The Slovenian Philharmonic Choir was established as a professional choir in 1991. Initially known as the Slovenian Chamber Choir, it has been operating within the framework of the Slovenian Philharmonic since 1998. The choir was led by Dr Mirko Cuderman from its inception until the autumn of 2009. In the 2009/10 season, the leadership was taken over by conductors Martina Batič and Steffen Schreyer, with the latter serving as the chief conductor until the end of the 2011/12 season. In the 2012/13 season, Martina Batič took over the artistic leadership in its entirety, overseeing the choir’s activities until the end of 2017. In 2018, this function was performed by Gregor Klančič, and since February 2019 Dr Borut Smrekar has served as the choir’s artistic director.
The central artistic mission of the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir, as the only professional concert choir in Slovenia, is the performance of a diverse range of a cappella music – presented within the framework of its Vocal Subscription Series and other concerts – and vocal-instrumental music, performed with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as other Slovenian and foreign orchestras. Thus the choir enriches the Slovenian music scene and enables the audience to become acquainted with renowned Slovenian and foreign conductors, soloists and instrumentalists.
In addition to the most prominent Slovenian conductors, the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir has, since its inception, performed under the baton of numerous prominent foreign conductors, including Hans Bernhard, Tonči Bilić, Herbert Böck, Anders Eby, the legendary Eric Ericson, Gary Graden, Peter Gruber, Milan Horvat, Tõnu Kaljuste, Vladimir Kranjčević, Stephen Layton, Hans Leenders, Paul Van Nevel, Johannes Prinz, Grete Pedersen, Kaspars Putniņš, Lorenzo Ramos, Ragnar Rasmussen, Bart Van Reyn, Josef Scheidegger, Wolfgang Seeliger, Holger Speck, Robert Sund, Kurt Suttner, Jonathan Talberg, Günther Theuring, Gabor Ugrin and James Wood.
The choir has also been very active in the area of recording for many years, and it continues to record regularly today. Its discography comprises more than eighty CDs in the collections Musica sacra Slovenica and Slovenian Choral Music, encompassing a wide anthological selection of Slovenian choral music, both sacred and secular. In the autumn of 2012, the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir embarked on a successful European tour with a concert performance of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s opera Iolanta, culminating in a recording for the celebrated record label Deutsche Grammophon. For the album Sanjam (2014), featuring works by Ambrož Čopi performed by the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir conducted by Martina Batič, the composer received the Prešeren Fund Prize, and at the end of 2016 a recording of Damijan Močnik’s Oratorium Nativitatis – Christmas Oratorio was released, with performances conducted by Martina Batič and Borut Smrekar.
Since May 2016, the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir has been a full member of the prestigious European network of professional choirs TENSO.