Messiah by Candlelight
Handel – Messiah
Belmont Ensemble of London
English Chamber Choir
Elizabeth Weisberg Soprano
Ciara Hendrick Mezzo-Soprano
Peter Davoren Tenor
Philip Tebb Bass
Peter G Dyson Conductor
The English Chamber Choir was formed in 1972, following a rehearsal of the London Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Chorus. David Measham, then principal violinist with the Orchestra, was just embarking on a second career as a conductor and one of his first appointments was as conductor of the Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra, in succession to its founder, Andrew (now Sir Andrew) Davis. He was also to conduct some of the LSO’s more ‘commercial’ engagements. In both cases, he was soon to need a choir, and he found an enthusiastic response from singers of the LSC who were keen to explore both the chamber choir repertoire and the opportunities to perform ‘symphonic rock’, then in its heyday.
The Choir’s earliest engagements included Haydn’s Nelson Mass , Faure’s Requiem and Kodaly’s Laudes Organi with Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra, and live performances at the Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park , of the rock-opera Tommy with The Who. These were followed by Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth with the LSO at the Royal Festival Hall. So the Choir established early on in its existence its reputation for variety and new challenges – and today it is still performing classical masterpieces alongside popular new titles. Over the years the Choir has performed in all the major concert halls in London (South Bank, Barbican, St John’s Smith Square, Cadogan Hall, Royal Albert Hall), in St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and many other Churches known for their musical traditions. It has sung abroad in Brussels , Antwerp , Basle, Zurich , Athens and Plovdiv (Bulgaria), and has visited many cities, towns and villages throughout the UK.
Peter G Dyson is an outstanding English Conductor, described by The Times as a “Baroque specialist” and by the London Evening Standard as “An Internationally respected conductor”.
A graduate of the highly acclaimed Advanced Conducting Course at the Royal Academy of Music, Peter studied with Colin Metters, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Simon Rattle, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Roger Norrington, Claus Peter Flor, George Hurst, Jorma Panula and the pedagogue Ilya Musin from St Petersburg Conservatory. Peter was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2000, an honour reserved for the Conservatoires most eminent graduates.
He has conducted the New Queens Hall Orchestra in London, the Latvian, Guatemalan and Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestras, the Filharmonie Ceske Budjedovice, Filharmonie Hradek Kralove and South Bohemian Chamber Orchestra (Czech Republic). He has recently made two trips to Australia to conduct The Chamber Orchestra at St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne.
He has worked with the BBC Singers (in concert for BBC Radio 3), the Philharmonia Chorus, English Chamber Choir, Tallis Chamber Choir, Joyful Company of Singers, New London Singers, St Martin-in-the-Fields Choir and Choral Scholars, St Martin’s Voices, Codina Singers, Northampton Bach Choir, Chameleon Arts Chorus, Sevenoaks Philharmonic Choir, Vox Cordis and Barts Chamber Choir.
He has conducted at London’s premier venues including St Martin-in-the-Fields, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, St John’s Smith Square, St James’s Piccadilly, The Banqueting House, and has broadcast on BBC Radio and TV, ITV, Channel 4 TV, Channel Five TV and Classic FM.
The Belmont Ensemble of London celebrates its 25th Birthday in 2016.
The Orchestra was founded by its Musical Director, Peter G Dyson in 1991, it is now one of the busiest and finest chamber orchestras in the capital.
The Belmont Ensemble was the pioneering force in establishing the famous series of baroque concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields in the early 1990s. They have now given over 650 concerts at the famous Trafalgar Square church attracting large international audiences to their regular concerts.
Now a seasoned fixture on the London musical scene, they have also performed regularly at London’s Southbank Centre and St James’s Church, Piccadilly, as well as appearing at Festivals around the UK. The orchestra receives no subsidies or sponsorship, relying purely on enterprising programming and box office receipts.