Choir - Estd. 1874


Media Links

06/05/15: James Whitbourn in conversation with Stephen Doughty (video)


07/06/15: Sing Out.  From 15mins 

Interviews and music on Radio Ulster


31/05/15: Sunday Sequence.  From 1hr 22mins

Michael Ward interview on Radio Ulster


29/05/15: Good Morning Ulster.  From 2hrs 22mins.

James Whitbourn interview on Radio Ulster 

The Seven Heavens

Listen To The Phil Online


WORLD PREMIÈRE of James Whitbourn's The Seven Heavens  (Link expires 29/7/15 12:30) 

World Première 30th May 2015 recorded in the Ulster Hall, Belfast.  With Belfast Philharmonic Choir, Belfast Philharmonic Youth Choir, Ulster Orchestra.  Conducted by Stephen Doughty.


Highlights of our Gala Concert from the Ulster Hall on Classical Connections (28/06/15) (Link expires 28/7/15 17:00) 

includes Zadok The Priest, Seek Him That Maketh The Seven Stars, Blest Pair of Sirens, Serenade to Music plus Venus and The Sun from James Whitbourn's The Seven Heavens and Choir Notes features on Belfast Philharmonic Choir and Phil Kids.

The Belfast Philharmonic Choir (affectionately known as "The Phil") was founded in 1874 which means we have been enhancing life through choral singing for 140 years!


Led by music director Stephen Doughty, the 120+ strong chorus is Northern Ireland's only symphonic choir and performs at least four concerts per year, many alongside the Ulster Orchestra.   This includes the traditional performances of Handel's Messiah which we have undertaken each Christmas since 1886!


…"Throughout the Philharmonic Choir is superb, with their rhythmic attack, precision of diction and varying dynamics …  They excel in crisp marcato and staccato phrases …  How refreshing to hear Handel sung with such variety of tone colour and dynamics…"

Nuala McAlister Hart, Messiah Review, Dec 2014 © Culture Northern Ireland



Praise for The Phil

I wanted to put in writing my sincere congratulations on a wonderful concert on Saturday – a truly fitting celebration of 140 years and all that is good in music, and choral singing in particular.

Stephen, you did a fantastic job in directing orchestra, choir and kids in such an unassuming way, to create an artistic whole of the highest standard.  (And I loved your arrangement of the Dove!).

Barbara McKinley

Senior Executive Assistant

Ulster Orchestra Society Limited


Dear Belfast Philharmonic,

I wanted to send a message as I didn't get a chance to chat to everyone after your performance at the weekend.


I was delighted with your performance of my 'Et clamabant'.  I'm well aware of the challenges in the piece (you're not the first choir to find it tricky!) and you did a great job of overcoming them.  Thank you for your evident hard work and perseverance.  It sounded wonderful.


Special thanks to Stephen for programming the piece.  What a co-incidence that he lives so close to Hawick!


Congratulations, again, on your wonderful performances,

Seán Doherty

Composer Et Clamabant


I thoroughly enjoyed the concert and felt the Phil was in truly fine form, well-disciplined in the presentation and the performances. Rhythmically alert and, in general, clarity of diction and good blending. Congratulations on a successful evening (and for Stephen’s really effective orchestration of the Jonathan Dove).

David Byers


What a wonderful evening - I loved it!!

Naomi Patrick

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