The Minnesota Chorale has served as the Minnesota Orchestra’s principal chorus since 2004 and is now in its 27th season under the leadership of Kathy Saltzman Romey. Founded in 1972, the Chorale is Minnesota’s preeminent symphonic chorus, with a roster of over 200 singers. 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. In August 2018, members of the Chorale traveled to South Africa to perform alongside the Minnesota Orchestra in its historic concerts in Soweto and Johannesburg.
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 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 the Chorale premiered Sir John Tavener’s Ikon of Eros and recorded it on the Reference label. The Chorale is featured on the Orchestra’s 2006 BIS recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a performance which drew 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. The Chorale is also featured on the Orchestra’s disc of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, which was recorded in June 2017 and released in 2019.
Now comprising ensembles for singers from ages 8 to 80-plus, the Minnesota Chorale is a multi-generational umbrella organization. Among the Chorale’s independent initiatives are its nationally-recognized Bridges community engagement program, the Minneapolis Youth Chorus and Prelude Children’s Choir for students in Minneapolis public schools, the Voices of Experience choir for older adults, the Side by Side program for high-school tenors and basses, InChoir open rehearsals, and the Emerging Conductor training program in collaboration with the University of Minnesota. This season, in partnership with Border CrosSing, the Chorale debuts a concert series designed to reimagine the canon of choral music: guest conductors of color will lead singers from the two ensembles in works by composers whose music has historically been under-represented on the concert stage.
Highlights of the Minnesota Chorale’s performance history include three 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, premiering and recording Janika Vandervelde’s Adventures of the Black Dot, a landmark choral storybook for children, and premiering Ah Nagasaki: Ashes Into Light by composer Robert Kyr and librettist Kazuaki Tanahashi with choirs from Japan.
For more information, visit mnchorale.org.
Updated September 2021