The Philharmonia Chorus is delighted to have been invited to help celebrate the 75th Birthday of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea. This iconic Grade One listed building was designed by Erich Mendelsohn, the distinguished German modernist architect. Carmina Burana was composed in the same year, so with a German conductor, Stefan Bevier, what better way to mark two anniversaries than by this truly German event.
The Chorus performed the chamber version for two pianos and percussion prepared by Orff's disciple Wilhelm Killmayer in 1956 and authorized by Orff himself. The percussion is the same as in the full orchestral version, with 20 percussion instruments, on this occasion being played by percussionists from the Royal College of Music.
The Chorus recorded the choral music for the third series of the BBC Arthurian fantasy series Merlin in two sessions, one in August and the second in November. Composer Rob Lane and chorus master Deborah Miles-Johnson presided over the sessions, which took place at The Angel Studios, Islington, London. The new series of Merlin was screened on BBC1 on Saturday evenings from September to December 2010.
The Philharmonia Chorus has appointed Stefan Bevier as its Chorus Master.
Stefan Bevier originally studied singing and double bass at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, and obtained a scholarship from the Herbert von Karajan Foundation. He was a member of the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as well as a regular deputy for them under Herbert von Karajan. Stefan studied singing with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Schuch-Tovini and Aribert Reimann, and conducting with the former Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, Sergiu Celibidache. He has worked closely with many conductors of international stature, including Herbert von Karajan, Eugen Jochum, Karl Böhm, Leonard Bernstein, Lorin Maazel, Colin Davis, Ricardo Muti, Claudio Abbado and Sir Simon Rattle.
He is the Chief Conductor of the Festival Orchestra Berlin, the Barock Orchester Berlin, and the founder and conductor of the European Vocal Soloists. He also works internationally as an orchestral and choral conductor of various ensembles, including the Russian National Orchestra of Moscow, the Israel Sinfonietta, Ricordanza Soloists of Wrocław, Festival Orchestra Wrocław, the Wrocław Orkiestra Kameralna Leopoldinum, and the European Bach Players. He is active in giving master classes, singing lessons and running conducting courses and he provides musical instruments from his extensive private collection to young musicians. He also provides financial sponsorship for many charitable organizations.
Stefan started working with the Philharmonia Chorus in 1999, and became Associate Chorus Master in 2004, and Principal Guest Chorus Master in 2008. He was appointed Chorus Master in April 2010. He has prepared the Chorus for many concerts, including Parsifal with Sir Simon Rattle and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in 2000, and Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Lorin Maazel in June 2008. In 2010 he prepared the Chorus for Mahler's Second Symphony with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Eliahu Inbal, and for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Ilan Volkov.
On Friday, 9 April at 7.30pm, the Philharmonia Chorus performed Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in the Royal Festival Hall, London, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under the exciting young conductor, Ilan Volkov. This concert completed its cycle of Beethoven symphonies. Two days later, on Sunday 11 April, the concert was repeated in the Auditorio Miguel Delibes, Valladolid, Spain. The London performance was recorded by BBC Radio 3 for future broadcast.
The Philharmonia Chorus performed the St John's Passion by James MacMillan in King's College, Cambridge, with Mark Stone (baritone), the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, and the BBC Concert Orchestra was conducted by Stephen Cleobury in the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge on Friday, 2 April, Good Friday. James MacMillan's St John Passion is a large scale, dramatic presentation of the passion story. It is scored for two choruses - a Narrator Chorus (sung by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge), and Large Chorus (Philharmonia Chorus). The Chorus was prepared by Nicholas Chalmers. This is the first time the Chorus has worked with Nicholas, who is Assistant Chorus Master at English National Opera. King's College Cambridge was the perfect setting for the work, this being the culmination of this year's Easter at King's Festival in which MacMillan's music featured strongly. The performance was be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, the work's first broadcast performance.
The Philharmonia Chorus has launched its Professional Singers Scheme. Applications were invited from singers in the first 10 years of their careers, and those successful at audition will be singing as members of the Chorus in concerts later this year. Auditions were held January 13-15 at the Music Studios in Marylebone Lane, London, and singers were heard by chorus masters Stefan Bevier and Deborah Miles-Johnson, with chorus accompanist Steven Rose.