Photo by Sławomir Przerwa
The NFM Choir was founded in 2006 by Andrzej Kosendiak and since its inception functions under the directorship of Agnieszka Frankow-Żelazny. In a short space of time it has established itself as one of Poland’s leading choral ensembles, thanks to its rich and varied repertoire, which includes works from the Renaissance to the contemporary, and a cappella to vocal-instrumental in the form of oratorio, opera, and the symphony. It has collaborated with such distinguished conductors as Paul McCreesh, Giovanni Antonini, Jacek Kaspszyk, Krzysztof Penderecki, James MacMillan, Bob Chilcott and Jan Łukaszewski.
In a few years the Choir has performed over 200 times, collaborating among others with the Gabrieli Consort, Il Giardino Armonico and NDR Orchestra, giving concerts at the Salle Pleyel (Paris), the Barbican Centre (London), the Royal Albert Hall (London), Gewandhaus (Leipzig). It was a guest of the music festivals: Schleswig-Holstein, Gent van Vlaanderen, Wratislavia Cantans, Warsaw Autumn. In addition to regular performances with the other NFM ensembles, the group is touring Poland performing with leading polish philharmonic orchestras, including Polish Radio Orchestras in Katowice and Warsaw. It is often being broadcasted on the Polish Radio and abroad. In 2009 and 2011 it was the first Polish choir to be invited to the legendary BBC Proms. In 2011 at the Varaždin Baroque Evenings festival in Croatia it received one of the three main awards – the Kantor Award for exceptional performance of works by Johann Sebastian Bach. Whilst continually expanding its work across Europe, the Choir made its first tour of the United States of America in June 2013 and in October it performed with the world-wide known group The Swingle Singers.
The ensemble has participated in recordings of Franz Xaver Richter’s compositions under the baton of Andrzej Kosendiak (2009), Hanna Kulenty’s Music 4 album with Wrocław Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum under Ernst Kovacic (2011), Berlioz’s monumental Grande Messe des Morts (2011), Mendelssohn’s Elijah (2012), Britten’s War Requiem (2013) – all three under Paul McCreesh. The choir’s first own a cappella album, Words Painted with Sounds and a CD with Bob Chilcott’s music The Seeds of Stars were released in 2012. Future plans include concert in Ankara, Turkey in April 2014 and a new a cappella album to be released in June 2014.
'The Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir, familiar from it’s participation in the Gabrieli Consort’s outstanding recordings of Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Berlioz Grand Messe Des Morts, emerges extremely positively from this opening sequence [The Shepherds Sing]. Freshness of timbre, individuality in the four-voiced sections and genuine versatility of interpretative approach are major characteristics'.
BBC Music Magazine
'[Bob Chilcott’s CD] sung with warmth and commitment by the Wrocław Philharmonic [Choir]'.
Stephen Pritchard, The Observer
'The preparation of the Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny’s Choir was excellent; the choir carried out its musical task perfectly'.
'Fortified by additional singers from the NFM Choir, excellent Gabrieli Consort and Players had extra punch.'
'The composer’s abandonment of opera in favour of the expressive possibilities of choral singing was well served by a large chorus comprising the combined forces of the Gabrieli Consort and the NFM Choir […] the size and resonance of the voices thrillingly filled the auditorium at the big moments'.
'Afterwards, all the choruses were fully convincing – dramatic, with clarity in polyphony and with layered shades of dynamics – in Parts Two and Three of the oratorio. Evidently it took two choral numbers for the combined Gabrieli Consort and NFM Choir to settle.'
'McCreesh also supplemented the Gabrieli Consort with fourteen singers from Poland's NFM Choir, which gave the chorus a more flavoursome (and slightly less English) sound. Though the four voice sections blended well, each also possessed its own unique qualities. The sopranos' top notes were superbly rounded, whilst the altos produced a highly textured sound. The tenors possessed a quiet understated strength, their voices burning with passion from within, whilst the basses were cool, calm and reflective.'
Listen to NFM Choir: