For more than a decade Polyphony has given annual sell-out performances of Bach’s St John Passion and Handel’s Messiah at St John’s Smith Square. These have become notable events in London’s music calendar and have been broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and the EBU. According to The Evening Standard ‘no one but no one performs Handel’s Messiah better every year than the choir Polyphony’, and The Times ‘would rate it among the finest John Passions I have ever heard’.Polyphony’s performance highlights include appearances at several BBC Proms, performing repertoire such as Arvo Pärt’s Passio, and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas; regular festival performances, including dates at the Aldeburgh and Cheltenham Festivals, and at the RTE Living Music Festival in Dublin; and numerous première performances including works by John Tavener in honour of his 60th birthday as part of the Barbican’s Great Performers series, and works by Arvo Pärt and Pawel Lukaszewski. Broadcast highlights include performances of works by Poulenc, Rautavaara, Tormis, Britten and Grainger for BBC Radio 3, works by Arvo Pärt for RTE, and an EBU broadcast of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
Polyphony’s extensive discography on the Hyperion label encompasses works by Britten, Bruckner, Cornelius, Grainger, Grieg, Jackson, Lauridsen, Lukaszewski, MacMillan, Pärt, Poulenc, Rutter, Tavener, Walton, and Whitacre. The disc of Britten, Sacred and Profane, won a Gramophone Award and a Diapason d’Or in 2001, and the choir’s première recording of works by Arvo Pärt, Triodion, was Best of Category (Choral) at the 2004 Gramophone Awards. Polyphony also received Gramophone Award nominations in 2002 for the Walton CD, and in 2008 for Poulenc’s Gloria, described by Gramophone Magazine as ‘a performance of real distinction … simply incredible’.