Pacific Chorale 2016 Concert Tour of Hungary and Austria

Pacific Chorale performs in St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest, Hungary

ACFEA’s Hugh Davies has been with the company since 1986, and has been arranging tours for John Alexander and Pacific Chorale for all that time. The list of tours is extensive and impressive, and many of them were groundbreaking at the time:

1988 Britain & France
1991 Estonia & Russia 
1993 China & Hong Kong
1998 Argentina, Uruguay & Brazil
2008 France & Italy
2012 France
2016 Hungary and Austria

Many of these tours involved collaborations with local orchestras, and John’s skill in teaching them unfamiliar music in the inevitably limited rehearsal time was always impressive. The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra now has Copland’s Old American Songs in its repertoire, and several orchestras in China gave premier performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, all thanks to John.

The 2012 tour, a residency in Paris, impressively demonstrated both John’s programming creativity and Pacific Chorale’s virtuosity: four concerts, in four different churches, with four different repertoires featuring composers associated with each church, in eight days. Highlights included performing Duruflé’s Requiem in Saint-Étienne-du-Mont (Duruflé’s church), with Thierry Escaich, Duruflé’s successor, at the organ; Widor’s monumental Mass for Two Choirs and Organs in Saint-Sulpice, Widor’s church; and, of course, Fauré’s Requiem in L’Église de la Madeleine, to an audience of over 1,000.

Pacific Chorale had invited Escaich to be the guest artist in one of their season’s concerts just a couple of months before the tour, and they repeated, and expanded upon, that concept in 2016. The brilliant young Hungarian organist, András Gábor Virágh, from Budapest’s St. Stephen’s Basilica, played at a Pacific Chorale concert just two weeks before the tour, and then played at all four concerts on tour: in St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Matthias Church in Budapest, and the Franziskanerkirche and Stephansdom in Vienna.

Pacific Chorale performs in the Matthias Church in Budapest, Hungary

All the concerts attracted large and appreciative audiences in these beautiful and prestigious venues. Hugh was especially pleased to be able to attend the one in the Stephansdom, enjoying the excellent renditions of three motets by Bruckner (including a spectacularly loud Ecce Sacerdos Magnus!), the rarely performed Laudes Organi by Kodály, and Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. He was also there to honor John’s final tour performance as artistic director of Pacific Chorale, ending 30 years of musical adventures around the world.

As John directs his final season with Pacific Chorale, all of us at ACFEA send him our warmest thanks for the wonderful relationship we have enjoyed and our very best wishes for the future.

To learn more about Hungary and Austria as possible concert tour destinations for your ensemble, please visit our Austria, Hungary and Slovenia destination page, or contact us.