Bergen Philharmonic Chorus
Founded in 1919, the Bergen Philharmonic Chorus has roots going back to 1765 when the Music Society Harmonien (now the Bergen Philharmonic) was established for the purpose of organising orchestral concerts. The Chorus flourished during the tenure of Edvard Grieg as Music Director, his choral works still holding a special place in its repertoire.
The chorus thrives under Håkon Matti Skrede, its director since 2004, appearing regularly with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in standard symphonic repertoire, from Mozart to Britten, while also championing more unusual repertoire and contemporary works.
Highlights of its recent calendar include performances of Britten’s Peter Grimes and War Requiem, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass, Arne, Nordheim’s Wirklicher Wald, Schoenberg’s GurreLieder, Delius’ A Mass of Life, Wagner’s Parsifal, some of these in collaboration with other local choirs.
Many discs have received excellent reviews both near and afar, the recording of the Glagolitic Mass earning a Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance, and the recording of Peter Gimes won the Gramophone Classical Award for Best Opera performance and Gramophone Recording of the Year.
Håkon Matti Skrede is Chorus Master for Bergen Philharmonic Chorus.
Håkon Matti Skrede trained as a violinist and singer at The Grieg Academy in Bergen, Norway. As a singer, he has appeared as a soloist in numerous sacred works and taken part in several operatic productions and masterclasses.
He developed his skills as a choral conductor as a chorister and student choirmaster of the Drakensberg Boys Choir in South Africa. He founded the Edvard Grieg Kor (formerly KorVest) in 2002, Bergen Guttekor (now Edvard Grieg Guttekor) in 2008, Bergen Jentekor (now Edvard Grieg Jentekor) in 2010, and Edvard Grieg Ungdomskor in 2013. He is currently Chorus Master for Bergen National Opera and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, and Conductor of Collegium Musicum.
Håkon Matti Skrede has conducted a number of operas with children and young performers, as well as many large-scale sacred works for chorus and orchestra.
In 2017 he received a GRAMMY nomination for best choral performance for the recording of Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass, with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and choirs. In 2017 Bergen Council awarded him their cultural prize, and in 2018 he received the Alle kan synge-prize for his work with children.
Born in the UK Ellena Armelius studied piano at the Yehudi Menuhin School then at the Royal Academy of Music in London where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in solo piano and a Masters in piano accompaniment. After graduating she was awarded a Junior Fellowship at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.