Philharmonia Chorus announces sudden death of its chief

Philharmonia Chorus announces sudden death of its chief


norman lebrecht

January 28, 2018

The following message was sent out to all chorus members tonight:

With overwhelming sadness we announce the sudden and unexpected death of our beloved chorus master Stefan Bevier who’s died in his home in Berlin. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family as he’s already missed. 

Stefan, who was 59, had worked with the Philharmonia since 1999 and as chorus master since 2010.

A member of the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic, he studied singing with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Schuch-Tovini and Aribert Reimann, and conducting with Sergiu Celibidache. He worked with Karajan, Eugen Jochum, Karl Böhm, Leonard Bernstein, Charles Dutoit, Lorin Maazel, Colin Davis, Riccardo Muti, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Christoph von Dohnányi, Vladimir Ashkenazy and many more.


  • Timothy Newton says:

    I don’t want to start this thread. It doesn’t seem possible. But having sung, and even deputized, for Stefan over thirteen years, I can tell you that the loss is achingly profound. Words won’t capture the essence of working under him and all of the choristers know it. Stefan was compelling in every area of his life. He was controversial as well. And he had his own curious label of black clothing. But there was no mistaking the vocal or musical ideal that he demanded. His germanic sensibilities and training repeatedly brought sheen and fervor to tired, dusty, and overly-trodden repertory. Every single choral performance was galvanized by his meticulous, uncompromising, and unrelenting rehearsing. I wish I could hear him yelling, “Nacheinmal!” one more time. Overwhelmed by his presence and now his loss.

  • Jerome Hoberman says:

    This news is so shocking, and so sad. Stefan prepared The Hong Kong Bach Choir for a performance of Beethoven 9th and the Villa-Lobos Choros No. 10 six years ago, splendidly in a technical sense and with infectious enthusiasm; the singers outdid themselves for him. He was also delightful company in the pub after rehearsals, and remained a good friend. This is a major loss in so many ways…

  • Sharon says:

    As a nurse I know that a lot of deaths happen around the change of seasons or when weather is really changeable but the announcement of so many deaths of youngish yet prominent people on Slipped Disc is eerie. Is there some sort of a curse now on classical music? I did not see the MET’s production of The Avenging Angel but I can’t help but wonder, who could be next?

    • Una says:

      It’s very sad news, Sharon, but not a curse on either classical music or life. It’s just we here about it all much quicker and therefore so many deaths every day that we never get to hear about as well. It is also a reminder that life is precious and to make the most of it, not take it for granted, and go make a difference, like Stefan did and you do as a nurse, as it can be taken away at any time and we don’t always choose. So many will miss Stefan so much as a person.

  • Alexander Radziewski says:

    I know Stefan for more than 40 years from Youth Orchestra times and I am totally shocked to hear about his sudden death. Shall he rest in peace.

  • Christopher Beynon says:

    News of Stefan’s death has been a great shock to all. As a member of the chorus since 2011, just a year into his tenure, I will miss his dedication and professionalism. Rehearsals with Stefan could be mentally and physically tough, but this approach was always borne out by the excellence of the results. It also must be said that Stefan was a ‘character’, like no one else that I have known. Some of his comments at rehearsals (“you basses sound like Scottish farmers!”) have left me laughing so much that I have on occasion found myself unable to sing! Things will never be quite the same again, for there is only one Stefan Bevier.

  • Andrew Martin says:

    I wholeheartedly endorse my good friends Tim Newton’s and Chris Beynon’s words.
    Stefan brought his infectious enthusiasm and dedication to every rehearsal and every performance.
    He was uncompromising in his determination to achieve HIS quality of performance. He knew what he wanted and he knew how to motivate his chorus to achieve as faultless a performance as it’s possible to get, not forgetting our hugely talented accompanist Timothy End who was the other half of the double act.
    It was always a joy at the end of a concert, as the conductor laid down his baton, to feel that we really had done justice to the work and couldn’t have done it any better.
    Whatever the tribulations along the way, nothing could take that away from Stefan or HIS chorus.