Philomusica Concert Choir

On May 23, 1969, an eight-member Hungarian Chamber Choir named Philomusica, conducted by Joseph Kovacs, had its first performance in New Brunswick. The concert included Bach's "Christ lag in Todesbanden". This small, dedicated group wanted to perform Baroque music—and created a choir that filled a void for central New Jersey audiences.

Over the years, the choir has performed a wide variety of musical works that are challenging, less familiar, or rarely accessible to local audiences. The choir's foremost mission is to reach our highest level of musical performance. Selected performances and works are listed below.

For example, in spring 2009, the choir performed selections "in Praise of Love", including Brahm's "Liebeslieder Waltzes" and Pinkham's "Wedding Cantata". In a totally different vein, in Spring 2011 Philomusica presented "Shakespeare, Brahms and All That Jazz", with Eli Yamin, noted jazz pianist and his colleagues, and in December 2012, the choir performed the Christmas portion of "The Messiah" with orchestra and professional soloists. In spring 2013, Philomusica's program included selections "From the Bay Psalm Book", "Shaker Songs", and the spirituals "Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit', and "Ain'-a That Good News". And in May 2015, Philomusica's program included Bob Chilcott's powerful "Requiem" with small ensemble and soprano and tenor soloists.

The choir is now in its 47th concert season (2015-2016). Our music director and conductor Dennis Boyle celebrated his 30th year with Philomusica in 2013.

The number of voices may have increased, but so also Philomusica's reputation as a classical music choir of uncommon quality. What makes this group different seems to stem from the original outlook of the founding members—a chance to perform challenging classical music well. Today's members still attend weekly rehearsals and truly try to create a sound that fills the hall—and ears—of its patrons. As with any musicians, warm-ups are essential. What happens with this choir is that the sound of the group is created during the warm-up period. Members know that rehearsals are hard work, but also incredibly rewarding. All members read music and practice the selections outside of the regular rehearsals.

Dedicated to the music—and dedicated to the task of making Philomusica the premiere classical choir of central New Jersey, all the members are involved voluntarily in the logistics of pulling together these stellar performances—from fundraising to ticket sales, reception organizing to community liaisons to "stage" managing. This is in addition to their "real" jobs—attorneys, stay-at-home moms, accountants, teachers—and many other areas of work, you name it. What brings them together is the love of the music, and knowledge that they perform it well.

Which isn't so different from those eight dedicated musicians who began it all.


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P.O. Box 6032
East Brunswick, New Jersey, USA 08816
Phone:  (732) 993-5400
Questions?   info at philomusica dot org
Website:  webmaster at philomusica dot org