Sydney Philharmonia Choirs was founded in 1920, under the name Hurlstone Park Choral Society. Successes in Eisteddfod competitions led to performance opportunities with the ABC and other organisations, and to a contract in 1941 with the ABC as the Choir of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, in which capacity the Sydney Philharmonia has continued to act up to the present day.
Under Musical Director Peter Seymour (1968-1987), the Choir underwent a period of growth and expansion. Chorister numbers increased and the name of the organisation was changed to the Sydney Philharmonia Society (now Sydney Philharmonia Limited). In 1972 we launched our first subscription season, which began in that year with St Matthew Passion, still very much a favourite work of ours.
In 1984 Sydney Philharmonia founded The Song Company under the direction of Charles Colman. This group of professional singers acted as soloists in our performances and eventually became a company in their own right. In 1989 Lyn Williams was appointed the first Conductor-In-Residence and went on to found the Sydney Children’s Choir.
During Antony Walker’s tenure of the mid-1990s the subscription program was expanded and there was a new emphasis on contemporary music, especially by Australian composers, and a commissioning program was developed. In 1993 we moved into our current premises on Hickson Rd, and launched a six-year-long project to renovate the space.
In 2000 the position of Assistant Chorus Master was established – the first appointee was Brett Weymark, who was made Artistic and Musical Director in 2003. Over the past decade Sydney Philharmonia Choirs has continued to focus on vocal technique and musical excellence, and we have commissioned new works, from composers including Peter Sculthorpe, Moya Henderson and John Peterson.
Looking towards our centenary in 2020, we want to continue to celebrate and share the joy of communal singing, by presenting the 500-year-old art form of choral music for audiences at the highest standards of artistic excellence, both with key artistic partners and through our own programs.
SPC Music Directors
|1920 – 1927||Tom Downer|
|1927 – 1952||Vivian Peterson|
|1952 – 1963||Albert Keats|
|1964 – 1968||Ivan Rixon|
|1968 – 1987||Peter Seymour|
|1988 – 1991||John Grundy|
|1993 – 1997||Antony Walker|
|1998 – 2002||Mats Nilsson|
|2003 – present||Brett Weymark|