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London Philharmonic Choir (Choir)

Born: 1947 - London, England

The London Philharmonic Choir (= LPC) is one of the leading independent British choirs in the UK based in London. The Patron is Princess Alexandra, The Hon Lady Ogilvy and Sir Mark Elder is President. The choir, comprising over 200 members, holds charitable status and is governed by a committee of 10 elected directors. As a charity, its aims are to promote, improve, develop and maintain education in the appreciation of the art and science of music by the presentation of public concerts.

The LPC was formed in 1946 with Frederic Jackson as Chorus Master, for the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO). On May 15, 1947, The choir made its début with a performance of L.v. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at the Royal Albert Hall under the baton of Victor De Sabata. Their first recording was of Igor Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1947 followed by the first radio broadcast of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Sancta Civitas and Verdi's Stabat Mater in March 1948 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Throughout Jackson's tenure (1947-1969), the choir worked closely with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and with major conductors and soloists of the period including Sir Adrian Boult, Eduard van Beinum, Dame Janet Baker, Peter Pears and Kathleen Ferrier. Despite funding cuts to the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1950's, the choir maintained work by being engaged by other orchestras. By the mid 1960's LPC's performance standards were slipping and Jackson was invited to retire. His successor, John Alldis improved the standards of the choir and also encouraged the performance of contemporary works such as David Bedford's Star clusters, Nebulae and Places in Devon. The choir worked with Bernard Haitink and Sir John Pritchard during their time as London Philharmonic Orchestra Principal conductors in the 1970s. A noted LPC recording called "Sounds of Glory" in 1976, now marketed as "Praise - 18 Choral Masterpieces", has become the best-selling recording for the choir to date. In 1979, LPC undertook its first overseas tour to Germany.

In 1982, Richard Cooke succeeded Alldis as Chorus Master and saw the choir through a productive decade. In 1984, the choir registered as a charity. The choir performed under Georg Solti and Klaus Tennstedt who were the two principal London Philharmonic Orchestra conductors of that decade. The LPC also continued to enjoy touring overseas. A noted recording with Tennstedt of the Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8 won an award in 1987. However, the early 1990s was a period of turmoil for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and LPC as financial recession and resignations at the London Philharmonic Orchestra created a climate of uncertainty, while there was some press opposition to the appointment of Franz Welser-Möst as Principal Conductor. Cooke resigned in 1991 due in part to the strained working relationship with Welser-Möst and disputes between choir and London Philharmonic Orchestra management. The London Philharmonic Orchestra appointed Jeremy Jackman as the next Chorus Master in 1992. However, with the choir's difficulties being widely advertised, existing membership levels declined and recruitment of new members became a challenge. Jackman resigned in 1994 after only two seasons at the helm.

Neville Creed became the next Chorus Master (1994-present). His enthusiasm helped to build back morale and membership. In 1996, at the end of the Welser-Möst tenure, the LPC became autonomous after being severed from the London Philharmonic Orchestra's payroll. During this bleak period, the choir was able to secure concerts with other London orchestras and with arts promotion institutions such as IMG Artists and Raymond Gubbay for much needed financial aid. Over time, the choir's performance standard, visibility and reputation improved. Eventually, relations with the London Philharmonic Orchestra settled into mutual respect and good will and the LPC was given the right of first refusal for most future choral projects with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1997, the choir celebrated its 50th anniversary with a concert at the Albert Hall attended by Princess Alexandra and Ursula Vaughan Williams. In 2002, the choir adopted a new constitution and became a registered charity with the legal protection of a limited company. For their 60th anniversary in 2007, the book Hallelujah! An informal history of the London Philharmonic Choir was published. The LPC continues to work closely with the London Philharmonic Orchestra's Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski (2007-present) and Guest Principal Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin (2009-present).

The London Philharmonic Choir is wideiy acclaimed as one of the nation's finest choirs and consistently meets with critical acclaim Continuing to perform regularly with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The London Philharmonic Choir also works with many other orchestras throughout the UK and makes annual appearances at the BBC Proms. It has performed under some of the world‘s most eminent conductors - among them Pierre Boulez. Sir Mark Elder. Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Bernard Haitink, Kurt Masur, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Georg Solti and Klaus Tennstedt. The London Philharmonic Choir has participated in more than seventy recordings. including a Gramophone-Award~winning performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8 under Klaus Tennstedt. The Choir often travels overseas and in recent years it has appeared at the Canary Islands and Lucerne music festivals. and given concerts in Europe, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia.


The LPC is an independent amateur mixed-voice choir holding charitable status. The choir, while being rooted in the British choral tradition, also performs a wide repertoire of different styles and languages. The choir's aim is to perform large choral works to professional standard whilst providing a friendly social network for its members. As a charity, its aims are to promote, improve, develop and maintain education in the appreciation of the art and science of music by the presentation of public concerts. The choir also aims to encourage and support for the public benefit all art forms, particularly but not exclusively those involving music, including other cultural and educational activities in order to make these more accessible to the public at large.


The choir consists of a pool of over 200 members ranging from college students, working age to retirees. There are four vocal sections; bass, tenor, alto and soprano. Each vocal section is divided into upper and lower voices. The choir also accepts female tenors and male altosas members. Each section has a voice representative who looks after the interests of the section members, notes attendance and acts as liaison with the committee.

All members are volunteers and each member is auditioned prior to joining. Members who pass their audition pay a one-off £25 subscription. There is no annual membership fee. Existing members are re-auditioned every 1 or 3 years with the choir.

The choir rehearses on Monday and/or Wednesday nights depending on the current project and the rehearsals are normally based at Bishopsgate Institute.


The committee is made up of members of the choir and they are in charge of the running of the choir and liaising with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and other organisations. The committee is divided into a Board of Directors which is made up of the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Choir Manager, Membership Secretary, Voice Representatives and Librarian and non board members including the Enquiries officer and Tours Manager.

Revenue is derived from initial subscription, donations and above all from concert engagements. The Artistic Director and the Accompanist are paid positions. The Artistic Director also holds an ex officio position on the committee.



Princess Alexandra, The Hon Lady Ogilvy (1996–present)

Victoria Spenser Wilkinson (1946-1947)
Neville Rogers (1947)
Victoria Spenser Wilkinson (1947-1955)
Frank J. Wheeler (1955-1961)
Christopher (P.C.) Roscoe (1961-1968)
Frank J. Wheeler (1968-1969)
David R. Anderson (1969-1970)
Daniel Snowman (1970-1972)
Vey Roberts (1972-1977)
Anthony Shillingford (1977-1984)
Vincent Evans (1984-1987)
Aidan Jones (1987-1992)
Nigel Grieve (1992-1996)
Jane Hanson (1996-1999)
John Peirce (1999-2002)
Peter Taylor (2002-2008)
Mary Moore (2008-2013)
Andrew Mackie (2013-2014)
2014–present Ian Frost


Klaus Tennstedt (1983-1996)
Sir Roger Norrington (1996-2014)
Sir Mark Elder (2014-Present)

Chorus Masters

Frederic Jackson (1947-1969)
Russell Burgess (May–September 1968: Deputy Choir Master)
John Alldis (1969-1982)
Richard Cooke (1982-1991)
Jeremy Jackman (1992-1994)
Neville Creed (1994-Present: Artistic Director)
Matthew Rowe (2003-2008: Associate Chorus Director)


Source: Liner notes to the album "Vaughan Williams: The First Nowell; Bach: Cantata 63; Mendelssohn: Vom Himmel hoch", conducted by Vladimir Jurowski (LPO, 2010); Wikipedia Website (September 2015)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (November 2015)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Vladimir Jurowski


BWV 63

Links to other Sites

London Philharmonic Choir (Official Website)
London Philharmonic Choir (LPO)
London Philharmonic Choir on Facebook

London Philharmonic Choir (Wikipedia)

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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 12:07