Slovak Philharmonic Choir

Slovenský filharmonický zbor 2015-2016 foto-19-11-2015-Jan-Lukas

is a prominent representative of the Slovak art of professional choir singing. It originated in 1946 as the Mixed Choir of the Czechoslovak Radio. In its early years it was led by its initiator and founder, the conductor Ladislav Slovák. In 1955 Jan Maria Dobrodinský took over the leadership of the choir and for more than 20 years made a substantial contribution to the presentation and artistic development of the ensemble, which had been incorporated (under its present name) into the group of Slovak Philharmonic bodies in 1957.

In 1977, Valentin Iljin assumed the position of choirmaster, later succeeded by the choir expert Lubomír Mátl and then by Štefan Klimo, Pavel Baxa, Pavol Procházka and Marián Vach, each of whom had a share in the development of the choir’s level of interpretation. Blanka Juhaňáková (1991 – 2001) and Jan Rozehnal (1991 – 2003) continued in this tradition. In the 2003/2004 season the post of Artistic Director and Chief Choirmaster of the Slovak Philharmonic Choir was assumed by Marián Vach. In 2005 – 2014 Blanka Juhaňáková served as Chief Choirmaster. Since 2014 Jozef Chabroň has served as Choirmaster of the Slovak Philharmonic Choir. Within half a century of intense artistic activity the Slovak Philharmonic Choir has developed into a body of exceptional quality which is one Slovenský fi lharmonický zbor The Slovak Philharmonic Choir of the foremost European ensembles of its kind today. Its unique technical abilities, refined expression, perfectly balanced voices, interpretational skills, reliability and exemplary artistic discipline are all reflected in its sublime performances.

The creative enthusiasm and expressive power of its performances have won it praise from renowned conductors like Claudio Abbado, Serge Baudo, Bertrand de Billy, Jean-Claude Casadesus, James Conlon, Dean Dixon, Christoph von Dohnányi, Vladimir Fedoseyev, János Ferencsik, Daniele Gatti, Pedro Halffter, Riccardo Chailly, Dmitri Kitaenko, Zdeněk Košler, Ondrej Lenárd, Alain Lombard, Fabio Luisi, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Franz Welser-Möst, Antonio Pedrotti, Libor Pešek, Ľudovít Rajter, Helmuth Rilling, Karl Richter, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Peter Schreier, Pinchas Steinberg, Hans Swarowsky, Václav Talich, Emmanuel Villaume and Ralf Weikert. In addition to regular performances at home, the choir undertakes frequent tours abroad, encompassing most European countries as well as Morocco, Turkey, Japan and Oman. The choir has cooperated with numerous prestigious foreign orchestras such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris. It has also contri buted to the glamour of prominent international festivals in Vienna, Salzburg, London, Prague, Perugia, Edinburgh, Berlin, Athens, Madrid, Paris, Munich and Strasbourg.

Its rich discography contains recordings for Slovak and foreign television and radio stations and for many renowned recording companies such as OPUS, Supraphon, Deutsche Grammophon, Hungaroton, Sony, Marco Polo, Naxos, Nuova Era, Decca and many others. At the beginning of the 2019/2020 season the choir performed Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the conductor Christoph von Eschenbach at the opening concert of the Berlin Konzerthausorchester in Berlin. They then performed in concerts with the Tonkünstler-Orchester in Austria and with the Pilsen Philharmonic in Czechia.

As a result of the pandemic many important artistic collaborations were cancelled during the second half of the season (Prague, Belgrade, Dortmund, Neuberg an der Mürz, Mannheim). At the beginning of the 2020/2021 season the Slovak Philharmonic Choir will perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Slovak Philharmonic in Piešťany. In October they will participate in a new production of Eugene Onegin at the Vienna State Opera. In December the SPh Choir will be the guests of the FOK Prague Symphony Orchestra in Poulenc’s Gloria. In the second half of the season they will cooperate with the Bruckner Orchester Linz and the conductor Paavo Järvi in a performance of Paul Hindemith’s oratorio.