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 Teacher based in Central London. Alongside her work with the East London Chorus she is also Musical Director of the London Concord Singers and Henley Youth Choir, having recently finished working with the London Orpheus Choir. She has previously worked with various choirs around the country including 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. Jessica will also be conducting a recording of David Solomons’ Canticles for Male Voice Choir.

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.

With a Diploma in Singing Performance from ABRSM, Jessica has sung solo with choirs such as Ealing Common Choir and Harwich and Dovercourt Choral Society and is the featured soprano soloist for Wanstead’s 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, and in ITV’s “The Halcyon”. Next year Jessica will be the soprano soloist for the Harrow Symphony Orchestra’s 80th anniversary concert.

Accompanist – George Ireland

George Ireland is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham where he read music and specialised in solo performance. He has studied under Trevor Cordwell in Colchester, Alexander Boyd in Birmingham, and Joseph Middleton in London, and will in September begin studying a masters in piano accompaniment at the Royal College of Music.

He began to play the piano from scratch, self taught, at the age of fourteen, achieving grade five with distinction in two years and grade eight with distinction two years later. Soon after he was giving concerts throughout East Anglia, including in Braintree, Clacton, Colchester, Felixstowe and Long Melford. Notably before going to University he performed Schubert’s Fantasia in F Minor and Mozart’s rare Sonata for Two Pianos with Trevor Cordwell. In 2013 he won his local Rotary Club’s Young Musician Competition and as a result gave his Concerto debut with the Clacton Concert Orchestra, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.595. He performed Mozart’s Concerto K.503 with the St Botolph’s Music Society Orchestra in 2014 to great acclaim, returning in 2018 with K.466 In 2016 he won the University of Birmingham Concerto Competition, performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra.

George became first choice of accompanist amongst staff and students in Birmingham, acting as repetiteur for the Summer Festival Opera during all three years of his degree as well as accompanying many student recitals, platforms and masterclasses. He accompanied all of the University’s choirs, including the University Chorus under Julian Wilkins, a position held for two years. He has also enjoyed a fruitful relationship with professional and community groups in Birmingham, including the CBSO Chorus and Youth Chorus, and Birmingham Opera Company. For two years he was, by invitation, the orchestral pianist in the CBSO Youth Orchestra as well as the University Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras under conductors Cristian Măcelaru, Daniele Rosina, Michael Seal and Jac van Steen, and gave performances in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and Town Hall. He has been the accompanist of the East London Chorus since September 2017 and has on occasion accompanied the award-winning chamber choirs Pegasus and Vox Cordis.

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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