Patron: HRH The Prince of Wales
Chorus Master: Gavin Carr
Accompanist: Timothy End
Arts Council England
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    Mahler's Second Symphony with Jakub Hrůša

    On Thursday 20 February the Philharmonia Chorus took part in a performance of Mahler's Second Symphony at the Royal Festival Hall, London. The Chorus joined soprano Camilla Tilling, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston and the Philharmonia Orchestra with its Principal Guest conductor Jakub Hrůša.

    The concert was recorded by BBC Radio 3, and was broadcast on Monday 9 March.

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    Norbert Balatsch

    1928 - 2020

    We are greatly saddened to hear of the death at 92 of Norbert Balatsch. While chorus master at both the Vienna State Opera and the Bayreuth Festival, he was appointed to the Chorus in 1975. Over the next five years he prepared the Chorus for over 50 concerts and recordings with some of the most outstanding conductors of the time. During this period the Chorus appeared in concerts and performances of staged opera at the Roman Théâtre Antique in Orange, and the 1979 recording of Mozart's Requiem conducted by Guilini won the 1981 Grammy award for best choral performance. The Chorus flourished under him, and we are both grateful and fortunate to have benefited from his leadership.

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    Messiah at Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall

    On Wednesday 18 December the Philharmonia Chorus took part in two performances of Handel's Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall. The Chorus was joined by soprano Natalya Romaniw, mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons, tenor Elgan Llŷr Thomas, and bass William Thomas. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by Christoph Altstaedt.

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    Philharmonia Chorus singers appointed ENO Harewood Artists 2019/20

    Three Philharmonia Chorus singers have been appointed to the prestigious ENO Harewood Artists for 2019/20. Each Harewood Artist undertakes a programme of vocal and language training, is coached by experts in their repertoire and is fully supported through auditions for career-building performance opportunities with ENO, around the UK and abroad. Mezzo-soprano Claire Barnett-Jones and tenors William Morgan and John Findon were among the first singers who auditioned for the Philharmonia Chorus Professional Singer Scheme, and have joined the Chorus for many concerts. We congratulate them and wish them well at ENO.

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    Philharmonia Chorus soprano takes solo role in Mahler's Eighth Symphony

    The Philharmonia Chorus took part in the culmination of the Orchestre National de Lille's 2019 Mahler cycle with two performances of the mighty Eighth Symphony in the Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle, Lille on 20 and 21 November. The Chorus joined sopranos Daniela Köhler, Yitian Luan and Elena Gorshunova, mezzo-soprano Michaela Selinger, alto Atala Schöck, tenor Ric Furman, baritone Zsolt Haja, bass Sebastian Pilgrim, the Jeune Choeur des Hauts-de-France, Orchestre National de Lille and the Orchestre de Picardie. The performances were conducted by Alexandre Bloch. The second performance on 21 November was broadcast live on the orchestra's Facebook page.

    In the second performance on 21 November, the first soprano part was shared between Daniela Köhler, who had developed some vocal problems, and Eleanor Ross (far right in the photograph), a soprano in the Philharmonia Chorus, who stepped in at extremely short notice to share the part with Daniela.

    A short video of the preparation of these performances can be seen on You Tube.

    The Philharmonia Chorus has already taken part in the performances of Mahler's Second and Third symphonies in the Orchestre National de Lille 2019 Mahler cycle.

Concerts & Recordings

3:00pm Sunday 18 October 2020

Mahler - Symphony No.8

Sarah Wegener - soprano
Jacquelyn Wagner - soprano
Regula Mühlemann - soprano
Jennifer Johnston - mezzo-soprano
Hilary Summers - alto
Vincent Wolfsteiner - tenor
Michael Nagy - baritone
Shenyang - bass

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
Philharmonia Chorus
Bournemouth Symphony Chorus
City of London Choir

Tiffin Boys' Choir
The Temple Church Choir

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

conducted by Vasily Petrenko

Royal Albert Hall, London

7:30pm Wednesday 3 March 2021

Mahler - Symphony No.2

Elizabeth Watts - soprano
Jennifer Johnston - mezzo-soprano

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Vasily Petrenko

Royal Albert Hall, London

3:00pm Sunday 21 March 2021

Orff - Carmina Burana

Mari Eriksmoen - soprano
Brett Sprague - tenor
Marcus Farnsworth - baritone

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

Philharmonia Orchestra
conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali

Royal Festival Hall, London

7:30pm Thursday 8 April 2021

Mahler - Symphony No.3

Hanna Hipp - mezzo-soprano

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

Tiffin Boys' Choir

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Vasily Petrenko

Royal Albert Hall, London

Recent Reviews

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Berlioz - Grande Messe des Morts
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by John Nelson
St Paul's Cathedral, London - Erato DVD

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Four hundred performers shake the pillars of St Paul's Cathedral and set the dome ringing in this immense live recording which blazes with hell-fire and brimstone.
Alexandra Coghlan, The Spectator, 2 May 2020

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Mahler - Symphony No.2 'Resurrection'
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Jakub Hrůša
Royal Festival Hall, London, 20 February 2020

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Then the pianissimo choral entry with the Resurrection Ode - has it ever sounded more mystical?
David Nice, The Arts Desk, 21 February 2020

...the Mahlerian chorus starts unaccompanied, in an almost imperceptible pianissimo which builds slowly to the massive organ-laden climax. Hrůša and the rapt orchestral players carried us with them with impeccable dynamic control.
David Karlin,, 21 February 2020

The chorus was as fine as the orchestra, the almost inaudible entrance stopping time. Good for Hrůša to give the clarion choral call of 'Bereite dich' space, an expansive gesture that led to a simply glowing 'Aufsteh'n'.
Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International, 22 February 2020

The first entry of the chorus - on such a diminished pianissimo - was ravishing, audible enough, but one almost had to strain to hear them. The chorus were magnificent, even cataclysmic, the clarity of the diction almost irrelevant given the sheer scale of its climax.
Marc Bridle, Opera Today, 23 February 2020

The fabulous Philharmonia Chorus
Ian Skelly, BBC Radio 3, 21 February 2020

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Handel - Messiah
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Christoph Altstaedt
Royal Albert Hall, London, 18 December 2019

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The Philharmonia Chorus is in wonderful voice and fills the vast hall with beautiful and balanced sound. "For Unto Us A Son Is Born" is suitably bright, lively and optimistic. With excellent diction and huge amounts of energy, the performance of the chorus is the standout of the evening. The sheer size of the Royal Albert Hall can present the most accomplished performers with a challenge, but the Philharmonia Chorus really rose to the occasion. Overall a beautifully engaging and festive evening.
Aliya Al-Hassan,, 19 December 2019

Altstaedt's tempos were on the fast side, and he certainly took no prisoners, yet his performers, both soloists and choir, we well up to the task and throughout the evening we had some admirably fleet passage work. In the early 1980s, I worked with a veteran choral conductor in Edinburgh who commented that the overall timing of Messiah could be gauged from the speed at which the choir could sing the semi-quaver passages. In the case of the wonderfully admirable Philharmonia Chorus that seemed to be at whatever speed Altstaedt wanted, and they sang with a nice lightness and unanimity too. Conductor Christoph Altstaedt clearly relished having a large chorus which could give him both fluidity and speed (with impressively light and fast passage-work), but also weight and drama.
Robert Hugill, Opera Today, 19 December 2019

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Mahler - Symphony No.8
Orchestre National de Lille conducted by Alexandre Bloch
Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle, Lille, 20 November 2019

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Le chœur britannique Philharmonia Chorus (impliqué, vivant) relève les défis d'une partition qui saisit et même foudroie: ici l'incantation du verbe choral « terrasse » même ; il assoit la solidité de l'édifice qui se déroule et se déploie sous nos yeux, occupant un espace de plus en plus large.
Alexandre Pham,, 21 November 2019

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Mahler - Symphony No.3
Orchestre National de Lille conducted by Alexandre Bloch
Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle, Lille, 3 April 2019

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Quant aux chœurs, ils n'ont pas d'autre choix que de se surpasser : dans le cinquième mouvement, les timbres clairs du Chœur maîtrisien de Wasquehal répondent joliment aux sopranos aériennes du Philharmonia Chorus.
Tristan Labouret,, 5 April 2019

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Mahler - Symphony No.2 'Resurrection'
Orchestre National de Lille conducted by Alexandre Bloch
Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle, Lille, 28 February 2019

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Solistes au verbe incarné, chœur déchirant, machine orchestrale en métamorphose, chef soucieux des équilibres, et surtout de l'intelligibilité du texte final l'expérience aux dimensions colossales a passé et révélé sa couleur et sa vibration humaine. Jusqu'au carillon ultime, de délivrance et de lévitation d'un magnétisme inoubliable.
Lucas Irom,, 1 March 2019