Handel Choir of Baltimore is a semi-professional chamber choral ensemble that presents yearly performances of Handel’s Messiah with period instrument orchestra, as well as other major choral and choral-orchestral works. Handel Choir takes pride in presenting a wide range of music and in performing throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area. Handel Choir presents baroque, classical and early romantic works, as well as modern and contemporary repertoire and commissioned works. Handel Choir’s collaborations include Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with Camerata of University of Maryland Baltimore County and performances with Baltimore Baroque Band, Harmonious Blacksmith, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Peabody Early Music and American Opera Theater.
Handel Choir also maintains an active schedule of performances and projects in the community, performing for civic events, educational programs, concert series and retirement communities. Handel Choir celebrated its 80th anniversary season in 2014–2015.
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 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