London Oriana Choir is celebrating the milestone of its 50th anniversary season with a bumper action-packed year that touches on all aspects of what makes this choir stand out from the crowd. Highlights include:
A new commission from the choir’s patron and celebrated composer Cecilia McDowall
A season launch concert at St Paul’s Covent Garden, two potential sell-out Christmas concerts at St James Piccadilly, a gala concert with special guests at St John’s Smith Square and a summer collaboration at Union Chapel Highbury
Two-time Grammy nominee Beth Nielsen Chapman making a special appearance at the gala concert '50 Years of Song' in March, recreating part of a seminal 2006 performance with the choir that took place at St Paul’s Cathedral
Award-winning British vocal ensemble The Gesualdo Six performing Eric Whitacre’s seminal multi-choir work, The Stolen Child, at Union Chapel in July
Music spanning a thousand years, crossing continents and genres
Tours outside the capital to Liverpool, Harwich and Paris
A documentary film covering and celebrating the choir’s first 50 years
Commercial hires which include Final Fantasy XIV at the Eventim Apollo
Alumni events such as a Come & Sing: Mozart’s Coronation Mass at St John’s Waterloo and a workshop with The Gesualdo Six
Monthly social events which kick off with a Sound of Music singalong at the Prince Charles Theatre in Leicester Square
The third year of the choir’s Young Singer Choral Scholarship Programme
A season dedicated to raising funds for Music for Dementia, making a difference to people living with dementia and their families
The production of an anniversary season brochure giving all concert details, a potted history and other celebratory information.
London Oriana Choir’s first ever rehearsal was on 14 November 1973 at the Gateway School in Edgware when the choir was founded by Leon Lovett, starting life as an evening class under the auspices of the Inner London Education Authority. David Drummond took over the baton as musical director in 1997 and will be returning to conduct the choir as part of the gala concert in March. The current MD, Dominic Ellis-Peckham, joined in 2013.
Throughout this time, the choir has fostered a personality focussed on excellence, energy, diversity and inclusion. Many friendships and quite a few marriages have been forged, not least in the pub after the weekly rehearsals or on the popular European tours that have taken place almost every year since 1979.
As well as promoting its own classical concerts, the choir has continued to attract high profile collaborations including Pete Townshend for the recording and world premiere of Classic Quadrophenia, Disney Concerts for Kingdom Hearts Orchestra world tour concerts, Madonna for the Eurovision Song Contest Final and Robert Plant in the BBC’s Electric Proms, as well as Opera Holland Park, Barbra Streisand at the O2 and Robert Zeigler with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.
In 2016, the choir launched its ground-breaking five15 initiative championing women composers, with new commissions at its heart, which ran for six years, spawning the choir’s own composing group.
MD Dominic Ellis-Peckham said: “I am immensely proud to be leading this choir into its second half century. During this dynamic season, we will certainly be celebrating the past 50 years but will also have our eyes fixed firmly on the future. The nature of this choir is that we are always looking to move forward with our programming, partners and performances. I can’t wait to see what the next 50 years will bring.”
The season kicks off with a Choral Icons concert at St Paul’s Covent Garden in London on Saturday 4th November at 7.30pm, dedicated to choral icons from across the ages, featuring works by Benjamin Britten, Cecilia McDowall, Sir John Tavener, Sir James MacMillan, Eriks Esenvalds, Felix Mendelssohn, Dobrinka Tabakova and many more.
For further information about London Oriana Choir, its history and tickets for all its concerts, visit www.londonoriana.com
Further details of the season’s concerts can be found here.