Handel Choir of Baltimore is an oratorio society of auditioned singers, currently about 40, with an 80-year history of performing choral and choral-orchestral repertory. In addition to its uninterrupted annual tradition of performing Handel's Messiah every year since 1935, Handel Choir takes pride in presenting a wide range of music, from classical to modern compositions, and in performing throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area.
With the arrival in 2004 of artistic director & conductor Melinda O'Neal, Handel Choir refocussed its perspective to include performance of baroque, classical and early-romantic music with an orchestra of original instruments. The inauguration of the Handel Period Instrument Orchestra has offered the Choir and its audiences a taste of how the music may well have sounded at the time of its first performances. Today the music can be heard afresh; phrasing, articulation, balances, text pronunciation and tempos are delivered quite differently from fashions audiences have become accustomed to over recent decades. This perspective on how the choral-orchestral music of Bach, Handel, Mozart and others sounded in their own time is offered to Baltimore audiences exclusively by the Handel Choir.
While the Choir remains committed to performing in a variety of earlier styles and genres, the organization performs 19th to 21st century music as well. Repertoire has included music of Fauré, Bernstein, Poulenc, Lauridsen, Duruflé and Berlioz. Handel Choir commissioned Requiem for the Fallen by Jonathan Leshnoff and The Song of the Shulamite by Donald McCullough.
Handel Choir performs in venues throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area, including concert halls, churches, chapels, synagogues and for civic engagements and retirement centers.
Photos by Will Kirk