About Belfast Philharmonic Society

Founded 1874

The Belfast Philharmonic Choir (affectionately known as "The Phil") is Northern Ireland's only symphonic choir. The Society's newly appointed chorus director is James Grossmith, who will be leading rehearsals from November 2022.

The 120+ strong choir performs at least four programmes per year, many alongside the Ulster Orchestra, including performances of Handel's Messiah every Christmas - a tradition that goes back as far as 1886!

We also travel and have performed in Derry/Londonderry and in Dublin.  In August 2017 we undertook a highly successful three date concert tour performing to full houses in Opole Cathedral and Christ The King Cathedral in Katowice, Poland and The Philharmonia Concert Hall in Lviv, Ukraine.

Phil Kids was founded in 2006 by Belfast Philharmonic Society with assistance from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and now has around 260 children in three choirs from ages 7-22 years old. More information on the Phil Youth Choirs can be found here.


Choir Repertoire

Our repertoire is varied and includes many major works - Mendelssohn's Elijah and Dream of Gerontius, Mozart Requiem, Brahms' German Requiem, works by Bach, Beethoven, Rossini, Bruckner and Karl Jenkins to name but a few, not forgetting our annual performances of Handel's Messiah.

Belfast Philharmonic Choir also endeavours to bring modern/new classical music to a wider audience.  Following the Cross Border Youth Choir's involvement with the world première of Patrick Hawes' Great War Symphony at the Royal Albert Hall, Belfast Philharmonic Choir was honoured to be one of the choirs from around the world invited to send singers to New York to take part in the US première.  

In our 2017-18 season there were two European premières, Stuart Scott's Requiem Brevis in November, and, in May, Christopher Marshall's Earthsong, the latter with our Phil Kids Junior Choir.  In 2015 we performed the world première of James Whitbourn's The Seven Heavens, written especially for us to commemorate our 140th anniversary.  In 2012 we sang in another world première - Titanic Requiem, a commemoration of those lost on the Titanic by Philip Hammond.  

Apart from the usual choral fare, Belfast Philharmonic Choir takes part in an interesting array of projects.  In May 2018 19 of our singers were excited to take part in the Game of Thrones Concert Experience European Tour, conducted by series composer Ramin Djawadi himself!  They formed the stage choir for two spectacular evenings, one at the 3Arena, Dublin and the other at the SSE Arena, Belfast.

We have also accompanied Katherine Jenkins at the Odyssey Arena (now the SSE Arena) and sung with Ennio Morricone and his orchestra for Belfast Festival at Queens.

Alongside the Ulster Orchestra we perform a range of concerts each season which have included Mozart's Requiem for Good Friday in the Ulster Hall, celebrations of the music of Star Wars and of Musicals in the Waterfront Hall, as well as annual festive performances. 
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