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Phoenix Chamber Choir
Founded in 1983, the Phoenix Chamber Choir has established itself as one of Canada's finest vocal ensembles. Over the past 19 years, the choir has amassed an exemplary list of awards and honours, including first place wins in seven consecutive CBC National Choral Competitions. In 2002, Phoenix won first prize in the fiercely contested Chamber Choir Category and placed second in the Contemporary Music Category. The choir was again a double winner in both the 2000 and 1998 competitions, as well as the recipient of the prestigious 1998 Canada Council Healey Willan Grand Prize for best choir overall.
The 2003-2004 season marked the 20th for the Choir. In March 2004, our director, Ramona Luengen, was honoured to be chosen as a recipient for the first-ever Vancouver Arts Awards. Ms. Luengen was selected as a commissioned artist honoree by Martha Lou Henley, one of the choir’s longtime supporters. Ms. Henley, the honoree in the philanthropy category, chose Ms. Luengen specifically to receive a commission, which will be used to create a new work for young audiences.
At the final event in the Phoenix Chamber Choir’s 20th anniversary season, Phoenix collaborated with Canadian astronaut, scientist, physician and photographer Dr. Roberta Bondar, for Lost in the Stars, exploring the cosmos through word, music and image. Highlights included projections of Dr. Bondar’s photography of the earth and space and her eloquent thoughts and insights regarding the fragile, awe-inspiring beauty of our world. This concert was recorded for future broadcast on CBC Radio and featured the world premiere of Lost in the Stars, arranged by Miles Ramsay.
The highlight of the 2002-2003 season was the group’s concert tour to Germany and Luxembourg. Phoenix gave nine concerts in 20 days of touring and had the opportunity to sing in many magnificent venues such as Germany's oldest church, the1,600 year-old Trier Cathedral and the Romanesque Monastery of Maria Laach. The concerts were all well attended and received high praise in the German press. A compilation of the ensemble's finest performances abroad has recently been released on a double CD set entitled Phoenix: Live from Europe. "This two-CD set is a genuine ear-opener, fuelled by passion and ability that are impossible to fake." [The Georgia Straight].
In July 2000, Phoenix was invited to the Banff Centre for the Arts as Choir-in-Residence of the Millennial Choral Festival. As well as presenting several a cappella concerts, the group was involved in the Canadian premiere of Credo, written and conducted by the renowned composer, Krzystof Penderecki.
Invited as Choir-in-Residence to the 1996 Copenhagen Choral Festival, Phoenix presented concerts in the Danish National Radio Hall and in the city’s royal chapel, Holmens Kirke. The latter performance was broadcast live on Danish National Radio. In 1999 and 2000, portions of this concert were aired over a dozen times by the national radio stations of Croatia, Denmark, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Romania and the United Kingdom.
Phoenix strives to promote an appreciation of a wide range of music and styles. Its strong commitment to contemporary works, to Canadian music and to the Jazz idiom is a rare combination, and one that allows Phoenix to fill an important and unique role in Canada’s vibrant choral life. But perhaps more important is the choir's ability to enthusiastically communicate with and engage its audiences - an attribute fans comment on year after year. The aim of every concert is to present inimitably eclectic repertoire which challenges, captivates and delights.www.phoenixchamberchoir.bc.ca
Phoenix Chamber Choir recordings: