NFM Choir

The choir was founded by Andrzej Kosendiak in 2006 as a resident ensemble of the Wrocław Philharmonic, which in May 2014 was restructured into the National Forum of Music. Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny has served as Artistic Director ever since the choir’s inception. Over a short period of time, the choir became a leading ensemble on the Polish choral scene. The NFM Choir has earned esteem by both expanding a rich a cappella repertoire and performing great oratorios, operas, and symphonic music. The list of collaborating conductors includes such excellent names as Giovanni Antonini, Benjamin Bayl, Bob Chilcott, Gabriel Chmura, Iván Fischer, José Maria Florêncio, Robert Hollingworth, Tõnu Kaljuste, Jacek Kaspszyk, Stephen Layton, James MacMillan, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Paul McCreesh, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Benjamin Shwartz.

Over a decade of activities, the NFM Choir has performed more than 300 concerts, appearing, among others, at the Barbican Centre and Royal Albert Hall in London, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Philharmonie de Paris, and Salle Pleyel in Paris. The NFM Choir has been frequently invited to international music festivals, such as Ankara International Music Festival, International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Heaven, Gent Festival van Vlaanderen, Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy, Jazztopad, Klarafestival, Musica Electronica Nova, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Serenade! Choral Festival, Warsaw Autumn, ISCM World Music Days, and Wratislavia Cantans. In 2009 and 2011, it was the first choir from Poland to appear at the BBC Proms. In 2011, it received one of the main three prizes at the Varaždin Baroque Evenings in Croatia – the Kantor Prize for an extraordinary performance of works by J. S. Bach. The choir has participated in the Choral Academy and Singing Europe projects. In addition to regular concerts with other NFM ensembles, the choir tours Poland, giving concerts with other philharmonic orchestras as well as Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra(Katowice) and Orchestra of the Polish Radio (Warsaw). Its international collaborations include, among others, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, B’Rock Orchestra, Gabrieli Consort & Players,Il Giardino  Armonico, Kammerorchester Basel, and the NDR Sinfonieorchester. The core of the ensemble’s activity are world premieres of choral and vocal-instrumental works, including works by such composers as Krzysztof Penderecki, Agata Zubel, Roxanna Panufnik, Rafał Augustyn, Paweł Łukaszewski, Julia Wolfe, and Bob Chilcott.

An important part of the NFM Choir’s discography is a series of recordings with Paul McCreesh released on his Winged Lion label and awarded prestigious awards: BBC Music Magazine Award 2012 in the Technical Excellence category (Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts), Diapason d’Or 2013 (Mendelssohn’s Elijah), BBC Music Magazine Choral Award 2014 (Britten’s War Requiem). A cappella works performed by the NFM Choir feature on a disc with music by Chilcott The Seeds of Stars (2012) and on three discs with Polish choral music: Words Painted with Sounds (2012), Folk Love (2014), and De profundis (2016); the latter won Fryderyk 2017 award in the Album of the Year – Choral Music, Oratorio and Opera category. March 2017 saw the premiere of the album with The Seasons by Haydn, recorded with the participation of the NFM Choir under the baton of Paul McCreesh. 2018 saw the release of the Ubi caritas album, the premiere recording of the original version of Phantoms by Moniuszko (Fryderyk 2019 in the Album of the Year – Choral Music, Oratorio and Opera category) and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, recorded with Giovanni Antonini.

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