East London Chorus

The chorus for East London and Docklands

Spring Concert 2019

Schnittke – Concerto for Choir, Pärt, Rachmaninov

Joint concert with London Concord Singers

Saturday 13th April, 7.00pm

Venue: St Pancras Parish Church Euston Rd, Bloomsbury, London NW1 2BA

Tickets £15 (£5 for under 25s)

One of the great choral masterpieces of the 20th century.

Conductor: Jessica Norton

Two choirs join together to give a performance of one of the great choral masterpieces of the 20th century, Alfred Schnittke’s Choir Concerto.

Written in 1984-85 the work sets texts drawn from The Book of Lamentations by the Armenian mystic and poet, Saint Gregory of Narek. The music is based on traditional harmony and melodic formuale of Russian Orthodox Chant, but Schnittke uses his large choir to create richly evocative textures full of Schnittke’s personal musical language. Lasting 40 minutes, the Choir Concerto is modelled on the choral concertos by 18th century Russian composers which influenced the choral music of Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky.

The work will be accompanied by a selection of other devotional works by Rachmaninov, Arvo Pärt and Anton Bruckner.

Alfred Schnittke – Choir Concerto
Rachmaninov – Bogoroditse Devo (All Night Vigil)
Arvo Pärt – Da Pacem Dominum
Bruckner – Locus Iste
Bruckner – Ost Justi

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Music Director – Jessica Norton

Jessica Norton is a Choral Practitioner, Soprano and Vocal Coach based in Central London.

She is Musical Director of the London Concord Singers, East London Chorus, Devonshire Square Music in Offices Choir, Polymnia Chamber Choir and the University of Surrey Chamber Choir, and Music Leader of the Blackheath Youth Choir. She has previously worked with various choirs around the country including Henley Youth Choir, London Orpheus Choir, Pegasus Choir, London Symphony Chorus, Milton Keynes Chorale, St Michael’s Church in Bray and multiple workplace choirs. She has also had repeat invitations to conduct at the LSO and CBSO Come and Sing Days and was one of the conductors for David Lang’s UK Premiere of “Public Domain” in the Barbican Centre.

With a Diploma in Singing Performance from ABRSM, Jessica has sung solo with choirs such as the London Symphony Chorus, Ealing Common Choir and Harwich and Dovercourt Choral Society and is the featured soprano in Wanstead’s annual opera gala “Glamour on the Green”. She has also sung in multiple BBC Proms concerts, including in the semi-chorus of Elgar’s “Dream of Gerontius” under Sir Simon Rattle, at PHAB’s Christmas Fundraising Event and in ITV’s “The Halcyon”. During the pandemic Jessica continued to perform concerts online and organised a set of singing workshops, Vocal Freedom.

As a Vocal Coach and Choral Practitioner Jessica has led workshops with schools around Henley-on-Thames and Cambridge, choirs and at corporate events, most recently Haygarth Marketing Agency. She also runs Come and Sing days with the East London Chorus, London Concord Singers and Henley Youth Choir annually.

Accompanist – George Ireland

George Ireland recently graduated with distinction from the Royal College of Music where he studied collaborative piano under Simon Lepper and Roger Vignoles

From a non-musical background, he began to play the piano from scratch, self-taught at the age of 14. He is now 26 and enjoys a thriving career, in demand as both a recital partner with some of the finest singers of his generation, and in Opera and Choral music.

He has recently enjoyed work with the youth companies of the Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne, as well as British Youth Opera and the University of Birmingham Summer Festival Opera (including Albert Herring under Jessica Norton).

As an undergraduate he won the 2016 University of Birmingham concerto competition and performed Grieg’s concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra. He was also much in demand as a recital accompanist, and in his final year enjoyed a masterclass with Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton.

At the RCM he was selected for a project exploring the Lieder of Robert Kahn, which saw performances at the German Embassy in London and the Akademie Der Künste in Berlin. He returned to Germany in September 2019, where his Bielefeld performance of Winterreise with Daniela Bechley was reviewed with enthusiasm in Neue Westfälische.

A Leeds Lieder Young Artist, George has participated in further masterclasses with Roderick Williams, Dame Sarah Connolly, Dame Felicity Palmer, Dame Ann Murray, Helmut Deutsch and Amanda Roocroft.

In both 2020 and 2021 he accompanied the winning recitals at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards, with Jessica Cale and Hugh Cutting respectively. With Jessica Cale he was an Emerging Artist in the 2021 Oxford Lieder Festival and with Hugh Cutting he has recently enjoyed an appearance on Radio 3’s In Tune.

Coming up …

East London Chorus performs at least four concerts each year as well as singing at weddings, corporate and other events and carols at Christmas.

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