San Francisco Symphony Chorus
The San Francisco Symphony Chorus is among this country’s most distinguished choral groups. Highlights of recent seasons include the world premiere of Mason Bates’s Mass Transmission, the first SFS performances of Ligeti’s Requiem, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, this last work recorded for 2013 release on SFS Media. In 2001, the Chorus made its Carnegie Hall debut in music by Mahler and Stravinsky with Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS. Under the leadership of Chorus Director Ragnar Bohlin, the Chorus, numbering thirty professional and 123 volunteer members, performs more than twenty concerts each season. Established in 1973 at the request of then-Music Director Seiji Ozawa, the SFS Chorus has sung under the world’s major conductors. Louis Magor served as the Chorus’s Director during its first decade, and in 1982 Margaret Hillis assumed the ensemble’s leadership. The following year Vance George was named director, serving through the 2005-06 season. Ragnar Bohlin assumed the position of Chorus Director in March 2007. Recordings featuring the SFS Chorus have won eight Grammy awards, including three for Best Choral Performance: for Orff’s Carmina burana (1992), Brahms’s A German Requiem (1995), and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (2010). The Chorus is also heard on two SFS recordings honored with Grammys for Best Classical Album: Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 (2004) and Stravinsky’s Perséphone (2000). Other Symphony recordings featuring the Chorus include Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Das klagende Lied, Ives’s An American Journey, and selections from Berlioz’s Lélio. The Chorus may be heard under the direction of Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt in Grieg’s incidental music for Peer Gynt, its first recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (nominated for a Grammy), and a collection of choral works by Brahms. The Chorus has also recorded John Adams’s Harmonium twice, on ECM under Edo de Waart’s direction and on Nonesuch with the composer conducting; Gordon Getty’s Annabel Lee and Young America in a PentaTone Classics disc of Getty choral works; and Jerod Impichchaachaaha Tate’s Tracing Mississippi and Iholba for Thunderbird Records. Two solo recordings feature the Chorus: Christmas by the Bay (1998), nominated for a Grammy in the Best Classical Crossover category, and Voices 1900/2000 (2001), both on the Delos label. The Chorus is featured in Ives’s Holidays Symphony in Keeping Score, the Symphony’s national television program, and in the DVD release of the Emmy-winning Sweeney Todd with the SFS. The Chorus is also heard on the soundtracks of the films Amadeus, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and The Godfather III.