The Minnesota Chorale, named principal chorus of the Minnesota Orchestra in 2004, has sung with the Orchestra for more than four decades. Founded in 1972 and led since 1995 by artistic director Kathy Saltzman Romey, the Chorale is Minnesota’s preeminent symphonic chorus and ranks among the foremost professional choruses in the United States. Best known for its work with the two major orchestras of the Twin Cities, the ensemble is equally dedicated to programs that build and enrich community. A seasoned artistic partner, the Chorale continues to explore new artistic directions and collaborative opportunities, while earning the highest critical acclaim for its work on the concert stage.
The Chorale will collaborate this season with the Orchestra for three classical programs including the first-ever Minnesota Orchestra performance of Stephen Paulus’ Mass for a Sacred Place in September and October, with Music Director Osmo Vänskä conducting; Elgar’s oratorio The Dream of Gerontius, led by Edo de Waart in April; and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, for season finale concerts in June under Vänskä’s baton. Among many performances in the 2016-17 season, the Chorale also appears during the Orchestra’s holiday season in traditional performances of Handel’s Messiah with conductor Douglas Boyd and “Jingle Bell Doc” with Doc Severinsen.
The Minnesota Chorale first appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra in a 1972 performance of Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, conducted by Henry Charles Smith. Since then, the Chorale has collaborated regularly with the Orchestra in performing such masterworks as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Handel’s Messiah and Verdi’s Requiem, and in presenting great modern works including Michael Tippett’s A Child of our Time, Aaron Jay Kernis’ Garden of Light and Leonard Bernstein’s Mass. In 2002 the Orchestra and Chorale premiered Sir John Tavener’s Ikon of Eros and recorded it on the Reference label. The Chorale is also featured on the Orchestra’s 2006 BIS recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a performance which drew significant critical acclaim and a Grammy nomination for Best Orchestral Performance, and on the 2008 CD release of Stephen Paulus’ oratorio To Be Certain of the Dawn, recorded by Vänskä and the Orchestra on the BIS label.
Now comprising ensembles for singers from ages 8 to 80-plus, the Minnesota Chorale is a multi-generational umbrella organization. The centerpiece of the Chorale’s community-engagement initiatives is the award-winning BridgesTM program, which draws on the richness of global choral repertoire to engage cultural communities and raise awareness of pressing social needs. With the founding of the Minneapolis Youth Chorus (MYC) in 2007, the Chorale deepened its community connections by creating this choral opportunity for Minneapolis Public School students in grades 5 through 9 to develop their musical gifts in an environment dedicated to the celebration of diversity and the pursuit of artistic excellence. MYC’s Prelude choir, for children in grades 3 through 5, provides an introductory choral experience for younger singers. Voices of Experience, established in 2010 in partnership with the MacPhail Center for Music, offers mature singers opportunities to achieve vocal excellence and enrich the community through song.
Highlights of the Minnesota Chorale’s performance history include three consecutive seasons as chorus-in-residence at the Aspen Music Festival, concerts in Mexico City with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, recordings of Haydn’s The Creation and The Seasons with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, representing the United States at the America Cantat III international choral festival in Venezuela, and premiering and recording Janika Vandervelde’s Adventures of the Black Dot, a landmark choral storybook for children.
For more information, visit mnchorale.org.