The Slovak Philharmonic Choir is a prominent representative of the art of Slovak professional choir-singing. It originated in 1946 as the Mixed Choir of the Bratislava Radio and was led in its initial years by its founder, the conductor Ladislav Slovák. In 1955 Jan Maria Dobrodinský took over leadership and in this capacity, which he filled for more than twenty years, was actively involved in the development of the ensemble, incorporated in 1957 (under its present name) into the Slovak Philharmonic body. In 1977 Valentin Iljin accepted the fiction of Choirmaster and was later succeeded by an expert in choir-singing, Lubomír Mátl, followed by Štefan Klimo, Pavol Baxa, Pavol Procházka and Marián Vach. Blanka Juhaňáková (1991–2001) and Jan Rozehnal (1991–2003) continued in the tradition of growth and development of the choir’s level of interpretation. Since January 2005 Blanka Juhaňáková was a chief choirmaster and from 2013 is Jozef Chabroň the choirmaster.
During half a century of intense artistic activity, the SPCh has developed into a body of exceptional quality and today belongs to one of the foremost European ensembles of its kind. Its unique technical abilities, refined expression, perfectly balanced voices, interpretational skills, reliability and artistic discipline all add up to supreme performances filled with creative energy and strength that have been praised by renowned conductors like Claudio Abbado, Serge Baudo, Bertrand de Billy, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Conlon, von Dohnányi, Fedoseyev, Chailly, Gatti, Pedro Halffter, Kitajenko, ZdeněkKošler, Alain Lombard, Fabio Luisi, Maazel, Masur, Mehta, Franz Welser-Möst, Helmuth Rilling, Karl Richter, Pekka-Salonen, Pinchas Steinberg, Hans Swarowsky, Václav Talich and Ralf Weikert.
Apart from regular performaces at home, the choir undertakes frequent tours abroad, including most European countries, Morocco, Turkey and Japan.
The choir has cooperated with numerous prestigious foreign orchestras e. g. the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris. It has also contributed to the sparkle of prominent international festivals, like Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Perugia, Edinburgh, Berlin, Athens, Madrid, Paris, Munich and Strassbourg.
Its rich discography contains recordings for Slovak and foreign television and radio stations and for renowned recording companies like Opus, Supraphon, Deutsche Grammophon, Hungaroton, Sony, Marco Polo, Naxos, Nuova Era and Decca.
During the preceding 2014/2015 concert season, the Slovak Philharmonic Choir once again cooperated with the Vienna State Opera in productions of Tannhäuser by R. Wagner and Khovashchina by M. P. Mussorgsky, conducted by Semyon Bychkov and the Richard Wagner Festival in Wels, where the choir cooperated with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in a repeated production of Tannhäuser, conducted by Ralf Weikert.
The Slovak Philharmonic Choir opened the 2015/2016 season with concerts dedicated to the 200th anniversary of Ľ. Štúr’s birth, presenting the new Slovak oratorio by E. Krák – Pilgrims, under the leadership of Rastislav Štúr (Banská Štiavnica, Bratislava, Martin, Žilina, Paris and Berlin). The Choir again performed on the stage of the Vienna State Opera in productions of Khovanshchina with James Conlon and Boris Godunov. In February 2016 the Slovak Philharmonic Choir commemorated the 70th anniversary of its establishment with a celebratory à cappella concert. It concluded its anniversary season in July 2016 with a galaconcert in Brussels in cooperation with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and important
Slovak soloist (Fogašová, Breslik, Kocan) on the occasion of the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council. The 2016/2017 concert season will introduce a variety of top quality local productions, as well as interesting foreing concerts in countries like Spain, Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. In October 2016 the Slovak Philharmonic Choir will perform with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in the Oman Royal Opera House Muscat for the first time in Wagners Lohengrin under beaton Ralf Weikert.
JOZEF CHABROŇ, completed his studies in 2007 at the Academy of Performing Arts Bratislava, specializing in choir conducting under the leadership of Prof. Blanka Juhaňákova. As part of his final concert he conducted Beethoven’s Piano Concert Emperor and Mozart’s Requiem, in cooperation with the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina, Žilina Mixed Choir and soloists. From January 2006 he was assistant to the Chief Choirmaster Blanka Juhaňákova and he has been Choirmaster of the Slovak Philharmonic Choir since the 2013/2014 season.
He prepared the Slovak Philharmonic Choir for the performances of numerous vocal-instrumental works like Thamos, King of Egypt and Requiem by Mozart, Daphnis and Chloé by M. Ravel, Nocturne by Debussy, The Creation by Haydn, The Childhood of Christ by Berlioz, Lobgesang by Mendelssohn, Messa di Gloria by Puccini, Symphony no. 13 Babi Yar by Shostakovich, Stabat Mater by Szymanowsky, Persephone by Stravinsky, Glagolitic Mass by Janáček, the premiere performance of Missa pro defunctis by E. Krák and others.
During his appointment with the Slovak Philharmonic Choir he has up to now cooperated with numerous renowned conductors like T. Guschlbauer, D. Gatti, L. Zagrosek, P. Schreier, E. Villaumme, S. Baudo, N. Ballatsch, T. Lang, P. Vronský, F. Haider, P. Altrichter, R. Štúr, Ch. Campestrini among others. The most important achievement in his career so far has been the complete study and preparation with the Slovak Philharmonic Choir of one of the most demanding opera works, Schönberg’s Moses and Aaron for the Zürich Opera House, premiered in May 2011 in Zürich under the baton of the legendary conductor Christoph von Dohnányi.
During the 2014/2015 season he successfully cooperated with the Vienna State Opera in productions of Tannhäuser by Wagner (October) and Khovanshchina by M. P. Mussorgsky (November). In February 2015 he conducted an independent à cappella concert of the Slovak Philharmonic Choir. In May he once again cooperated with the Richard Wagner Festival in Wels in a production of Tannhäuser.
At the start of the 2015/2016 season he prepared the Slovak Philharmonic Choir for performances of the new Slovak Oratorio by Egon Krák (a total of 6 concerts at home and abroad. In September he again corporated with the Vienna State Opera in a repeated production of Khovanshchina and in May in Boris Godunov production by M. P. Mussorgsky. In October he conducted Rachmaninoff’s Vespers in Hamburg with a big success and in February a celebratory à cappella concert dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Slovak Philharmonic Choirs foundation. At the end of the 2015/2016 he prepared the choir for the premiere performance of the Carmina Austriaca in Grafenegg and conducted a special opening concert of the Viva Musica Festival with more than 200 young musicians and chorists from many European countries dedicated to the Slovak presidency of the EU Council