University Chorus

Please watch this video from our performance at San Francisco Conservatory in March, 2013.

Course Number: Music 144
Nikolas Nackley, director

Rehearsal schedule:
Tutti rehearsals: Tuesdays/Thursdays 5-6:30pm, Hertz Hall stage
Sectionals: one Wednesday session per week 5-6pm, Morrison 125

Description and History


The University Chorus is a select ensemble of approximately eighty singers open to all musicians in the campus community: undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, community members. Acceptance into the chorus is by audition.

Sponsored by the Music Department, the chorus performs literature from the standard choral-orchestral repertoire to contemporary music. Along with concerts on campus under its director Nikolas Nackley, the chorus has been invited to perform with the Midsummer Mozart Festival under George Cleve (Beethoven Ninth Symphony), the Oakland-East Bay Symphony under Michael Morgan (Gershwin Porgy & Bess), and with the Berkeley Symphony under Kent Nagano and Joana Carneiro. Its concerts have met with enthusiastic  reviews from the local press. “The University Chorus is “very impressive in sonority, quality of tone and expressiveness.” (SF Chronicle). In 2011-12, the chorus collaborated with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra from Venezuela was a resounding success and Beethoven 9th Symphony with the UCB Symphony. Last spring, the chorus sang Mahler 2nd Symphony with the UCBSO. All met with sold-out audiences. This coming year, the Chorus will perform Orff Carmina Burana in the Fall and Mozart Requiem in the Spring.

The goal of the University Chorus is to provide our singers and our audiences with a stimulating musical experience. In any four-year cycle, singers can expect to perform repertoire in a several languages and from various centuries. Each rehearsal involves a combination of vocal instruction, ensemble training, and musical interpretation. Singers can expect to be challenged and enriched in many ways over the course of each year. Whether they see music as their vocation or passionate avocation, most University Chorus alumni continue to sing well beyond their years at Cal and many are accepted into the most prestigious choirs around the globe.


University Chorus is open to all students as well as members of the staff, faculty, and university community.

All new singer-musicians must audition in order to be admitted to the University Chorus.  Those students and community members who participated in the chorus during the  2016-2017 academic year do not need to re-audition unless they wish to be considered for solo opportunities in the Fall 2017 semester.

Fall 2017 University Chorus and 150B audition time signup sheets are located on the bulletin board outside the music office on the first floor of Morrison Hall

During the ten minute one-on-one audition session, singers auditioning for University Chorus will be asked to vocalize and sing scales with the director to demonstrate their range. Singers may be asked to read one or more short sight reading excerpts to determine musical ear and sight reading skill. We will evaluate all of your skills as a composite. Sometimes singers with excellent ears and a pleasant voice but less developed sight-reading are accepted. Sometimes singers with excellent musicianship skills but less vocal experience are accepted. Whatever your level of skill, we will help you find a singing home on campus either in University Chorus, Chamber Chorus, or in other choirs at Cal.

150B audition information

Music 150B auditions for the Fall 2017 Semester will be held at the above times (Music 144).  All students (new and returning) interested in participating in 150B should sign up on for one of the times on the University Chorus audition sign-up sheet posted outside the music office in Morrison Hall.  Students can not participate in the 150B program without auditioning or re-auditioning at the beginning of the academic year.

Director Nackley will make your first acquaintance at the audition, and if you wish to be considered for placement in the University Chorus as well, your audition will serve as your choral and 150B audition. Please note, if you are only planning to audition for Chamber Chorus but wish to be considered for 150B, you must still sign up for an audition Director Nackley using the above link. Since Music 150 is open to Music Majors only, you should also be sure to declare the Music Major or fulfill the entrance exam for the Music Major.

For information on the chorus audition process, see the University Chorus and/or Chamber Chorus websites. For the 150B audition, please prepare two contrasting pieces of your own choice from your previous vocal study: an artsong, aria, folk song, etc. No accompanist will be provided, however you are welcome to bring your own accompanist or to bring a recording: be sure to bring two extra copies of the music. At the audition, be prepared to discuss your aspirations as a singers, stylistic preferences, and previous singing experience. At the audition, students will be asked the name of the voice instructor they would prefer (see our roster). Students applying for the 150B program for the first time who would like assistance in choosing an instructor are highly encouraged to contact a voice teacher/voice teachers on our roster to schedule a sample lesson as soon as possible (at the instructor’s availability). Supervising faculty may provide guidance in selecting an instructor if the student so wishes, but choosing a 150 instructor is the responsibility of the student.

Students who wish to receive vocal instruction but are not Music Majors are encouraged to join the University Chorus or Chamber Chorus, both of which address vocal technique during rehearsals. Non Music Majors enrolled in University or Chamber Chorus who would like additional vocal instruction are highly encouraged to enroll in Music 410,Vocal Technique Class. For non-majors who are particularly serious about vocal study, some limited choral lessons may be available.

Fall 2017 University Chorus and 150B audition time signup sheets are located on the bulletin board outside the music office on the first floor of Morrison Hall

Audition information for all performance opportunities in the Music Department.

Sound Clips


Performance Calendar


Please watch Making Music at Berkeley from Sade McDougal on Vimeo.

Past performances