From all at Pegasus, may we thank you for your support in 2019 and wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
We’re doing the rounds of venues outside London and in the capital this spring. Join us for concerts of Bach, Handel and more in Farnham, Tilford and at St Johns Smith Square.
Following our appearance at the Brandenburg Choral Festival of London in March, we’re looking forward to two performances outside the capital in the next couple of months. May takes us to Farnham for a concert for the Tilford Bach Society, where we always enjoy a warm welcome. Typically we perform with orchestra in Farnham, but on May 11 we’re offering a programme of unaccompanied music, including works by J.S. Bach and masters of the French and English Renaissance, as well as meditative pieces by contemporary composers Gabriel Jackson and Arvo Pärt.
We’ll be back with the Tilford Bach Society on June 16 – but this time in its home town, or rather, its home village in Surrey. With the London Handel Orchestra we’ll be singing Handel’s short oratorio “The Choice of Hercules”, as well as Bach’s wonderful “Magnificat”. And we repeat the concert two days later back in London, at St Johns Smith Square.
Find out more about each concert, including ticket information, on our events page.
We’re delighted to announce the release of our second CD, For the Fallen: Choral music from the time of the Great War. Featuring works by Mahler, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Holst, Stanford and Ivor Gurney, among others, it is a collection of beautiful music written around the time of the first world war. The war was the first major conflict to generate an outpouring of creative work from those who either fought on the battlefields, or were deeply affected by it. Our recording is a tribute to the memories of those who died, and a celebration of the musical response to the Great War.
Reflective, stirring and uplifting, For the Fallen is the perfect musical accompaniment for the centenary of the Armistice, and a gift that will give lasting pleasure.
Pegasus are delighted to welcome Quintin Beer as our associate musical director, chosen from a strong field of outstanding candidates. During this year-long appointment Quintin will assist our musical director, Matthew Altham, with rehearsals, programming and planning. He will direct the choir in a performance for the first time on October 25, at St Martin in the Fields, London.
Quintin studied music at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he was an assistant conductor for the university, conducting concerts and fully staged performances of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. He is director of music at St Cuthbert’s Church, Earls Court, musical director of Yateley Choral Society, and a founding member and associate musical director of the professional ensemble Mousai. Quintin has conducted the Rodolfus Choir live on BBC Radio 3, and has worked with Shadwell Opera and the BBC Singers. He was recently awarded second prize at the Dima International Music Competition for choral conducting in Cluj, Romania.
As a singer, Quintin sang in the choirs of St John’s College, Cambridge and St Thomas, Fifth Avenue, New York. He continues to sing regularly in London churches and cathedrals. Quintin was musician-in-residence at North London Collegiate School until 2017 and continues to work on the annual Eton Choral Courses. He is currently studying choral conducting with Patrick Russill at the Royal Academy of Music.
Pegasus invites ambitious choral conductors to apply for the role of Associate Musical Director for a 12-month placement commencing in Septebmer 2018.
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 position description.
“My year working with Pegasus was full of variety, fantastic music and thoroughly enjoyable rehearsals. From leading performances at a quintessential Landmark Trust home to preparing the choir for a performance of Acis and Galatea for London’s Handel Festival, no two projects were the same and I learnt a huge amount from working with this experienced choir. My highlight was programming and leading a rehearsal weekend and concert in January, which allowed me to conduct Copland’s In The Beginning, a work I never could have hoped to tackle this early in my career. This is a fabulous opportunity which I recommend without hesitation.”
Jessica Norton, Pegasus Associate Musical Director 2017-18
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
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.