Star soloists join Reading Phoenix Choir for Annual Concert

Choir breaks from tradition to perform Faure’s Requiem

After 48 singing seasons, Reading Phoenix Choir makes a break from the tradition of singing a selection of songs from ‘ madrigals to jazz’ to perform Faure’s Requiem as part of their Annual Concert. This concert is the celebratory event of the choir’s singing season. This year the choir will be joined by up and coming star soloists Morgan Pearse (Baritone) and Anna Sideris (Soprano), and accompanied by Organist Christopher Cromar.

The choir’s musical director, David Crown, says: “Following the success of singing ‘works’ at the choir’s annual Come and Sing events we have been encouraged to learn and perform Faure’s Requiem. We are always looking to try new things and to challenge ourselves, and have enjoyed this opportunity to explore a different area of musical history. It has been an exciting journey. We are now really looking forward to sharing our musical adventures with our Annual Concert audience.

Reading Phoenix Choir, one of the UK’s finest amateur choirs, was established in 1969. Its first performance was at the Morris Motors Music Festival in Oxford and it has since performed at venues worldwide, including the Royal Albert Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and Reading’s Madejski Stadium as part of the London Olympic 2012 festivities. The choir competed at the prestigious Cork International Choral Festival 2015 in Ireland in May 2015 and at Christmas won a national competition to be featured on Classic FM’s Drive.

The choir’s Annual Concert takes place on Saturday 6 February at 7.30pm, at the Concert Hall, The Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading RG1 1QH. Tickets are available herehere and range from £9.50 to £19.50 (£6 for under 16s).

Anna Sideris – Soprano
Anna is studying on the Advanced Opera Programme at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she works with Janice Chapman. While studying for her undergraduate degree at Oxford University Anna sang in masterclasses with eminent singers, such as Renee Fleming, Toby Spence and Ann Murray. She obtained her Masters from the Royal Academy of Music, where she was generously supported by the Kohn Foundation, the Josephine Baker Trust and Help Musicians UK; and performed the following roles in scenes performances: Fiordiligi Cosi Fan Tutte (Mozart), Ellen Peter Grimes (Britten) and Ariane Ariane et Barbe-Bleue (Dukas)

Anna has recorded two Fauré songs for BBC Radio 3 Music Matters, and performed Cinq Melodies de Venise (Fauré) at Kings Place, London. Recent concerts include Boulez Improvisations sur Mallarmé with the Manon Ensemble for Aldeburgh festival, Strauss Vier letzte lieder with the Oxford Millennium Orchestra, Handel Messiah and Mozart Mass in C performed at St John’s Smith Square. Anna has been working for the charity Live Music Now! since November 2014.

Anna was an Alvarez Young Artist for Garsington Opera in the 2015 season, playing Resi Intermezzo (Strauss) and 1st Fairy A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn). Other operatic experience includes Lucy The Telephone (Menotti) for Salon Opera, Tamiri (cover) in Il Re Pastore (Mozart) for New Chamber Opera, Monica in The Medium (Menotti) & Eurydice in Orfeus and Eurydice (Gluck) for New Chamber Opera Studio. Anna has been involved in education projects for Glyndebounre Opera and Garsington Opera.

Morgan Pearse – Baritone

During the 2014/15 season Morgan joined Houston Grand Opera Studio where his roles included Papageno (The Magic Flute), Yamadori (Madame Butterfly), Anthony (Sweeney Todd) and the cover of Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte). He went on to perform Figaro in Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles for Wolftrap Opera in Virginia.

This season Morgan returns to the UK and to English National Opera taking the role of Figaro (Barber of Seville) and appears at Wigmore Hall.

In 2013 Morgan was selected by YCAT and won the Gold Medal at the Royal Over-Seas League Competition. He subsequently took the title role in Owen Wingrave with Sydney Chamber Opera and made his debut with English National Opera as Pompeo (Benvenuto Cellini).

Born in 1988, Morgan Pearse studied at the Sydney Conservatorium & University and the Royal College of Music International Opera School, where he won the prestigious Lies Askonas Prize. He was selected by YCAT in 2013.

Christopher Cromar – Organist
Christopher Cromar was born in Scotland and was educated at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Chetham’s School of Music, the Conservatoire Superieur de Paris. He now works extensively as a conductor, pianist and organist on the concert platform and as a repetiteur and vocal coach for leading opera companies, choirs (including the BBC Singers and Halle Choir) and distinguished soloists. He regularly serves the vocal and opera faculties of several UK conservatoires.

Christopher has also pursued a career as a concert organist giving many recitals in Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, King’s College, Cambridge, Notre Dame and in Germany, Holland, Greece and the USA.

As a pianist he has performed extensively throughout Europe and made his debut at London’s Barbican Centre in 2006.

Christopher has broadcast on BBC TV and radio, Channel 4 TV and Radio France and he features on several CD recordings. A disc of music by Jonathan Dove on the Naxos label was released in June 2011.