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One of America’s most distinguished choruses, the 152-member San Francisco Symphony Chorus led by Director Ragnar Bohlin is known for its precision, power, and versatility. The SF Symphony Chorus performs more than 26 concerts each season and is comprised of 32 professional and 120 volunteer members. San Francisco Chronicle classical music critic Joshua Kosman has praised the Chorus for its “tonal beauty” and “customary vibrancy and ardor.” Most recently, the Chorus can be heard on the SFS Media recording of Charles Ives’ Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 along with Music Director Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, released in November 2019.

Established in 1973 at the request of Seiji Ozawa—the San Francisco Symphony’s Music Director at the time, the SF Symphony Chorus has sung under the world’s major conductors, including SF Symphony Music Directors Michael Tilson Thomas, Herbert Blomstedt, Edo de Waart, and Seiji Ozawa; the Chorus has also performed with Kurt Masur, James Conlon, Valery Gergiev, David Robertson, Charles Dutoit, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Roger Norrington, Yuri Temirkanov, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Robert Shaw. 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 SF Symphony Chorus have won a total of eight Grammy awards, including three for Best Choral Performance. SFS Media’s recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony and Chorus won three 2010 Grammys, including the award for Best Choral Performance. Previous Grammys awarded to the Chorus include Best Choral Performance for Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem in 1995; Best Choral Performance for Orff’s Carmina burana in 1992; Best Classical Album with the SF Symphony for Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 and Kindertotenlieder in 2004; and Best Classical Album for the recording of Stravinsky’s Perséphone, as part of a collection of the composer’s music, in 2000. In February 2001, the Chorus made its Carnegie Hall debut in two sold-out performances of music by Mahler and Stravinsky with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. Members of the Chorus can also be heard on the SF Symphony’s complete concert recording of Bernstein’s score for West Side Story, released in June 2014, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and won the 2015 ICMA Award for Best Album.

The Chorus is also featured on recordings with Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony in Beethoven’s Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II, Symphony No. 9, and Mass in C major; Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Das klagende Lied; Ives’s An American Journey; and selections from Berlioz’s Lélio. The Chorus, under the direction of Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt, can also be heard in Grieg’s incidental music for Peer Gynt; its first recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, which was nominated for a Grammy; and a collection of choral works by Brahms. The Chorus has 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 with Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony in live concerts for inclusion in a PentaTone Classics disc of Getty choral works; and Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate’s Tracing Mississippi and Iholba with the SF Symphony for Thunderbird Records. The Chorus has released two solo recordings—Christmas by the Bay, which was released in 1998 on the Delos label and nominated for a Grammy in the Best Classical Crossover category, and Voices 1900/2000, released on the Delos label in 2001.

The Chorus appears in the second season of Keeping Score, the San Francisco Symphony’s national television program, in Ives’ Holidays Symphony. The episode aired nationwide on PBS in 2009 and is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and for free on the Symphony’s YouTube channel. The Chorus can be heard on the soundtracks of the films Amadeus, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Godfather III, and on the video/DVD release of the Emmy-winning Sweeney Todd with the San Francisco Symphony.

San Francisco Symphony Chorus

SOPRANOS

Naheed Attari
Sylvia Baba
Alexis Wong Baird
Katie Lynn Baker
Katelan Bowden
Arlene Boyd
Cheryl Cain*
Angelina Calderon
Sarita Cannon
Brianne Cardona
Lauren Cartwright
Mun-Wai Chung
Rachel Cooke
Stacy Cullison
Lauren Diez
Elizabeth Emigh
Sara Frondoni
Nina Groleger
Julia Hall
Axelle Heems
Hyun Suk Jang
Betsy Johnsmiller
Kate Juliana
Kimberly Kaz
Michele Elizabeth Kennedy*
Kyounghee Lee
Ellen Leslie*
Kelsey Linnett
Lane McKenna
Jennifer Mitchell*
Kate Offer
Erin O'Meally*
Laura Prichard
Aimee Puentes
Hallie Randel
Kelly Ryer
Natalia Salemmo*
Elizabeth L. Susskind
Joanna Taber*
Sarah Vig
Laura Westman Canavan
Lauren Wilbanks
Cindy Wyvill*

ALTOS

Carolyn Alexander
Terry Alvord*
AnnMarie D. Baines
Emily Bernier
Matthieu Brosset
Melissa Butcher
Karen Carle*
Enrica Casucci
Carol Copperund
Monica Covitt
Corty Fengler
Stacey Helley
Amy L. Hespenheide
Silvie Jensen*
Hilary Jenson
Cathleen Josaitis
Gretchen Klein
Donna Kulkarni
Katherine M. Lilly
Margaret (Peg) Lisi*
BrieAnne Martin
Flora Mendoza
Ruriko Miura
Abigail Monroe
Julia Morris
Brielle Marina Neilson*
Kimberly J. Orbik
Akane Ota
Laura Porter
Leandra Ramm*
Linda J. Randall
Meredith Riekse
Celeste Riepe
Gayle Sakowski
Jeanne Schoch
Tara Scown
Yuri Sebata-Dempster
Dr. Meghan Spyker*
Merilyn Telle Vaughn*
Mayo Tsuzuki
Makiko Ueda
Darla Wigginton
Hannah Wolf
Yangfan Xu

TENORS

Allan Ancheta
Paul Angelo
Armen Babikyan
Carl Boe
Todd Bradley
Seth Brenzel*
Dean Christman
Fausto Daos
Michael Desnoyers*
Scott Dickerman
Giacomo DiGrigoli
Thomas Ellison
Christian Emigh
Elliott JG Encarnación*
Samuel Faustine*
Ron Gallman
Kevin Gibbs*
Michael Jankosky*
Alec Jeong
Jimmy Kansau*
Drew Kravin
James Lee
Benjamin Lorenzoni
Ryan S. Peterson
James C. Pintner
Christopher Salinas
Eric Samelson
Tetsuya Taura
Thomas Teel
Troy Turriate
John A. Vlahides
David Von Bargen
David Xiques*
John P. Young

BASSES

Matthew Ahn
Brent Blackby
Sean Brooks
Philip Buonadonna
Jonathan Chan
Chris Cheng
Eric Choate
Adam Cole*
Noam Cook
James R. Cowing III
Reid Delahunt
Michael Fields
Rick Galbreath
Richard Glendening
Rob Lloyd Huber
Bradley Irving
Lukáš Janata
Mitchell Jones*
Rod Lowe
Tim Marson
Jameson McBride
Clayton Moser*
Matthew Peterson*
Greg Poirier
Michael Prichard
Mark Rubin
Tim Salaver
Peter Sargent
Chung-Wai Soong*
Storm Staley
Ben Taube
Michael Taylor*
Connor Tench
Evan Tiapula
David Varnum*
Nick Volkert*
Justin Vuong
Shawn Ying
Donald Ziff

*Member of the American Guild of Musical Artists