Sydney Philharmonia Choirs continues to present audiences with programs of imagination and scope, bringing together key choral works, contemporary gems and a new Australian commission in 2019.

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. Photo © John Feely

The season begins in February with An Evening with Brahms, led by acclaimed English choral conductor Simon Halsey. Dispensing with orchestra, the 120-strong Symphony Chorus of the SPC will perform a rarely heard piano four-hands arrangement of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, performed by pianists Claire Howard Race and Marlowe Fitzpatrick. Soprano Emma Pearson and baritone Sam Roberts-Smith open the evening with songs and duets by the same composer, also to piano accompaniment.

SPC’s young adult choir, VOX, explores the experience of childhood in March with Wonder, conducted by its Music Director Elizabeth Scott. In keeping with their commitment to new works, the program is an entirely contemporary one, featuring composers Nigel Westlake, Karl Jenkins, James MacMillan, John Rutter, Martin Wesley-Smith and Eric Whitacre, as well as arrangements of songs by Sting and Stevie Wonder.

Next year’s Easter Saturday concert promises to be even bigger and better than in previous years, which have seen the Symphony Chorus and Chamber Singers join forces with guest soloists and full orchestra for performances in the Sydney Opera House. Boosting the ranks even further, the Philharmonia will be joined by the Capella St Crucis of Hannover and its conductor Florian Lohmann for Bach and Mozart: In the Imagination of their Hearts. It opens with the world premiere of a newly commissioned acapella work from Antony Pitts, Artistic Director of The Song Company, called Mente cordis sui. It’s followed by Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Mass in C, featuring soloists soprano Sara Macliver, mezzo-soprano Anna Dowsley, countertenor Nicholas Tolputt, tenor Nicholas Jones and baritone David Greco.

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. Photo © John Feely

Then in May audiences will find plenty to enjoy in Music from the Movies, a program of choral highlights from films like Babe, Frozen, Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan and Amadeus. Elizabeth Scott returns to conduct the Festival Chorus.

SPC’s ChorusOZ sees hundreds of singers from across Australia congregate to make music, and next year they’ll be presenting highlights from Beethoven’s Mass in C and the choral finale from his Ninth Symphony. They’ll also perform Heil sei dem Tag from the composer’s only opera Fidelio.

 Witness the Chamber Singers in a new light when they take on the Great American Songbook in August, performed in an intimate cabaret-style concert conducted by Brett Weymark. They’ll be presenting these popular songs in jazz trio of piano, bass and reeds.

In September, Weymark presents one of the masterpieces of the choral repertoire, the Dvořák Requiem. Performed by the Festival Chorus, Sydney Youth Orchestra, and soloists soprano Taryn Fiebig, mezzo Fiona Campbell, tenor Andrew Goodwin and baritone David Greco, it’s a definite highlight of the season.

The season concludes with three performances of Handel’s Messiah conducted by Weymark, which brings together more than 500 singers from the Symphony Chorus, Chamber Singers, VOX and Christmas Choir. Soprano Celeste Lazarenko, countertenor Nichola Tolputt, tenor Jonathan Abernethy and bass-baritone Christopher Richardson join the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra for this SPC tradition.


Full season information

Limelight, Australia's Classical Music and Arts Magazine