Handel – Messiah
Robert Porter Conductor
Brandenburg Festival Chorus
Robert Porter founded the Brandenburg Sinfonia in the early 1980s, the first of a group of orchestras under his artistic direction, which now also includes the Brandenburg Brass and Brandenburg Baroque Soloists. Playing regularly both in this country and abroad, one residency, at St Martin-in-the-Fields gave him the idea for a Choral Festival based around some of the most beautiful churches in London. Starting in 2010 with six concerts at St Martins, the Brandenburg Choral Festival is now the largest and most significant Choral Festival in the country. This year the Festival boasted more than 70 choirs in 67 concerts, covering the standard masterpieces of the choral repertoire along with jazz, barbershop and gospel, also making it one of the most varied and inclusive Choral Festivals!
The Brandenburg Festival Chorus draws its members from all of the choirs who have taken part in the Brandenburg Choral Festival over the years. From university a cappella ensembles and chamber choirs through to gospel choirs and large choral societies, the resulting chorus is a rich and experienced group.
The inaugural performance was during Festival 13 on Easter Sunday, when the BFC performed at St. Martin-in-the-Fields for BBC Radio 2’s Easter Glory service. The Chorus has also performed on the bandstand at Victoria Embankment Gardens, and taken part in recording carols for Will Todd’s CD Christmas in Blue.
Renowned for its work in the UK, the Brandenburg Sinfonia is also in great demand abroad and has, in recent years visited France, USA, Bermuda, the Channel Islands, Barbados, Cyprus, Malta and St Petersburg. The varied range of activities undertaken by the orchestra include a major concert series at St Martin-in-the- Fields and a major Classical Music cruise on the QE2. One of the recent highlights was an International Opera Gala conducted by Richard Bonynge in the presence of HRH Prince Charles.
A large number of artists of international standing have worked with the orchestra including Richard Bonynge, Yvonne Kenny, Emmanuel Hurwitz, Lesley Garrett, John Georgiadis, John Wallace, Emma Kirkby, James Bowman and Gordon Hunt. Its repertoire ranges from Bach to Lloyd Webber and its members give over one hundred performances of orchestral, chamber choral and operatic music during the year.