The Gabrieli Choir

Would you like to sing in a choir that specialises in English sacred music?

The only choir in Hungary to specialize in the study and performance of Anglican cathedral music, the Gabrieli choir currently has around 25 members. It rehearses on Sundays from 5 to 8 in the city centre. The choir's founder and Musical Director is Richard Sólyom.

The choir's repertoire focuses on English music from the 16th century to the present day (e.g., Tallis, Whyte, Purcell, Vaughan Williams, Bairstow, Howells, Rutter, Gabriel Jackson and Paul Mealor). In common with performance practice in England, old works are frequently juxtaposed with new, English with non-English (e.g., Fauré, Kocsár, Sisask); and the whole is set in the context of the Anglican tradition.

The Gabrieli Choir gives concerts of this exquisitely beautiful – but in Hungary relatively unknown – music in Budapest's finest churches; it also performs it in its intended context, i.e., within the Anglican liturgy. The choir collaborates with guest conductors and ensembles and with other choirs visiting from abroad. It has premièred several new works, and its performances have twice been broadcast by Hungarian Radio. A recent highlight was a highly acclaimed first performance in Hungary of the Mass in Blue by Will Todd: an exuberant setting of the mass for choir, soprano soloist and jazz trio. Yet the choir’s next major concert could hardly have been more different: in December 2012 the choir was joined by an orchestra, soloists, and guest conductor in Parts 1-3 of the Christmas Oratorio by Bach.

Rehearsals are held mostly in Hungarian, although for the benefit of our non-Hungarian speaking singers, most important things are also said in English. A lot of members speak English, so language shouldn't be a problem. In the past, non-Hungarian members, when later moving on to pastures new, have consistently commented on the warmth of the original welcome they received, and the pleasure they experienced in being able to join a Hungarian community separate from their field of work or study, but with a vibrant shared interest. 

New members should have some musical experience, and in particular singing experience. Good sight-reading is important, as is a feel for chamber choir singing: in the more ambitious works there are often only two or three voices to a part. In this type of choir, it also fairly quickly becomes clear who can cope and who cannot, who fits in and who does not, so for this reason no auditions are held. (There are two main exceptions to this: when prospective new members are hoping to be considered for solo work, or if they join more than half way through a rehearsal period and would like to sing in the next concert.) Instead, all prospective new members are invited to try the choir out for a month, by the end of which everyone – the new member, the existing members and the conductor – will have formed an opinion on whether the relationship is likely to work in the longer term. Regular attendance at rehearsals is a vital prerequisite if the choir is to continue to improve its standard of performance. To this end, all members should attend at least 75% of rehearsals.

The Gabrieli Choir is currently looking to expand its membership, and is seeking enthusiastic new singers in the soprano, tenor and bass sections (alto applicants are invited to join a waiting list). There are solo opportunities for suitably qualified applicants.
If you are an experienced singer, are good at sight-reading, and would enjoy the challenge offered by studying and performing this stimulating repertoire in a friendly group, the Gabrieli Choir would very much like to hear from you. Please do get in touch.

Further information: Richárd Sólyom, Artistic Director

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