Philharmonia Chorus - Re-instatement of The Original Name

Re-instatement of The Original Name

On 1 September 1977 the Chorus was able to take back its former name, Philharmonia Chorus, and later the same month gave two performances of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in Belgium with the similarly reinstated Philharmonia Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas.

These years saw the Chorus tour widely throughout Europe: several staged operas in the Roman Théâtre Antique d’Orange, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung in Paris and London to celebrate the UK’s entry into the EEC in 1973, Handel’s Judas Maccabeus with Sir Charles Mackerras at Teatro alla Scala Milan in 1980 followed a few years later by a second appearance at La Scala in Bach’s B minor Mass under Giulini. A 1979 recording of Mozart’s Requiem with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Giulini won the 1981 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance.

In the UK there were engagements with Riccardo Muti, Sir Georg Solti, Lovro von Matačić, Giuseppe Sinopoli (appointed Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1984 and with whom the Chorus appeared in Parma and Taormina), Kurt Sanderling (including the Chorus' second recording of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony), Sir Andrew Davis, Seiji Ozawa, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Bernard Haitink, Charles Dutoit, and in 1980 the Chorus's first appearance at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in a performance of Verdi’s Requiem at the Rudolf Kempe Memorial Concert. A second appearance in the same House six years later in Britten’s War Requiem with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle was a Memorial Concert for Sir Peter Pears. These years also saw the Chorus appearing regularly in the UK outside London with notable visits to Cardiff, Brighton, Nottingham, Derby, Cheltenham, Cambridge and Aldeburgh. At Aldeburgh the Chorus gave the world première in 1985 of Britten's unfinished final composition Praise We Great Men, with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Mstislav Rostropovich, and three years later took part in a semi-staged performance of Britten's Paul Bunyan. Two years later in 1988 a particular honour was paid the Chorus: an invitation to perform in Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Concertgebouw Orchestra and concert hall, the hall’s re-opening after renovations, and Bernard Haitink’s last concerts as chief conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

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