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.
On Thursday April 7, the Philharmonia Chorus took part in a performance of Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius at the Royal Albert Hall, London. The Chorus was joined by mezzo-soprano Kai Rüütel, tenor Ed Lyon, and baritone Derek Welton. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by Vasily Petrenko.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.