27 January 2023
The Chorus is pleased to announce the five composers shortlisted for the Stella Jockel Young Composer Competition for young people aged 18 to 35 people with a connection to Sheffield.
The five shortlisted candidates are Mason Birch, Rachel Fright, Robin Morton, James Thomas and Reuben Tozer-Loft.
Candidates were asked to submit a short choral work for a mixed choir to sing unaccompanied in at least four parts. Fourteen young people submitted entries for scrutiny by the panel of judges, from whom five were selected to go forward the the final stage.
“We have been really impressed by the commitment shown by the young composers who submitted their work for the competition” said George Nicholson, Emeritus Professor of Composition at the University of Sheffield, who headed the four-strong panel, “We have enjoyed examining how they interpreted the beautiful text, and the imaginative and interesting variety of styles they have used. The five shortlisted pieces are very different but all show promise – choosing the winners is going to be a difficult task.”
The competition has been organised by Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus in association with Classical Sheffield, as part of the Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival to be held in March 2023, in memory of Stella Jockel, a Sheffield teacher and vicar’s wife who sang alto with the Chorus for over 50 years and whose generous legacy is being used to fund the competition. The text was commissioned from award-winning poet Katharine Towers, who sings in the alto section of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus; Kathy won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for The Floating Man and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize for The Remedies.
The winning work will be premiered at the Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival finale on Sunday 19 March 2023 in the City Hall, followed by a performance of Mahler’s magnificent 2nd symphony by the combined forces of Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallam Sinfonia, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and Hallam Choral Society, conducted by George Morton and bringing the 10th anniversary festival to a spectacular close.
Read more about the competition and the shortlisted candidates
To hear the winning piece, buy tickets for the festival finale
23 Sept 2019 Chorus kick off BBC Music Day on Fargate
12 June 2019 REVIEW Holy Face Sheffield Telegraph
Friday 31 July 2020
To celebrate Yorkshire Day 2020, East Leeds FM radio / Chapel FM Arts Centre will broadcast a special programme live from Leeds Town Hall on Saturday 1 August from 12 noon.
The programme will include a special concert by Chorus Music Director and Leeds City Organist Darius Battiwalla, on the Town Hall’s magnificent organ.
This will be the first live performance at the Town Hall since the Coronavirus Lock-down – though obviously with no live audience.
Darius’s Yorkshire Day programme features music which has been written by composers with a direct link to Yorkshire and will include an interview with composer Philip Wilby, whose oratorio The Holy Face was performed by the Chorus a few years ago.
Darius will introduce the pieces as he would normally do in his much-loved Monday lunchtime organ concerts at Leeds Town Hall.
Click here to read more and to listen to the broadcast.
8 June 2019
Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus are thrilled that the composer Philip Wilby will be in attendance at the forthcoming concert premiere of the brass band version of his oratorio The Holy Face at the City Hall at 3pm on Sunday 9 June 2019. The Chorus will be joined by the Black Dyke Band, Halifax Choral Society, the Yorkshire Youth Choir and four great soloists for this very special concert.
‘The Holy Face was written for massed voices, organ and either brass band or orchestra.’ said Chorus Chairman Paul Henstridge. ‘We are really looking forward to singing this musical retelling of the life of St John with our friends the Halifax Choral Society, who commissioned it to celebrate their 200th Anniversary in 2017.’
‘We are really committed to making classical music accessible to young people’ said Chorus administrator Anne Adams ‘So we have sent out a really generous ticket offer to all the brass training bands, our Sheffield-based youth orchestras, all the secondary schools and the Sheffield Music Hub and Music Academy. Seven members of the Black Dyke Band have agreed to meet Sheffield’s young brass players after the concert – how fantastic is that!’
The brass version of The Holy Face was recorded in June 2017, and the orchestral premiere held in Halifax later that year. The CD is available from Halifax Choral Society’s website.
Also on the programme is Paradise, a fabulous new work by Welsh-born composer Paul Mealor, who sprang to fame in 2011 when his Ubi Caritas was featured at the wedding of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge. Paradise is a beautiful piece for brass band and voices which the chorus recorded in January with the world-famous Black Dyke Band in Sheffield’s own City Hall. The recording has been published as part of the Black Dyke Gold series – and composer Paul Mealor is thrilled with it. ‘I am very impressed.’ said Paul on hearing the CD. ‘It’s a fantastic recording of the work.’
The piece features two elements sung by the Chorus alongside the Black Dyke Band, sandwiching a central section of fiendish difficulty showcasing the band’s incredible virtuosity. The Chorus first sang Paradise in January at the Brass Band Festival held each year at the Royal Northern School of Music in Manchester, a performance that was broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
The concert begins with another work by Philip Wilby, his organ concerto Cinema, written for organ and brass band, and featuring Chorus Music Director and Leeds City Organist Darius Battiwalla on the magnificent City Hall organ.
Tickets are available from the City Hall box office.