History






THE CHOIR

The Choir of the “Transylvania” was founded in 1972, during Sigismund Toduţă’s directorship. His initiative and perseverance were the key factors for the success of this project. The task to select the members of the new ensemble was given to the choir master Dorin Pop. He was a leader in choral conducting in Romania and the results with the Philharmonic Choir were spectacular: after only two years, the ensemble was already enjoying the first position among Romanian choirs, where it remains as to present days.

Dorin Pop studied philosophy at the University of Cluj (with P. P. Negulescu and Lucian Blaga), as well as music at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, now the “Gheorghe Dima” Academy of Music (with Augustin Bena, Marţian Negrea, Mihail Andreescu-Skeletti, among others). After graduation, he started his pedagogical career, first teaching harmony, later choral conducting at the Academy of Music. In 1955 he founded a small choir that was to become the chamber choir “Cappella Transylvanica”, with which he enjoyed major successes both home and abroad, and recorded four albums for Electrcord.

In 1972, he was given the assignment to lead the recently founded Choir of the Philharmonic. He set the tone for what the ensemble was to become, from the selection of its members to the definition of their sound and vocal style. 

 

In 1976, Florentin Mihăescu, Dorin Pop’s assistant, took over the direction of the choir. He made a notable contribution to the enlargement of the choir’s repertoire, and enjoyed the first international successes with the ensemble. In 1979, he was invited to work with the Choir of the Festival Junger Künstler in Bayreuth and, in 1980, he was highly appreciated at the Lucerne Festival.

In 1986, Cornel Groza took over the direction of the Choir. Charismatic, uncompromising, perfectionist, expressive and analytical in his work, Cornel Groza is a musical personality who built on the accomplishments of his predecessors, making a first-class choir out of an already mature ensemble. His formation, first as a member of Cappella Transylvanica (subsequently as its very leader) and a founding member of the Philharmonic Choir, Cornel Groza has remained faithful to the tradition of his masters while, at the same time, making his own voice heard: his history with the Choir is defined by the ensemble’s most important international achievements, acclaimed by audience and critics alike. 

The Choir’s radio and TV broadcasts, as well as their recordings have enjoyed critical appreciation. The most recent release is an Arte Nova album with works by Brahms (Ein deutsches Requiem, Nänie, Schicksalslied), with the Bucharest Philharmonic and conductor Cristian Mandeal.

In 2003, the Philharmonic Choir appeared on the soundtrack of Mel Gibson’s famous film The Passions of the Christ.

TOURS

The Choir’s first tour abroad took place in 1976 (in Italy) and was followed by invitations from the opera festivals in Pesaro and Martina Franca. An outstanding experience was the presence at the Lucerne Festival, for George Enescu’s centennial celebration (1981), where the Choir and the Orchestra performed the Romanian composer’s operatic masterpiece, Oedipe.

The choir has appeared under the baton of conductors such as Gary Bertini, János Ferencsik, Pinchas Steinberg, Shlomo Mintz, Michi Inoue, Leopold Hager, Maurice Handford, Pierre Cao, Stefan Anton Reck, David Shallon, Nicholas McGegan, Edward Tschiwjel, Erich Bergel, Cristian Mandeal, Lászlo Heltai, Donato Renzetti, Lü Jia, Claus Peter Flor, as well as with outstanding orchestras such as Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, Luxembourg RTL Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lorraine, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Nazionale RAI di Torino and Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia. The choir has performed in the most important Romanian festivals: The “George Enescu” Festival Bucharest, Cluj Musical Autumn, “Mozart” Festival, Cluj Modern, Iaşi Romanian Music Festival. The international career took the choir to prestigious venues and festivals in the world: Paris, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Schwetzingen, Wildbad, Koblenz, Zürich, Lucerne, Geneva, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Macerata, Ravello, Pesaro, Naples, Luxembourg, Cordoba, Assisi, Amsterdam, Athens, Madrid, Barcelona, Santander.

In 1996, the Choir appeared with Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Gary Bertini, performing La Damnation de Faust by Hector Berlioz ; one year later, the Choir was invited by the same orchestra perform Bellini’s Norma and Schubert’s Mass in G major, under the baton of Pinchas Steinberg. In 1998, the Choir was selected by RAI television to give concerts in Torino and Assisi, together with the remarkable RAI Orchestra conducted by Shlomo Mintz.
Major successes came, once more, on Israeli stages: Festival Liturgica 2000 in Jerusalem (where they presented three programs with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Gary Bertini, David Shallon and Nicholas McGegan, as well as a highly appreciated a cappella repertoire); a concert for the inauguration of the Terraces of Mount Carmel, Baha’i Temple, Haifa (the world premiere of Lasse Thoresen’s work Terraces of Lights); the opera festival in Caesarea (2000, with Puccini’s Turandot, Tel Aviv New Israeli Opera).

Since the 70s, the Choir has also been part of opera productions. Among recent engagements, there are the Festival in Caesarea (Israel, 2000), with Puccini’s Turandot, in collaboration with Tel Aviv New Israeli Opera; Ehrenbreitstein (Germany, 2000), with Verdi’s Nabucco; in 2002, with Verdi’s Aida, in collaboration with Koblenz Theater. The Choir is regularly invited at the Festival della Valle d’Itria in Martina Franca, where they have been part, so far, in the staging of operas such as Casella’s La donna serpente, Mayr’s Medea in Corinto and Mercadante’s Francesca da Rimini, under the baton of Fabio Luisi and released on DVD.

REPERTOIRE

Vocal-Symphonic

Johann Sebastian Bach – Matthäus-Passion, Johannes-Passion, Christmas Oratorio, Magnificat, Mass in B minor

Béla Bartók – Cantata Profana

Ludwig van Beethoven – Missa solemnis, Mass in C major, Symphony No. 9, Choral Fantasy

Hector Berlioz – Requiem, Grande messe des morts, Missa solemnis, Roméo et Juliette

Leonard Bernstein – Chichester Psalms

Alexander Borodin – Polovtsian Dances

Johannes Brahms – Ein deutsches Requiem, Schicksalslied, Nänie, Alto Rhapsody

Benjamin Britten – War Requiem

Anton Bruckner – Mass in F minor, Te Deum

Luigi Cherubini – Requiem

Paul Constantinescu – Byzantine Christmas Oratorio, Byzantine Easter Oratorio

Liviu Comes – Cântec în piatră (Song in Stone)

Claude Debussy – Nocturnes

Maurice Duruflé – Requiem

Antonín Dvořák – Requiem, Te Deum

George Enescu – Symphony No. 3, Vox Maris

Gabriel Fauré – Requiem

Charles Gounod – La Rédemption

Georg Friedrich Haendel – Alexander’s Feast, Samson, Messiah

Joseph Haydn – Die Schöpfung, Die Jahreszeiten, Missa in Angustiis, Harmoniemesse, Missa Sancti Nicolai, St. Cecilia Mass, Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze

Michael Haydn – Requiem

Tudor Jarda – Din Scripturi (From the Scriptures)

Zoltán Kodály – Psalmus hungaricus

György Kurtág – Colinda-Baladă

Constant Lambert – The Rio Grande

Franz Liszt –Faust Symphony

Gustav Mahler – Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, 8

Pietro Mascagni – Messa di Gloria

Felix Mendelssohn – Paulus, Elias, Lobgesang

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Requiem, Great Mass in C minor, Krönungsmesse, Missa solemnis, Eine kleine Freimaurer Kantate, Davide penitente

Marţian Negrea – Recviem-Parastas

György Orbán – Rorate Coeli

Carl Orff – Carmina Burana

Giovanni Paisiello – Magnificat, Messa di Pastorale

Krzysztof Penderecki – The Seven Gates of Jerusalem

Francis Poulenc – Gloria

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi – Stabat Mater

Sergei Prokofiev – Alexander Nevsky

Giacomo Puccini – Messa di gloria

Serghei Rahmaninov – The Bells

Maurice Ravel – Daphins et Chloé

Gioachino Rossini – Stabat Mater

Camille Saint-Saëns – Le Déluge

Antonio Salieri – Requiem

Franz Schubert – Mass in E-flat major, Mass in A-flat major

Igor Stravinsky – Oedipus Rex, Mass, Symphony of Psalms

Karol Szymanovski – Stabat Mater

Dmitri Shostakovich – Symphony No. 13, Babi Yar

Sergey Taneyev – John of Damascus

Lasse Thoresen – Terraces of Light

Sigismund Toduţă – Mioriţa, Pe urmele lui Horea

Ralph Vaughan-Williams – A Sea Symphony

Giuseppe Verdi – Messa da Requiem, Quattro pezzi sacri,

Antonio Vivaldi – Gloria

William Walton – Belshazzar’s Feast

OPERA

Vincenzo Bellini – Norma, I Puritani

Hector Berlioz – Benvenuto Cellini, La damnation de Faust

Nicolae Bretan – Luceafărul, Golem

Alfredo Casella – La donna serpente

George Enescu – Oedipe

Liviu Glodeanu – Zamolxe

Tudor Jarda – Pădurea vulturilor

Giovanni Simone Mayr – Medea in Corinto

Saverio Mercadante – Francesca da Rimini

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – La Clemenza di Tito

Giovanni Paisiello – Proserpina

Giacomo Puccini – Turandot, The Girl from the Golden West

Gaspare Spontini – Fernand Cortez

Johann Strauss – Der Zigeunerbaron

Sigismund Toduţă – Meşterul Manole

Giuseppe Verdi – La traviata, Nabucco, Aida, Simone Boccanegra