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Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
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In 2009 the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic celebrates its 157th year of music-making in Victoria, making it Australia's oldest surviving cultural organisation and one of the oldest secular independent choirs in the world.

Today, the 100 voice Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir continues to present critically acclaimed performances to local audiences in Melbourne and regional Victoria. It is committed to the fostering of young musicians, and is recognised by many as Melbourne's premier symphonic choir. The RMP's choristers are strictly auditioned, and are voluntary musicians who share a common love of choral music, and who give their time freely in the pursuit of musical excellence.

"…the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic… under the leadership of Andrew Wailes, outlined the passion of this work with aplomb. The dedicated preparation was obvious on all levels: first-class diction, intonation and vocal power were all abundant."

The RMP was founded in 1853, by a group of civic leaders and music lovers who wished to bring musical culture of a high standard to the early colony of Victoria, and since that time has presented performances at many historic occasions and important events in the history of Melbourne. These include the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880, the Great Centennial Exhibition of 1888, the opening of the First Australian Parliament in 1901, the opening of the Melbourne Town Hall, the 1956 Olympic Games and most recently, the Centenary of Federation celebrations in 2001.

Throughout its long existence, the RMP has consistently presented performances of major choral and orchestral works to great acclaim, often as Australian or Melbourne premieres. Amongst the many works performed for the first time in Australia by the RMP Choir and Orchestra, are Mozart's Requiem, Handel's Israel in Egypt, Bach's St. Matthew Passion, Vivaldi's Gloria, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Dvorak's Stabat Mater, Elgar's The Kingdom and The Spirit of England and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast to name but a few.

Strong on emotion and delivery ... the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir, prepared by Andrew Wailes, was rock solid. In fact, its performance was by far the best presentation I have heard from a Melbourne-based choir this year."


In recent times world premiere performances have included From the Beginning by Stuart Greenbaum, Sky Saga and Southern Gloria by Nicholas Buc, Fronting Eternity by Gordon Kerry and Mourning and the Light Within by John Peterson.

Handel's great oratorio Messiah has particular significance for the RMP. It first launched the choir in 1853, and has been performed at least once every year since. This unbroken sequence of performances is considered a world record.

Throughout its distinguished history, the RMP has boasted many outstanding conductors. These include such figures as Sir Malcolm Sargent, Georg Szell, Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir Granville Bantock, Sir Charles Groves, Sir Eugene Goosens, and Chief Conductors including Alberto Zelman and Sir Bernard Heinze. In recent times, the choir has worked with conductors such as Diego Masson, Jindong Chai, Nicholas Braithewaite, Markus Stenz and David Hill. In 2001 the RMP performed Mahler's Symphony No 8 with the MSO and conductor Markus Stenz, and appeared with the MSO again for The Age Concerts at the Melbourne Concert Hall.

In 2003 RMP choristers were flown to Perth, where they gave a acclaimed performance of Schoenberg's Gurrelieder (for the Perth International Arts Festival), featuring the AYO and Maestro Diego Masson.
"All credit, therefore, to the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra... who, under Music Director Andrew Wailes' inspired direction, gave the two-part masterwork a thrilling performance.”

The RMP again performed Gurrelieder, at the 2004 Melbourne Festival, with the MSO and Markus Stenz, and recorded The Gordon Assumption, a contemporary sound installation by David Chisolm and Sonia Leber, also for the Melbourne International Festival.In 2005 the choir performed the Verdi Requiem in the Sydney Opera House with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra (USA). Other major works to be performed in recent years have included a diverse repertoire, from iMendelssohn's Elijah, and Tchaikovsky’s Liturgy of St John Chrysostom (the top selling event of the 2004 Fringe Festival), to Rachmaninov’s The Bells, Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin, the Melbourne premiere of Peter Sculthorpe’s Requiem, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus (and the Australian premiere of his Dona Nobis Pacem), Bruckner’s Te Deum, Schubert’s Mass in A Flat, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and various carols concerts, as well as a host of other themed concerts such as The Last Night of the Proms, Irish Songs of Pride and various civic events and commemorative services.
The RMP is a member of the Australian National Choral Association, and gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Melbourne as its principal sponsor.


Music, Video, Image and Lyric Samples:

dedication.doc - This dedication will appear in the concert program on October 4

Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra
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