THE PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA
THE CHOIR OF ST GEORGE’S CHAPEL, WINDSOR
(photo credit: Richard Haughton)
The Philharmonia Orchestra is one of the world’s great orchestras. Acknowledged as the UK’s foremost musical pioneer, with an extraordinary recording legacy, the Philharmonia leads the field for its quality of playing, and for its innovative approach to audience development, residencies, music education and the use of new technologies in reaching a global audience. Together with its relationships with the world’s most sought-after artists, most importantly its Principal Conductor Christoph von DohnÃ¡nyi, the Philharmonia Orchestra is at the heart of British musical life.
Today, the Philharmonia has the greatest claim of any orchestra to be the UK’s National Orchestra. It is committed to presenting the same quality, live music-making in venues throughout the country as it brings to London and the great concert halls of the world. In 2005/06 the Orchestra is performing more than 200 concerts, as well as presenting chamber performances by the Soloists of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and recording scores for films, CDs and computer games. 2005 marked not only the Orchestra’s 60th Anniversary, but also the 10th Anniversary of its much admired UK and International Residency Programme, which began in 1995 with the launch of its residencies at the Bedford Corn Exchange and Londonâ€™s South Bank Centre. During 2005/06 the Orchestra celebrates its ninth year as Resident Orchestra of De Montfort Hall in Leicester, its sixth year as Orchestra in Partnership at the Anvil in Basingstoke and the third year of its relationship in Bristol with Colston Hall, St George’s Bristol and Watershed. The Orchestraâ€™s extensive touring schedule this season also includes appearances at its prestigious European residency venues, the Theatre du ChÃ¢telet in Paris and the Concertgebouw in Bruges, as well as at more than twenty of the finest international concert halls.
Throughout its 60 year history, the Philharmonia Orchestra has been committed to finding new ways to bring its top quality live performance to audiences worldwide, and to using new technologies to achieve this. Many millions of people since 1945 have enjoyed their first experience of classical music through a Philharmonia recording, and in 2006 audiences can engage with the Orchestra through webcasts, podcasts, downloads, computer games and film scores as well as through its unique interactive music education website launched in 2005, The Sound Exchange (www.philharmonia.co.uk/thesoundexchange). In 2005 the Philharmonia became the first ever classical music organisation to be shortlisted for a BT Digital Music Award, and in the same year the Orchestra presented both the first ever fully interactive webcast and the first podcast by a UK orchestra. In September 2005 computer games with Philharmonia scores were at No. 1 and No. 2 in the national charts, while the Orchestra’s scores for the last two Harry Potter computer games have both been nominated for BAFTA Awards. CD recording and live broadcasting both also continue to play a significant part in the Orchestraâ€™s activities: since 2003 the Philharmonia has enjoyed a major partnership with Classic FM, as The Classic FM Orchestra on Tour, as well as continuing to broadcast on BBC Radio 3
Christopher Warren-Green has held the position of Music Director of the London Chamber Orchestra since 1988. In 1998 he became Principal Guest Conductor of the Nordic Chamber Orchestra taking over as Chief Conductor from from 2001 until 2005 and from 1998 to 2001 was Chief Conductor of the Joenkoeping Sinfonietta. In October 2004 he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Camerata Resident Orchestra of the Megaron Athens.
In Great Britain he conducts the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Philharmonic. In North America, Mr Warren-Green made his debut with the National Symphony Washington D.C. and has conducted the St. Louis, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Vancouver and Victoria Symphony Orchestras. He has also established strong ties with the Seattle Symphony and returns there on a regular basis. Last season he made debuts with the NHK Symphony Orchestra touring Japan. Next season, he will be returning to Minnesota, Seattle and the NHK Symphony of Japan.
In 2005 on the personal invitation of HRH The Prince of Wales, Mr Warren-Green was honoured to arrange the music and conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra for the Service of Dedication and Prayer, celebrating the marriage of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
Since 1980 he has conducted many concerts at Buckingham Palace, Highgrove House and St. James’ Palace and accompanied such artists as Radu Lupo, Maxim Vengarov, Ivo Pogarelich and Maria Joao Pires in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales.
Christopher Warren-Green has recorded extensively for BMG, EMI, Philips, Virgin and Chandos and most recently for Deutsche Grammophon.
Originally a violinist, as a soloist he made his debut in the Berlin Philharmonie and appeared with such conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Neville Marriner, Michael Tilson Thomas, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Leonard Slatkin. He has made several concerto recordings.
Mr. Warren-Green is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and was a professor there for eight years.
The Choir of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle has been in existence since the year 1348, and, with the exception of the Commonwealth period (1649-60), has sung services in the Chapel continuously since then. The choir is made up of 23 boy choristers, 5 of whom are probationers (or training choristers) and 12 Lay Clerks, who provide the adult voices of alto, tenor and bass. The Choir still sings daily during term-time; members of the public are always welcome to attend.
The Choir also sings regularly in the presence of the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. Significant recent events have included the marriage of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones, the Service of Prayer and Dedication on the marriage of HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. This year will see a number of events in celebration of HM The Queen’s 80th birthday.
Outside Windsor the Choir has performed in many concerts, recordings, and on tour, in the USA, Norway, France, Holland, Poland, Spain and Switzerland, and collaborating with ensembles such as the London Handel Orchestra, the Southbank Sinfonia and the London Mozart Players. The Choir has also embarked on a series of recordings with the Naxos label, for which it is grateful for financial assistance from the Windsor Festival and Honda. These include a disc of choral music by Gustav Holst, and a recording of anthems by Sir William Harris, onetime Organist of St George’s. The Choir will also be developing a number of recordings on the Delphian label, a new and exciting recording company based in Edinburgh.
The Choir’s Director of Music, Timothy Byram-Wigfield, received his formative training as a chorister at King’s College, Cambridge. Following study at the Royal College of Music as organist, pianist and violist, he won an organ scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford, before being appointed Sub Organist of Winchester Cathedral. During this time he studied the organ with Richard Popplewell and David Sanger, and was a finalist in the Royal College of Organistâ€™s Performer of the Year competition.
In 1991 he was appointed as the first full-time Master of the Music at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh, and is widely credited with the regeneration of its Choir, especially during the Edinburgh Festival. During this time he also trained the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus and toured widely as a recitalist. In 1999 he took up the newly-created post of Director of Music at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he combined his choral activities in the college with teaching and playing, before arriving in Windsor in January 2004.
As a solo organist he has won considerable acclaim for both public performances and a number of recordings: a recent disc of The Organs of Edinburgh was nominated in the instrumental category by Gramophone in 2000. November 2005 saw the release of a recording of Messiaen’s opulent Les Corps Glorieux, recorded on the organ of St George’s Chapel, on the Delphian label.
Born in Minsk, mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk graduated from the St Petersburg State Conservatoire and joined the Mariinsky Theatre’s Young Singers’ Academy in 1999.
Ms. Semenchuk’s competitive successes include “Hope Award” at International Obraztsova Competition, first prize at International Rimsky-Korsakov Competition, finalist in Placido Domingo Operalia Competition and finalist in Cardiff Singer of the World.
Operatic performances include La Forza del Destino (Preziosilla) and Pique Dame (Pauline) at Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Boris Godunov (Marina) at Monte-Carlo Opera and Eugene Onegin (Olga) with the Aix-en-Provence Festival conducted by Daniel Harding. Ms. Semenchuk has sung Carmen with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Dallas Opera, Theatro Lirico di Cagliari with Yves Abel, in Tokyo and Seoul with Maestro Chung and with Jose Cura in Warsaw.
With the Mariinsky Opera under Maestro Gergiev, Ekaterina Semenchuk has participated in international tours to Covent Garden, La Scala, Teatro Real Madrid, Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall and Washington Opera as well as Israel, China and many European countries. At the Mariinsky Theatre she has sung Carmen and productions of Nabucco (Fenena), Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Nicklausse), Dargomizhsky’s The Stone Guest (Laura), Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night (Hanna) and many others.
Ms. Semenchuk gave her debut recital at the Wigmore Hall and has toured in Europe, North America and Argentina with her accompanist, Larissa Gergieva. In April 2005 Ms Semenchuk sang in St George’s Chapel Windsor in the service celebrating the wedding of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. Her participation was a gift to the Royal couple from the Mariinsky Theatre. Ms. Semenchuk has secured future engagements at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Metropolitan Opera New York, Royal Opera House London. She will also give recitals with Larissa Gergieva and Mariinsky Singers in London, Lisbon, New York, Brussels and Paris. Ms. Semenchuk’s debut recording will be available in May 2006 on Harmonia Mundi.
Ekaterina Semenchuk appears courtesy of Harmonia Mundi France.
Gordon Hunt was born in London and studied with Terence MacDonagh. He appears throughout the world as soloist and conductor and plays with many renowned chamber ensembles. In addition he has a distinguished orchestral career, currently being principal oboe with the Philharmonia and London Chamber Orchestras. He has previously held the same post with the London Philharmonic. Regarded as one of the world’s leading oboists, he appears regularly as soloist with international orchestras and major conductors. Over more than three decades he has performed concertos and recitals on six continents. In April 2005 he was honoured to be invited to play the Adagio from Albinoni’s D minor oboe concerto in St George’s Chapel, Windsor at the Service of Dedication and Prayer, celebrating the marriage of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. Gordon Hunt has recorded extensively for Decca, EMI, BMG, Virgin and BIS, with music by composers ranging from Bach to Malcolm Arnold and Vagn Holmboe, including all of Mozart’s solo music, and an acclaimed version of the Richard Strauss concerto.