A short history of the choir
Cardiff Polyphonic Choir, now in its 54th year, has a proud history and has been an ambassador
for Welsh music, touring the USA on nine occasions. Its tours of Malta,
Italy, Brittany, Austria, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and
Prague have helped to earn the choir’s international reputation.
At home, too, the Choir’s reputation is strong.
It has performed in all the major London musical venues. It has worked
with many of the great orchestras of our time – the Philharmonia, the
London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the London
Baroque, the London Mozart Players and the Hallé.
And it has sung under the baton of Sir Colin Davis, Carl Davis, Sir
Charles Groves, Richard Hickox, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir John Eliot
Gardiner, Sir Andrew Davis, Jane Glover, Tadaaki Otaka, Paavo Berglund,
James Loughran and John Alldis.
The Choir was recently featured in a BBC tribute to Sir Colin Davis
in which two clips of him rehearsing the Choir for a performance of
Messiah in 1981 were shown.
Here are some highlights of the Choir’s more recent activities
Holst's First Choral Symphony in the 2009 BBC Proms in the Royal
Albert Hall with the BBC National Chorus of Wales and the BBC Symphony
in St Martin in the Fields in London, Verdi's Requiem with
the BBC NCOW, and a debut concert in St George's, Bristol performing
Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle.
a Radio 3 live broadcast of Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette at
St David's Hall, Cardiff with BBC NOW and BBC NCOW, a performance of
Vaughan Williams's Mass in G Minor, and a sell out
Rachmaninov Vespers in the Budleigh Salterton Music Festival.
The year ended with the Choir performing Handel's Messiah in
St David’s Hall with the world famous Baroque ensemble, Florilegium and,
by contrast, with us appearing live on The One Show on BBC1 on 23rd
began with a return to St Martin in the Fields, followed by a performance
at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama of Brahms’ Ein
Deutsches Requiem. In the summer we sang a concert including more
modern works by George Shearing, Eric Whitacre, Will Todd, Gareth Glyn,
Paul Mealor and Ward Swingle - great music and great fun to sing and
listen to. In November we sang the Fauré Requiem and the
unaccompanied Frank Martin Mass for Double Choir.
Our performance of Britten's Spring Symphony in St David's
Hall with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and with the BBC National
Chorus of Wales enjoyed extremely favourable critical review.
Read Stephen Walsh's review on Artsdesk,
Rian Evans's 4 star review in the Guardian,
Peter Wagstaff's 5 out of 5 review in the Western Mail.
Paul Corfield Godfrey's review in
Seen and Heard International describes the concert and performances as
We followed that with a performance with Will Todd of his amazing
Mass in Blue at the RWCMD. Again an appreciative audience gave a
very positive feedback. Then we shared the platform with other Cardiff
choirs at St David's Hall for a couple of concerts - Fauré's
with Owain Arwel Hughes, and Orff's Carmina Burana with
Cardiff Philharmonia. Our summer concert at St German's featured the
hugely talented young Cardiff violinist Charlie Lovell Jones, and included
a performance of Brahms's
Our 50th year anniversary programme of concerts began in November 2013
with a first performance in Wales of Gabriel Jackson's Requiem. Highlights of the year were undoubtedly the capacity audiences for the B Minor Mass in Llandaff Cathedral, the Anniversary Concert
and reception at the RWCMD – at which we gave the first performance of two
pieces specially written by Huw Watkins to commemorate the Anniversary
(for which grateful thanks to Arts Council of Wales, Ty Cerdd, the
National Lottery and the Welsh Assembly Government) – and the performance
of Messiah in St David’s Hall in which we were joined by our
patron Rebecca Evans and by Matthew Brook. Their performances were singled
out in the
Guardian review of the concert.
April we celebrated our 9 years partnership with outgoing conductor Neil
Ferris with an a capela concert Take Flight for Heaven!
which included Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir and in
June welcomed our new conductor David Young with a performance of
Rutter's Sprig of Thyme and George Shearing's Songs and Sonnets. This was followed by a visit to Blackwood - Huw
Watkins's home town - for a performance of the pieces written by Huw for
the Choir during our 50th Anniversary year. In November we sang the
Requiem in Llandaff Cathedral with orchestra and with harpist
Bethan Semmens. We finished the year with a Carol Concert in St Johns
Church raising over £700 for the charity Meningitis Now.
was the first full year of our collaboration with our new conductor David
Young which we celebrated with a series of highly successful concerts -
three of which helped to generate income for the Alzheimer's Society,
Meningitis Now and the charities supported this year by the Penarth
Christmas Tree Festival. Our performances in the 2016 Welsh Proms earned
some great reviews: "choral singing of the highest order"
for our contribution to Verdi's Requiem and "truly
sublime singing" for the World
Premiere of Paul Mealor's The Shadows of
commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of
the Somme which was broadcast live on Classic FM.
a year where we liaised with many other choirs in some great joint
concerts. Highlights undoubtedly were the performances with the Ardwyn
Singers of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Dresden Philharmonic under
Michael Sanderling in both Cadogan Hall and St David's Hall, the
performance in June with Côrdydd and the Ardwyn and the Royal
Philharmonic under the baton of Eric Whitacre and the performance of
of Gerontius in Lichfield Cathedral with Stafford Choral Society.The year
ended in great style in a packed St David's Hall with the Choir giving an
acclaimed performance of Messiah with the baroque instrument
ensemble Réjouissance and with soloists Sarah Tynan, William Towers,
Joshua Ellicott and Matthew Brook.