One of America’s most distinguished choruses, the 156-member San Francisco Symphony Chorus is known for its precision, power and versatility. Recordings featuring the SFS Chorus have won a total of eight Grammy awards, including three for Best Choral Performance. The SFS Chorus was featured on the SFS Media’s recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with MTT and the SFS, which won three 2010 Grammys, including the award for Best Choral Performance.
Highlights of the 2014-15 season included MTT leading the Chorus in performances of Ligeti’s beautiful and mysterious Lux aeterna, the first SFS performances of Foss’s Then the Rocks on the Mountain Began to Shout, Ives’s Three Places in New England, and Ravel’s complete Daphnis & Chloé. Herbert Blomstedt shared the podium with Ragnar Bohlin in an all-Brahms choral concert. The SFS Symphony Chorus was featured prominently in the MTT and the SFS’s Beethoven Festival in Missa solemnis, selections from his Mass in C major, Choral Fantasy, and concert performances of Fidelio. The SFS Chorus performs Handel’s Messiah every holiday season.
Led by Chorus Director Ragnar Bohlin, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus performs more than twenty concerts each season and is comprised of 32 professional and 124 volunteer members.
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