BELFAST PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY © 2017

Registered Charity NIC103443

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ABOUT US

HISTORY

BELFAST PHILHARMONIC CHOIR (est. 1874)

The Belfast Philharmonic Choir (affectionately known as "The Phil") led by music director Stephen Doughty, is Northern Ireland's only symphonic choir and the 2014/15 season saw us celebrating our 140th anniversary with a specially commissioned piece performed on May 30th, 2015 in the Ulster Hall, Belfast.

 

The 120+ strong choir performs at least four programmes per year, many alongside the Ulster Orchestra, including performances of Handel's Messiah every Christmas - a tradition that goes back as far as 1886!

1874

1886

1950s

2014

Our repertoire is varied and includes many major works - Mendelssohn's Elijah and Dream of Gerontius, Mozart Requiem, Brahms' German Requiem, works by Bach, Beethoven, Rossini, Bruckner and Karl Jenkins to name but a few, not forgetting our annual performances of Handel's Messiah.

 

Apart from the usual choral fare, we have recently worked in collaboration with the Belfast Film Festival and the Ulster Orchestra to perform the music from Star Wars and Patrick Doyle music as heard in the films of Sir Kenneth Branagh.   Next season sees us join forces with the Ulster Orchestra once again to bring you favourite tunes from the musicals.

 

Belfast Philharmonic Choir also brings you modern classical music.  In our 2017-18 season we will be giving European premières of two works, Stuart Scott's Requiem Brevis in November, and, in May, Christopher Marshall's Earthsong, the latter with our Phil Kids Junior Choir.

 

In 2015 we performed the world première of James Whitbourn's The Seven Heavens, written especially for us to commemorate our 140th anniversary.  In 2012 we sang in another world première - Titanic Requiem, a commemoration of those lost on the Titanic.  We have also accompanied Kathryn Jenkins at the Odyssey Arena and sung with Ennio Morriconi and his orchestra for Belfast Festival at Queens.

 

Belfast Philharmonic Society was founded in September 1874 by the amalgamation of The Classical Harmonists (est. 1851) and Belfast Music Society (est. 1872).

 

This was seen as a natural progression, bringing choir and instrumentalists together into one society.

Belfast Philharmonic Society gives its first performance of Handel's Messiah in December 1886.

The Philharmonic Orchestra is disbanded and the Society continues as a choral society.

140th Anniversary Season got underway in September 2014.  The season culminated in a Gala

Concert in the Ulster Hall on 30th May, 2015 where Belfast Philharmonic Choir gave the world première of

James Whitbourn's The Seven Heavens (listen here)

1950s

- 1966

The Philharmonic Orchestra replaced by the City of Belfast Orchestra.  

The BBC creates the BBC Northern Ireland Light Orchestra but this is shortlived.

BBC Northern Ireland Orchestra forms the basis of the new Ulster Orchestra.

 

THINKING OF JOINING US?

If you are thinking of joining a choir, come along to one of our concerts and see us in action.  

 

Belfast Philharmonic Choir is always on the look out for new Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Basses and we recruit at the start of each season in September.  It may also be possible to join in January, concert schedule permitting.

 

Our next Open Rehearsal is on Wednesday 6th September 2017 where prospective new members can join us for the evening and get a taste of what being in the Phil is all about.  

 

If you enjoy the experience, continue to come along and we will arrange a short audition for you.

Soon you could be singing with us on stage in the Ulster Hall.

 

We meet at 7.30 pm each Wednesday at St Bride's Parish Centre, Derryvolgie Avenue, Belfast and members travel from across Northern Ireland to be part of the Phil tradition.

REPERTOIRE

2015

Phil Kids/Phil Youth Choirs 10th Anniversary Season.

In August 2017 we undertook a highly successful three date concert tour performing Poulenc's Stabat Mater and Mozart's Grand Mass in C Minor to full houses in Opole Cathedral and Christ The King Cathedral in Katowice, Poland and The Philharmonia Concert Hall in Lviv, Ukraine.

 
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