It is with great sadness that we have heard of the death of Andrew Greenwood at the age of 66. Andrew was Associate Chorus Master of the Philharmonia Chorus through the 1980s. He prepared the Chorus for stage appearances in Manon Lescaut in the opera house in Montepulciano in 1982, and for performances of Aida and La Gioconda in the Théâtre Antique in Orange in the summer of 1983. He worked regularly with the Chorus in this period, preparing over 80 performances, including Beethoven's Missa Solemnis conducted by Bernard Haitink, William Walton's 80th birthday concert when André Previn conducted Belshazzar's Feast, Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius conducted by Andrew Davis, Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex conducted by Seiji Ozawa, Mahler's Second Symphony conducted by Simon Rattle, and Verdi's Messa da Requiem conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli. He will be remembered with admiration and great affection by our singers.
His obituary in The Guardian is here.
Mahler with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Under the current national circumstances, it is no surprise that the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has announced that the planned performances of Mahler's Second and Third Symphonies with the Philharmonia Chorus at the Royal Albert Hall in March and April will not go ahead. We are delighted that the performances have been re-scheduled, and that the details will be announced shortly
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.
Messiah at Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall
The Philharmonia Chorus was back in the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 15 December with a seasonal performance of Handel's Messiah, and a socially distanced audience. The Chorus was joined by soprano Francesca Chiejina, mezzo-soprano Katie Bray, tenor Trystan Llŷr Griffiths, and bass-baritone Dingle Yandell. The photograph shows the Chorus in the Royal Albert Hall rehearsing with conductor Eduardo Strausser.
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.
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
Sarah Wegener - soprano
Jacquelyn Wagner - soprano
Regula Mühlemann - soprano
Jennifer Johnston - mezzo-soprano
Hilary Summers - alto
Vincent Wolfsteiner - tenor
Michael Nagy - baritone
Shenyang - bass
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr
Bournemouth Symphony Chorus
City of London Choir
The Temple Church Choir
Tiffin Boys' Choir
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Vasily Petrenko
Royal Albert Hall, London
Handel - Messiah
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Eduardo StrausserRoyal Albert Hall, London
The chorus were in bright, bouncy voice, crisp and very far from woolly in All we, like sheep
Neil Fisher - The Times, 16 December 2020
Berlioz - Grande Messe des Morts
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by John NelsonSt Paul's Cathedral, London - Erato DVD
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
Mahler - Symphony No.2 'Resurrection'
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Jakub HrůšaRoyal Festival Hall, London, 20 February 2020
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, www.bachtrack.com, 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
Handel - Messiah
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Christoph AltstaedtRoyal Albert Hall, London, 18 December 2019
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, broadwayworld.com, 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
Mahler - Symphony No.8
Orchestre National de Lille conducted by Alexandre BlochAuditorium du Nouveau Siècle, Lille, 20 November 2019
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, Classiquenews.com, 21 November 2019
Mahler - Symphony No.3
Orchestre National de Lille conducted by Alexandre BlochAuditorium du Nouveau Siècle, Lille, 3 April 2019
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, bachtrack.com, 5 April 2019