One of America’s most distinguished choruses, the 150-member San Francisco Symphony Chorus is prized for its precision, power and versatility. Winner of four Grammy® awards, the Chorus performs more than two dozen concerts a season. It’s equally adept singing the great works of Beethoven, Brahms, Stravinsky, and the music of John Adams. The Chorus, which Ragnar Bohlin has directed since 2007, has sung on many acclaimed recordings, including two of the Grammy®-winning Mahler discs that Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the Symphony made as part of the Mahler cycle they recorded over the last decade. The Orchestra and Chorus won their first Grammy®, in 1992, for their recording of Orff’s classic Carmina burana.
The Chorus was formed in 1972 under the leadership of Seiji Ozawa, then Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony. Louis Magor assembled the Chorus, serving as its director for a decade. He was succeeded by Margaret Hillis, the founding director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, who held the post for a year before Vance George took over as Chorus Director in 1983. George led the Chorus with distinction for the next twenty-three years. Bohlin continues that tradition of excellence. In 2010, the ensemble won the Grammy® for Best Choral Performance for the Symphony’s recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8. The Chorus, which made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2001 performing two sold-out concerts with MTT and the orchestra, brings together thirty professional singers and 120 of the Bay Area’s best volunteer vocalists.
The Chorus sang on the soundtrack for the Oscar-winning film Amadeus, and can also be heard in Godfather III, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and on the DVD release of the Emmy-winning Sweeney Todd with the SFS. It won the 1995 Grammy® for Best Choral Performance for Brahms’s German Requiem, and has recorded a wide range of other music, from Ives’s An American Journey to the popular Christmas by the Bay album. Other notable discs include the Chorus’s 2001 solo recording, Voices 1900/2000, a choral journey through the 20th century.
Mahler's 8th Symphony, winner of three Grammy® Awards