On Tuesday November 12 1957 the Philharmonia Chorus gave its very first performance. The occasion was the culmination of a Beethoven cycle with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Otto Klemperer in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
The Chorus marked 60 years of glorious music making on Sunday 5 November at the Royal Festival Hall in a performance of William Walton's spectacular oratorio Belshazzar's Feast, with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner. The concert was recorded by BBC Radio 3 and transmitted on 28 November.
The Philharmonia Chorus made its debut with the Orchestre National de Lille on Friday September 22 in the Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle in Lille with a performance of Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé conducted by the orchestra's principal conductor Alexandre Bloch. This was the opening concert in the orchestra's 2017-18 season.
The concert was repeated on Saturday 23 September, when it was recorded by Mezzo TV for future transmission.
This summer the Philharmonia Chorus made its first appearance at the Rheingau Music Festival in two concerts of English music.
On August 31, the Chorus was accompanied by organist Thomas Frank in a programme of music from the English Musical Renaissance, 1850 - 1930, in the Marktkirche in Wiesbaden. Works by Stanford, Parry, Wood, Elgar and Vaughan Williams and included in the programme, conducted by Stefan Bevier. The concert was recorded by Deutschlandfunk for future transmission.
Two days later on 2 September, the Chorus took part in the final concert of the 2017 Rheingau Music Festival, a performance of Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius in the Kloster Eberbach, with mezzo-soprano Elisabeth DeShong, tenor Brenden Gunnell and baritone Markus Eiche. The Symphoniker Hamburg conducted by Paul McCreesh.
On Saturday 3 June at the Royal Festival Hall, London, the Philharmonia Chorus took part in a Grand Opera Gala with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Stefan Bevier, Chorus Master of the Philharmonia Chorus, with soprano Natasha Jouhl, tenor Peter Auty and baritone David Kemster.
The Chorus performed masterpieces from the world of opera, including Wach Auf! from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Entry of the Guests from Tannhäuser, the Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore, the Grand March from Aida and the Easter Hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana.
We are immensely saddened to hear of the death of the Chorus's President, Sir Jeffrey Tate. Sir Jeffrey sang as a member of the Philharmonia Chorus when he was a student in London in the 1960s. He had a long and distinguished career as both a symphonic and opera conductor, appearing in all the major opera houses of the world. Earlier this year, in the opening festival of Hamburg's new Elbphilharmonie, we were honoured to be conducted by Sir Jeffrey in a performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, a work he had first encountered in the Chorus under the baton of Otto Klemperer. The Philharmonia Chorus has lost its President, and a great friend.