Handel – Messiah
Belmont Ensemble of London
English Chamber Choir
Elizabeth Weisberg Soprano
Cathy Bell Mezzo Soprano
Graham Neal Tenor
James Gower Bass
Peter G Dyson Conductor
Elizabeth Weisberg received her B.A. in Music from Stanford University and graduated in 2004 from the Royal Academy of Music where she received the Dip.RAM, the Academy’s highest award for performance, and the Clifton Singing Prize for her final recital. Elizabeth has also been educated at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies. She learns with Elizabeth Ritchie and Ashley Stafford. Recent engagements include a tour of Charpentier David et Jonathasand Schütz Musikalisches Exequien with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, MozartCh’io mi scordi di te? with Pinnock, HandelGloria in St. John’s, Smith Square, and Bach B Minor Mass in Manchester Cathedral. Elizabeth performs regularly with such ensembles as European Voices, Choir of the Enlightenment, English Voices, The Saraband Consort and Dramma Per Musica.
Ciara Hendrik studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, with piano as a second study, graduating with distinction and a finalist of the Gold Medal. In 2007 she joined the opera studio of L’Opéra National du Rhin (Les Jenues Voix du Rhin) and was a member of the ENO Opera Works programme. Ciara now studies with Jennifer Dakin. During her time in France, Ciara honed her dramatic skills, working intensively with actors and directors including Yves Lenoir, Lionel Parlier and Matthew Jocelyn. As a recitalist, Ciara works frequently with Baroque ensembles, including La Nuova Musica, The Early Opera Company, L’Avventura London, the Solomon consort and The Musicke Companye.
The English Chamber Choir is one of the best known and busiest groups of its size based in London. It prides itself on the breadth of its repertoire and the diversity of its engagements. Based in the City, local appearances have included performances of music by John Tavener in St Paul’s Cathedral and Tallis’ 40-part motet Spem in Alium at the Mansion House. It has sung in all the main halls in the Southbank Centre, at the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican, St John’s Smith Square, and Cadogan Hall. It currently appears several times a year with the Belmont Ensemble at St Martin-in-the-Fields and presents its own recital programmes in several other London venues.
Further afield recent concerts have included the Barber Institute in Birmingham, Norwich and Rochester Cathedrals, and Hertford College Oxford, while in Europe the Choir has made several visits to Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece and Switzerland.
While the Choir’s live performances are predominantly classical, its recording credits cover an equally diverse selection of more commercial productions. It has featured on iconic film soundtracks such as Ridley Scott’s 1492, Conquest of Paradise with Vangelis, television titles include Steven Speilberg’s Band of Brothers, and numerous albums including the Era series with French composer Eric Levi which have sold many millions of copies in Europe and South America.
In May 2009 the Choir appeared at Hampton Court Palace singing The Six Wives of Henry VIII with Rick Wakeman, and a few weeks later accompanied Rick in his piano and orchestra programme P’n’O at Cadogan Hall.
The Belmont Ensemble of Londoncelebrates 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.
“One of the UK’s most exciting orchestras” Classic FM
“The band played with gusto… a very good chamber group” The Independent
“Transparency of articulation under their detailed direction of Peter G Dyson” The Strad
“Quite delightful, wholly witty and wonderfully rhythmic, the ensembles’ playing is light playful and precise” American Record Guide
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.