As the first concert since the start of the pandemic draws closer I take this opportunity to introduce our Conductor and Musical Director, Christopher Phelps. Chris has been leading the Hadleigh Choral Society since 1991 so is no stranger to the Hadleigh community. “My first concert was Haydn's Creation, performed on 27th April to celebrate the Millenium in Hadleigh”.
Chris studied at the Royal College of Music in London, winning many prizes. He was organist and choirmaster at Armagh Cathedral before moving to Vienna to study with Hans Swarowsky at the Akademie für Musik. From there he went on to work and study in Italy and Salzburg, winning international prizes, particularly for conducting. He has worked with many distinguished musicians, including Nigel Kennedy, John Lill CBE and Leon Goossens, and also had the opportunity to work in a masterclass with the late Herbert von Karajan. Herbert von Karajan was principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 34 years and is generally regarded as one of the greatest 20th Century conductors.
Not only an acclaimed conductor, Chris is a talented transcriber and arranger. His arrangements have been recorded by the City of Prague Philharmonic, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and more locally the Colchester Symphony Orchestra, where he has held the position of Musical Director since 1983.
Joining the rehearsals in recent weeks I have been able to see at first-hand how Chris takes the choir through each practice with great humour. The music stops for a quick anecdote or recollection from his past experiences and career and then, with a tap of the baton, it’s back to work.
Chris adds “I am confident that the programme we have put together for this Autumn concert will have great appeal. The works of Vivaldi and Schubert will be in contrast to some shorter ensembles and we also have four great soloists this year.
We are grateful to Matthew Douglas Ltd for supporting the choir as sponsor. Putting these concerts together always takes a great deal of effort and, of course, there have been new challenges this time. The members of the choir have responded brilliantly and we are very excited to be performing again on Saturday 20 November at St Mary’s Church.”
Tickets are available from: The Idler, 37 High Street, Hadleigh, members of the choir or online at Buy Tickets