One of America’s most distinguished choruses, the 158-member San Francisco Symphony Chorus is known for its precision, power and versatility and celebrates its 40th anniversary in the 2013-14 season. Recordings featuring the SFS Chorus have won a total of eight Grammy® awards, including three for Best Choral Performance.
Highlights of the recent 2012-13 season include the SF Symphony's first ever full concert performance by an orchestra of West Side Story, performances of Beethoven's Missa solemnis and Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II with Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the SFS, Bach's Clavierübung III performed in its entirety with organist Paul Jacobs, Berlioz' seldom performed Te Deum with Charles Dutoit, the U.S. premiere of Levon Atovmyan's arrangement of Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible under the baton of Vladimir Jurowski, and the first SFS performances of the Kyrie, Gloria, and Agnus Dei from Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli.
Led by Chorus Director Ragnar Bohlin, the Chorus performs more than twenty concerts each season and is comprised of 30 professional and 128 volunteer members.
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Established in 1973 at the request of Seiji Ozawa, then the San Francisco Symphony's Music Director, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus has sung under the world's major conductors. Louis Magor served as the Chorus' 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. In 2010, the ensemble won the Grammy® for Best Choral Performance for the Symphony’s recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8.
A recording of the Chorus' performances of Beethoven's Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II will be available on SFS Media in November 2013, and their recording of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS was released in April 2013. 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 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