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Handel Messiah by Candlelight

Thursday 28 November 2019

7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Programme 

Handel – Messiah 

English Chamber Choir
Belmont Ensemble of London

Elizabeth Weisberg Soprano
Ciara Hendrick Mezzo-Soprano
Ben Thapa Tenor
Philip Tebb Bass
Peter G Dyson Conductor

Performers

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 Spielberg’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. Guy Protheroe has been conductor of the Choir since 1972.

The Belmont Ensemble of London was founded by its Musical Director, Peter Dyson in 1991, winning instant critical acclaim.  It is now one of the busiest and finest chamber orchestras in the capital. They have now given over 700 concerts at the famous Trafalgar Square Church where they are firmly established as the most popular of the principal orchestras, attracting large international audiences to their fortnightly concerts.  A recent highlight was a concert given in the presence of HRH Princess Alexandra.

The Orchestra was originally established to enable exceptional music graduates the opportunity to bridge the gap between leaving conservatoire and finding full-time employment, within a professional environment. Now a seasoned fixture on the London musical scene, the orchestra receives no subsidies or sponsorship, relying purely on enterprising programming and box office receipts. In 1996 the Ensemble made their acclaimed debut at the Purcell Room, and in 1998 made their sold-out debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The Orchestra has appeared at The Banqueting House in Whitehall, St Clement Dane’s Church, St Paul’s Church Covent Garden, The Blackheath Halls and they have established an ongoing concert series at St James’s Church, Piccadilly.

As well as performing in the capital, the Ensemble has appeared at numerous Festivals and Music Societies around the country, from Somerset to Sussex, Ludlow to Northampton as well as a recent concert in Chelmsford Cathedral. Belmont has close links with Classic FM, which has included giving the stations first ever Christmas Day Concert, since then Classic FM has broadcast many Belmont Ensemble concerts live from St Martin-in-the-Fields.

In 1994 The Orchestra recorded Walton’s Façade, and other works incorporating the poetry of John Betjeman and Roald Dahl, narrated by Benjamin Luxon CBE. This received critical acclaim in the USA “The orchestra’s playing is light, playful and precise”. Belmont Recordings was quickly established, releasing more CDs including Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Mozart’s two Sinfonia Concertante.

The Ensemble also appeared in a Channel 4 TV documentary, as well as the recent Channel Five TV series about St Martin-in-the-Fields.

The Belmont Ensemble is a highly flexible group with a dedicated core of string players for baroque music; it can adapt to encompass forces for large romantic concertos and choral works, to contemporary commissions.

Belmont Ensemble members, past and present, can be found playing in all of the leading British orchestras including The Philharmonia, LPO, LSO and RPO, CBSO, Britten Sinfonia, English Concert and OAE and well as The Royal Opera House and English National Opera Orchestras.

www.belmont-ensemble.com

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”.

Founder, Musical Director, and Manager of The Belmont Ensemble of London, it is his enterprise and vision that has seen the orchestra perform more than 700 concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields, more than any other orchestra in the history of the famous Church.  A recent highlight was a concert given in the presence of HRH Princess Alexandra.

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, and the pedagogue Ilya Musin from St Petersburg Conservatory.  Peter was elected as 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, including a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3;  He has appeared regularly with the Latvian Philharmonic Orchestra in Riga, the Guatemala National Symphony Orchestra in Guatemala City, the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra in Skopje, the Filharmonie Ceske Budjedovice, Filharmonie Hradek Kralove and South Bohemian Chamber Orchestra (Czech Republic).

In 2013 and 2015 Peter travelled to Australia as Guest Conductor with The Chamber Orchestra at St Paul’s (Cathedral) performing at the Melbourne Recital Centre. He has been invited to return to conduct in Melbourne in 2018.

A former choral scholar, has conducted the BBC Singers in concert for BBC Radio 3, and has worked with the Philharmonia Chorus, the English Chamber Choir, the Tallis Chamber Choir, the Joyful Company of Singers, the New London Singers, St Martin-in-the-Fields Choir and Choral Scholars, St Martin’s Voices, the Codina Singers, the Northampton Bach Choir, the 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.

Dates, Times & Book

Thu 28 Nov 7:30 PM £36/£30/£25/£18/£10 Book

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