavernous Royal Albert Hall? It shouldn't have worked, but the Philharmonia Chorus' performance was totally convincing. Delivering a majestic sound in big numbers like "Then round about the starry throne" and "Let their celestial concerts all unite", their touch was also light when required. Cummings' energetic attention helped, almost stabbing out their "Samson" entries in "Weep Israel", holding them to a dramatic pause after "strength" before they declare the hero slain.
Nick Boston, Bachtrack, 24 August 2023

A phenomenal evening which despite the odd hiccup attained a level of musical excellence available to very few performances, anywhere. These forces would surely provide a recording of great note.
Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International, 25 August 2023

From the opening notes of the first chorus, the fast and brilliant 'Awake the trumpet's lofty sound', the Philharmonia Chorus impressed. They made Act One end on a positive note with a strong account of the finale chorus, whilst Act Two ended in a more complex manner as the chorus' vividly urgent 'To song and Dance we give the day' gave way to the great double chorus hymning both Dagon and Jehovah. This was grand indeed, but Cummings also brought out the underlying dance-rhythm of the music. In Act Three, 'With thunder arm'd' was bravura indeed, with the chorus seemingly following Cummings' fast pace with ease.
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 25 August 2023

The Philharmonia Chorus, under chorus master Gavin Carr, was on wondrous form, whether capturing the solemn gravity of the Israelites' proclamations, or the carefree, hedonistic feel of many of the Philistine choruses.
Sam Smith, Music OMH, 27 August 2023

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Holst - The Planets
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Emilia Hoving
Bold Tendencies, Peckham

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When the hidden choir of women's voices (Philharmonia Chorus) joined in for the final bars of Neptune, to a ripple of harps, organ and celesta, the effect was ethereal, if not extraterrestrial. Some of the many children present - lasting only an hour and in daylight, the event was ideal for a trial concert run - looked round and up in astonishment to see where the sound came from. (In fact the singers had gathered, walking up and down to create a near-far effect, on the car park's level 7 ramp, alongside the ever celestial Sevenoaks via Nunhead train line.)
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 10 June 2023