Patron: HRH The Prince of Wales
Chorus Master: Gavin Carr
Accompanist: Timothy End
Arts Council England
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    Walton - Belshazzar's Feast
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 75th Anniversary Concert

    The Philharmonia Chorus was very proud to take part in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's 75th Anniversary Concert on Tuesday 21 September at the Royal Albert Hall. The Chorus joined bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel in a performance of Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, which was conducted by the orchestra's Music Director, Vasily Petrenko. In the first half of the concert, Sheku Kanneh-Mason played Elgar's Cello Concerto. The concert was relayed live on BBC Radio 3, and can be heard again on BBC Sounds for 30 days.

    The Philharmonia Chorus has enjoyed a long and close association with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, having taken part in over 40 performances with them over the last 20 years alone. Our first concert together was on 28 September 1971, in a performance of Mahler's Second Symphony conducted by Rudolf Kempe that marked the opening of their Silver Jubilee season, so this performance of Belshazzar's Feast marked our 50th anniversary of music making with this wonderful orchestra, almost to the day.

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    Philharmonia Chorus recording of Carmina Burana selected as the best by BBC Radio 3's Record Review

    On Saturday 12 June on BBC Radio 3's Record Review, Jeremy Summerly examined all the available recordings of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, and selected the Chorus's 1979 EMI recording with Arleen Auger, John van Kesteren, Jonathan Summers and the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti as the best. The Chorus Master was Norbert Balatsch.

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    Claire Barnett-Jones wins BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2021 Audience Prize

    Mezzo-soprano Claire Barnett-Jones has won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2021 Audience Prize at the Main Prize Final broadcast live on BBC4 on Saturday 19 June. She previously won Round 4. Claire is a member of the Philharmonia Chorus Professional Singer Scheme, and has appeared regularly in the Chorus since joining in 2011. She was the mezzo-soprano soloist in a performance of Handel's Messiah given by the Philharmonia Chorus in the Palau de la Música in Valencia in December 2015, when all soloists were drawn from the Chorus.

    Claire joined Georgian mezzo-soprano Natalia Kutateladze, South Korean baritone Gihoon Kim, South African soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha, and Austrian soprano Christina Ganch in the Main Prize final, which was broadcast live on Saturday 19 June on BBC4 at 19.30.

    The whole of Round 4 and the Main Prize final can now be seen on the BBC iPlayer.

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    Alexandria Wreggelsworth at La Fenice

    Soprano Alexandria Wreggelsworth took part in a streamed performance of opera scenes live from the stage of La Fenice, Venice, at 18.00 on Wednesday 26 May. Alexandria is a member of the Philharmonia Chorus Student Scheme, and has taken part in many performances with the Chorus over the past five years.

    Alexandria sang Mimi and Tatyana in scenes from La Bohème and Eugene Onegin respectively. The whole performance is available on You Tube.

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    Andrew Greenwood

    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.

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    Messiah at Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall

    The Philharmonia Chorus will back in the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 15 December 2021 at full strength with two seasonal performances of Handel's Messiah. The Chorus will be join soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha, alto Claire Barnett-Jones, tenor Thomas Atkins, and bass Simon Shibambu. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by Sian Edwards.

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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

2:00pm Wednesday 15 December 2021

Handel - Messiah

Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha - soprano
Claire Barnett-Jones - alto
Thomas Atkins - tenor
Simon Shibambu - bass

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Sian Edwards

Royal Albert Hall, London

7:00pm Wednesday 15 December 2021

Handel - Messiah

Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha - soprano
Claire Barnett-Jones - alto
Thomas Atkins - tenor
Simon Shibambu - bass

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Sian Edwards

Royal Albert Hall, London

7:30pm Thursday 7 April 2022

Elgar - The Dream of Gerontius

Christine Rice - mezzo-soprano
Ed Lyon - tenor
Roderick Williams - baritone

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Vasily Petrenko

Royal Albert Hall, London

5:30pm Thursday 26 May 2022

Britten - War Requiem

Andrew Staples - tenor
Dietrich Henschel - baritone

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Vasily Petrenko

Royal Albert Hall, London

3:00pm Sunday 23 October 2022

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

Philharmonia Chorus
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

7:30pm Thursday 30 March 2023

Mahler - Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Elizabeth Watts - soprano
Jennifer Johnston - mezzo-soprano

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Vasily Petrenko

Royal Albert Hall, London

7:30pm Thursday 27 April 2023

Mahler - Symphony No.3

Hanna Hipp - mezzo-soprano

Tiffin Boys' Choir

Philharmonia Chorus
Chorus Master - Gavin Carr

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Vasily Petrenko

Royal Albert Hall, London

Recent Reviews

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Walton - Belshazzar's Feast
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko
Royal Albert Hall, London


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The Philharmonia Chorus sounded as if they were relishing every note.
Jessica Duchen, The Arts Desk, 22 September 2021

The Philharmonia Chorus, at full strength, seemed thoroughly delighted, whether they were impersonating wailing Hebrews or decadent Babylonians.
Neil Fisher, The Times, 22 September 2021

This concert was so gloriously enjoyable, it is hard to know where to begin. Gavin Carr is an admirable chorusmaster and Osbert Sitwell's words (selected from the Books of Daniel, Psalms and Revelation) were beautifully articulated.
Jack Buckley, Seen and Heard International, 23 September 2021

The Philharmonia Chorus mustered 112. Apparently, Petrenko felt they needed some help at the Royal Albert Hall, so microphones were dotted across the platform. The effect was startling, with the voices disconcertingly pushed right to the front of the sound. While this undoubtedly enhanced the choir, it also made them very exposed. There was nowhere to hide, so it's to their credit that they sang so well, telling of the downfall of Babylon with exciting verve and crystal-clear diction.
Stephen Pritchard, The Observer, 25 September 2021

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Handel - Messiah
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Eduardo Strausser
Royal Albert Hall, London


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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

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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, 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

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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, 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

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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, Classiquenews.com, 21 November 2019