Introducing… the Philharmonia Voices

Philharmonia Voices

Philharmonia Voices sing Berlioz requiem at The Royal Festival Hall

On October 30th, The Cool Web will be sung by a 24 voice choir, hand-picked for this production, from Philharmonia Voices.

They will be jointed by Edward Grint, Soloist, and The Melody Makers of Bath Abbey.

Philharmonia Voices was formed by Aidan Oliver in 2004 to collaborate with the Philharmonia Orchestra on a huge range of repertoire. Since then the choir has established itself as one of the most exciting professional choruses in London, attracting consistently high praise from the critics for its performances with conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Lorin Maazel, Richard Hickox and John Wilson.

Notable triumphs have included performances of 20th-century masterpieces such as Stravinsky’s Oedipus rex and Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder (subsequently released as a critically lauded live recording), while major operatic milestones have included the European première of Shostakovich’s Orango and an acclaimed performance of Dallapiccola’s neglected Il prigioniero. At the lighter end of the repertoire, performances of Singin’ in the Rain, Yeomen of the Guard and Die Fledermaus have led to a burgeoning relationship with John Wilson, while Philharmonia Voices has also been central to the orchestra’s groundbreaking multi-media projects, including the award-winning touring installation ‘Universe of Sound’ and the first-ever screenings of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey with live soundtrack.

 Under their director Aidan Oliver, Philharmonia Voices has also performed independently in festivals including Easter at King’s (King’s College Cambridge), the Roman River Festival (Essex), and the Tonbridge Arts Festival, presenting imaginatively themed programmes featuring actors including Simon Callow, Tim Pigott-Smith and Timothy West.

Their reviews have been of one voice:’ stunning’, ‘outstanding,”rapturous’ ..

.magnificently pungent choral effects that were virtuosically realised here by the young Philharmonia Voices.” – The Times on Graffiti

“The two choral interjections were stunning. A half-hearted semi-staging seemed unnecessary: Dallapiccola’s music and the singers said it all.” – The Telegraph on Il Prigioniero

“…electrifying choral singing” – The Guardian on Gurrelieder

Philharmonia Voices created a mirage of intoxicating sound.” – The Daily Telegraph on Death in Venice Recordings

Aidan Oliver

Aidan Oliver

Aidan Oliver pursues a diverse career at the heart of London’s musical life, working variously as conductor, chorus master and music staff with organisations including the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, and Westminster Abbey. A much sought-after choral conductor, he is increasingly active in the fields of opera and orchestral conducting.

For the Philharmonia Orchestra he directs Philharmonia Voices, an elite professional chorus which he founded and which collaborates with the orchestra on many of its most high-profile projects. Working particularly closely with the orchestra’s Principal Conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Aidan has also collaborated with conductors including Ashkenazy, Maazel, Schiff, Dohnanyi and John Wilson. Aidan has worked as assistant conductor to Salonen on tours of Europe and the USA.

For the Royal Opera House, Aidan has worked as music staff on numerous productions, most recently as Assistant Conductor on Puccini Tosca, and as off-stage conductor and organist on productions including Peter Grimes, Il Trittico, Les Troyens and Robert le diable. For English National Opera, Aidan has prepared the Chorus for an acclaimed 2012 Proms performance of Peter Grimes, as well as productions of Fidelio and The Twilight of the Gods.

Aidan is the Associate Conductor of the St Endellion Summer Festival, where he has conducted performances ranging from Wagner Wesendonck Lieder with Rachel Nicholls (soprano) and Stravinsky L’Histoire du soldat with Rory Kinnear (narrator) to Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem and Poulenc Gloria in Truro Cathedral. The Festival’s international status was established by Richard Hickox, whom Aidan assisted on numerous Chandos recordings and concert performances.

Aidan is one of the UK’s most respected choral conductors and choir trainers. He is Director of Music at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, where the organist is Thomas Trotter and services include many high-profile occasions connected with Parliament. He has worked regularly with groups including the BBC Symphony Chorus, Exaudi, the New London Chamber Choir, and the BBC Singers, who awarded him one of their inaugural Conducting Fellowships. He is also the Musical Director of Dulwich Choral Society.

Aidan Oliver began his musical career as a chorister at Westminster Cathedral, later studying at Eton College and at King’s College Cambridge. After graduating with a double First in Classics, he pursued further studies at Harvard University (as a Kennedy Scholar), the National Opera Studio and King’s College London. He was the recipient of a Churchill Fellowship to study sacred choral music in Russia.

This is a brilliant young choir, like our soloist, Edward Grint,  perfect for this oratorio, which, based on the work of a nineteen-year-old Robert Graves, and written by a young composer, is fresh, passionate, and  electrifying.

Don’t miss it.



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