We’ve enjoyed a short break following our three performances in December and are now looking forward to our first performance of 2018 – which is also the first concert with the full choir directed by Jessica Norton, our assistant musical director. Since her appointment last spring, Jess has been working with Pegasus in rehearsals and led a small ensemble from the choir in madrigals and partsongs at Goddards House in Surrey last summer. For her London Pegasus debut, she has chosen an intriguing programme of music around the theme of the biblical creation story, culminating in Aaron Copland’s magisterial In the Beginning, a rarely heard piece that promises to make quite an impact in the reverberant acoustics of St George’s, Bloomsbury. Read more about this free concert here.
Alongside this concert we’re also beginning rehearsals for two performances of Handel’s opera Acis and Galatea, which will take place in March. We’re excited to have the opportunity to work on a staged production with conductor Laurence Cummings and director Martin Parr, with outstanding soloists and the ever-excellent London Handel Orchestra. More details and ticket information can be found here.
A warmly enthusiastic audience greeted our first carol concert in the City of London on December 1, when we sang at St Botolph’s Bishopsgate. The church was lit by candles and the bright glow of a Christmas tree, which made a festive setting for seasonal works by Mendelssohn, John Ireland, Harold Darke, William Mathias and others. Readings from Robert Bridges, Dickens and Saki punctuated the musical offerings, and the audience joined us for three carols. The climax was Moses Hogan’s arrangement of the spiritual “Go, Tell It On The Mountain”, which sent everybody out in good cheer to the church hall for mulled wine and mince pies.
Photo credit: Andrea Liu
Photo credit: Andrea Liu
We will round out the Christmas season providing the music for two carol services, one at the Charterhouse, which is fast becoming an annual tradition, and another for the community carol service of Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham, where we have sung for many years. After a break over the holidays we’ll be jumping back into rehearsals for our next performances in January and March. Read about those here!
It’s been a few years since we did a full-length Christmas concert in London, and we’re excited to offer our audience the chance to hear us in the heart of the City, with music ranging from Mendelssohn to Part, with well-loved English Christmas anthems mingling with works from Sweden, Estonia and Ukraine (some of which may be more familiar than you think!). Heartwarming readings for the season and the gleam of candles in the church will complete the atmosphere.
Click here to find out more details, and to book your tickets.
Our concert “Song Shards: From Darkness to the Light” presented works ranging from the late Romantic yearning of Verdi and Elgar to the 20th-century mysteries of John Tavener and Arvo Pärt.
Gabriella Swallow joined us for the London premiere of Colin Riley’s song cycle Roads Shining Like River Up Hill After Rain for solo cello, choir and vocal quartet. Riley’s settings of fragments of poetry by Edward Thomas, arranged by writer Robert Macfarlane into a sequence tracing a journey from the expansiveness of the South Downs to the ghostly no-man’s-land of the first world war where Thomas met his death, formed the centrepiece of our concert. For a recording of the performance, click here.
Here’s a selection of the comments about the concert from our audience:
An innovative and adventurous programme beautifully performed.
Pegasus creates a sound all of its own. Heavenly. Thank you!
Really exquisite – loved the Edward Thomas/Colin Riley.
An absolute delight! A beautifully compiled programme, excellent performances and an enchanting premiere! This concert was a treat!
Having come from Westminster Abbey for Battle of Britain Remembrance, this performance finished a day of sorrow and joy. Thank you very much.
Colin Riley talks to Pegasus about his new work
Matthew Altham rehearses Pegasus and cellist Gabriella Swallow
Sixteen members of Pegasus, directed by associate musical director Jessica Norton, performed on July 22 at Goddards, a house designed by Edwin Lutyens in 1900 and now owned by the Lutyens Trust and leased to the Landmark Trust. The Landmark Trust’s Open Day saw several hundred visitors wander round the large house and its exquisite garden in the village of Abinger Common in Surrey.
We performed four fifteen-minute sets of music for the visitors, including folksong arrangements by Vaughan Williams (who lived nearby), Robert Pearsall’s “Lay a Garland”, which drew appreciative comments from the audience, and, on the lighter side, Cole Porter’s “Let’s Fall in Love” and Gershwin’s “Summertime”. The last piece was on the programme in spite of – rather than because of – the weather, since it rained steadily all afternoon and we only manged to sing part of one set out of doors between showers, retreating to the library and common room for the rest of our performances.
When not singing, we made ourselves at home, sampling books from the library, playing skittles in the skittle alley (they knew how to design houses back in the day), and feasting on a picnic – albeit an indoor one. The Abinger Hatch pub made an excellent retreat to quench our thirst at the end of the afternoon.
Pegasus are delighted to welcome Jessica Norton as our first-ever Associate Musical Director, chosen from a strong field of outstanding candidates. During this year-long appointment she will assist our Musical Director, Matthew Altham, with rehearsals, programming and planning, and we hope that our audiences will have the opportunity to see her leading the choir soon.
Jessica studied music at the University of Surrey and holds a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Birmingham, where she studied with Simon Halsey. She is musical director of the London Concord Singers and the East London Chorus, and concert manager for Bach to Baby, a classical music concert series for babies and toddlers. Jessica has a diploma in singing performance and has sung with the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus and the London Symphony Chorus, for both of which she has also served as assistant chorus master. Jessica is also active as a composer and arranger and has received commissions in the UK, the USA and Germany.
Pegasus invites ambitious choral conductors to apply for the role of Associate Musical Director for a 12-month placement commencing in April 2017.
This paid position will provide an opportunity to gain experience working with a prestigious and active chamber choir, and rehearsing a wide range of challenging music to a high standard. The intention is that this will act as a springboard to the candidate’s career as a successful choral conductor.
For full details please download the job description.
We wish all our followers and supporters a very happy new year! We’re looking forward to a rich range of concerts in 2017, beginning on January 29 with Elizabethan sacred music and English Romantic partsongs in the evocative surroundings of the Great Chamber of the Charterhouse in London – a free concert celebrating the opening of that ancient institution’s new museum. Space is limited, so visit our events page to reserve your ticket. Next up will be Miserere, a late-night programme of Renaissance and Baroque sacred music on the theme of mercy, on March 24 at St Martin in the Fields. We’ll be changing gears in May and joining forces with two other choirs for Mahler’s massive and uplifting “Resurrection” symphony, marking our debut at Barbican Hall. And later in the year we have a trip to Leicester Cathedral, and the Christmas Oratorio for Tilford Bach Society. More details of those closer to the time, but before then we hope to see you at the Charterhouse and St Martin in the Fields!
Following the success of Pegasus’ recent outing to Grayshott for Mozart’s glorious Mass in C Minor for the Grayshott Concerts series Christmas begins in earnest for the choir.
On Saturday, Pegasus meet for an extravaganza of a rehearsal in the run up to what promises to be a busy time for the choir. As well as two London based concerts at Trinity Hospice, Clapham and Charterhouse, Pegasus travels to Claygate for a concert in aid of the Princes Alice Hospice. Our programme features music by Peter Warlock, Gustav Holst and C.H.H. Parry, as well as carols for all to sing. Frank Renton, presenter of BBC Radio 2’s “Listen to the Band”, will be the compere, and Michael Aspel is the guest reader. Tickets can be purchased via the events page of our website – http://pegasuschoir.org.uk/event/a-candlelight-christmas-4/
Pegasus took to the world-renowned stage of the Royal Albert Hall at the beginning of October for a marathon five performances supporting the superb Carlos Acosta. In this, his “Classical Farewell”, Carlos produced a tour de force of ballet repertoire including both historical and contemporary choreography. The choir were privileged to have once again been invited to support the Cuban ballet prodigy in what turned out to be an extremely emotional set of concerts, setting us up for a busy autumn and Christmas period.
From the first night to the last, our band of 40 singers accompanied a moving rendition of Poulenc’s Gloria followed by a hauntingly atmospheric Offertoire from Fauré’s Requiem. With the choir described as a “superb and magical bonus” in the London Dance Review and “sublime” by the British Theatre Guide, we’re sure this performance will live long in the memories of all involved.
The audience awaits the start of the performance
Backstage with Carlos
Ready to sing!
Up next, we travel to St Luke’s Church, Grayshott, Surrey on November 19 for Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, joining the superb London Handel Orchestra for the fourth time this year, under the direction of maestro Adrian Butterfield. This performance part of the prestigious Grayshott Concert series.
With Christmas just around the corner, we will continue with an action-packed and mince pie filled December. On December 8 we head to Holy Trinity Church, Clapham Common for a carol service in support of Royal Trinity Hospice. This is closely followed by performances on December 10 in Claygate, Surrey and December 13 at the Charterhouse in London. Visit our Events page to find out more about our concerts during the rest of our 21st anniversary year and to book tickets.