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James Gilchrist becomes Polyphony’s Honorary Patron

We are delighted to announce that James Gilchrist has agreed to become our Honorary Patron. James has sung with Polyphony from our earliest days and has gone on to have a highly acclaimed international career. 


Tenor James Gilchrist began his working life as a doctor, turning to a full-time music career in 1996. His extensive concert repertoire has seen him perform in major concert halls throughout the world with renowned conductors including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Roger Norrington, Bernard Labadie, Harry Christophers, Harry Bicket, Masaaki Suzuki and Richard Hickox. A master of English music, James has performed Britten’s Church Parables in St Petersburg, in London and at the Aldeburgh Festival, Nocturne with the NHK Symphony in Tokyo and War Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony and the National Youth Orchestra of Germany.

Recent highlights include the role of Rev. Adams in Deborah Warner’s award-winning production of Britten’s Peter Grimes at the Opera de Paris, Teatro Real Madrid and at Covent Garden, as well as with Bergen Philharmonic cond. Edward Gardner at the Edinburgh Festival, Royal Festival Hall, Grieghallen and Den Norske Opera. Further notable appearances include Haydn’s Creation in a staged production for Garsington Opera and with Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Elijah with Goteborgs Symfoniker cond. Masaaki Suzuki, and Bach’s St Matthew Passion at King’s College, Cambridge as part of Stephen Cleobury’s final Easter week as Director of Music. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and the St John and St Matthew Passion feature prominently in James’ schedule, and he is celebrated as perhaps the finest Evangelist of his generation; as one review noted, “he hasn’t become a one-man Evangelist industry by chance”.

Highlights of the 2023-24 season include Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Richard Egarr, Handel’s Messiah with the Hallé Orchestra and Stephen Layton and with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Valladolid, and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on tour in Austria with L’Orfeo Barockorchester. Future plans include a reprise of the role of Rev. Adams Peter Grimes in his house debut at the Opera di Roma.

Portrait of tenor James Gilchrist, taken by Patrick Allen
James Gilchrist, credit Patrick Allen


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