A CHRISTMAS CONCERT OF THE SLOVENE AND BRITISH PARLIAMENT CHOIRS
THE UNITED KINGDOM PARLIAMENT CHOIR
THE SLOVENE PARLIAMENT CHOIR KVORUM
KGBL AND MUSIC FOR THE FUTURE ORCHESTRA
Conductors: Simon Over, Ana Maria Beguš
Ana Beard Fernandez, soprano
Dominic Bevan, tenor
Robert Grisbrook, bass
Georg Friedrich Handel (1685–1759), Messiah, A Sacred Oratorio
Every Valley shall be exalted
And the glory of the Lord
Traditional, A maiden most gentle (arr. Andrew Carter)
William J. Kirkpatrick (1838-1921), Away in a manger (arr. David Willcocks)
Traditional, Ding dong, merrily on high (arr. Charles Wood and George Ratcliffe Woodward)
Ola Gjeilo (1978), Days of beauty
Johannes Brahms (1833–1897), Božična uspavanka (arr. Tom Varl)
Aleksander Mežek (1948), Božično drevo (arr. Tomaž Pirnat)
Unknown Author (1582), Gaudete from Piae Cantiones
Harold Darke (1888–1976), In the bleak midwinter (Christina Rossetti)
Adolphe Adam (1803–1856), O holy night
Lowell Mason (1792–1872), Joy to the world (arr. John Rutter)
Georg Friedrich Handel, Messiah, A Sacred Oratorio
There were shepherds abiding in the field
Glory to God
Come unto him
Franz Gruber (1787–1863), Sveta noč/Silent night
Folk song, Kaj se vam zdi (arr. Nicholas O’Neill)
John Francis Wade (1711–1786), Adeste fideles
Traditional, We wish you a merry Christmas (arr. Arthur Warrell)
Georg Friedrich Handel, Messiah, A Sacred Oratorio
The Slovene Parliament Choir Kvorum is composed of twenty-nine employees of the National Assembly and the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia who share the passion for artistic creation and preservation of the Slovenian cultural heritage. The name of the choir stems from the term ‘quorum’, a prerequisite for making decisions. Their repertoire is rich, including both classical Slovenian choral songs as well as choral arrangements of Slovenian pop songs and foreign choir literature.
The United Kingdom Parliament Choir, chaired by Lord German OBE, was founded in 2000 by Lord Filkin and Simon Over for those — MPs, Peers and Staff — who work in the Palace of Westminster, and now has over 120 full members united across traditional party divides by the common love of choral singing. The Choir has made active connections with choirs from other national parliaments and in 2010 performed Ryba’s Christmas Mass with the Czech Parliament Choir in Prague. In 2012 the Choir of the National Parliament of Korea came to London to sing with the Parliament Choir in Cadogan Hall. Together with the German Bundestag Choir, two significant and moving commemorative concerts were presented in Westminster Hall: in 2014 for the centenary of the outbreak of World War I they gave a joint performance of Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang, and in 2018 for the centenary of the Armistice, the choirs sang Mozart’s Mass in C minor. They have also performed in Notre Dame in Paris with engagement from L’Assemblée Nationale to great effect.
KGBL Orchestra is composed of members of the lauded Ljubljana Conservatory of Music and Ballet Symphonic Orchestra, and members of Music for the Future Orchestra, an artistic and humanitarian project of the Slovenian Youth Orchestra and partners which gives an opportunity to young Ukrainian musicians to safely evacuate to Slovenia and integrate into a new environment with the help of music. Since March 2022, more than 140 young musicians and their parents have come to Slovenia. They now play in various ensembles and an orchestra, achieving excellent results both in terms of integration and musical performance.
The KGBL Symphonic Orchestra has been active since the conservatory was founded in 1953. The aim of the orchestra is to introduce students to orchestral playing and literature, as well as offer the best students an opportunity to perform as soloists. The past directors of the orchestra have been Vinko Šušteršič, Franc Rizmal, Tomaž Habe and Živa Ploj Peršuh. In 2014, the conductor and pianist Slaven Kulenović took over. Under his baton, the orchestra has given a number of noteworthy performances both in Slovenia and abroad in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The orchestra regularly collaborates with Jeunesses Musicales Slovenia.
Aside from his founder and conductor role with the UK Parliament Choir, Simon Over is Music Director of Southbank Sinfonia and Artistic Director of the Music Festival in Anghiari in Italy. Further afield, he has conducted the City Chamber Orchestra in Hong Kong and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra in New Zealand. He has worked with many internationally acclaimed musicians. As a pianist, his performances with American violinist Miriam Kramer at the Wigmore Hall London and Lincoln Center in New York have received high critical acclaim. He studied at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, the Royal Academy of Music and the University of Oxford.
The Slovene Parlaiment Choir is conducted by pianist Ana Maria Beguš. She studied at the Academy of Music of the University of Ljubljana with Tatjana Ognjanovič, receiving her Master’s Degree with distinction in 2019. She currently attends courses by Ruben Dalibaltayan at the Music Academy in Brescia in Italy. Ana Maria performs and competes both at home and abroad and regularly participates in seminars and masterclasses of internationally renowned professors.
Dominic Bevan is a graduate of the Royal College of Music where he was awarded a Sir Gordon Palmer scholarship. Dominic has been the featured tenor soloist in many notable oratorio performances such as the Mozart Requiem, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, Verdi Requiem, Britten St Nicolas and many others. Recent opera roles include Tamino in Zauberflöte and Rodolfo in La Bohème for Westminster Opera and Lenski for The People’s Opera. He was a finalist at the 2019 Wagner Society competition at the Wigmore Hall.
Robert Grisbrook started his singing career at the Trinity Boys Choir, which afforded him an opportunity to spend a year in Princeton, USA, singing with the Princeton University Chamber Choir. On his return to the UK, he took part in several Opera Warwick productions and concerts with the University Chamber Choir under Paul McGrath. He was also a member of the ensemble Ex Cathedra directed by Jeffrey Skidmore. He later moved back to the US and earned a master’s degree in Vocal Performance and Literature at the University of Illinois School of Music, where he was also active at The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
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