University Chamber Chorus
Course Number: Music 145
Marika Kuzma, director
Miriam Anderson, assistant director
Rehearsals: Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30pm, Hertz Hall
Description and History
The Chamber Chorus of the University of California, Berkeley is the university's premiere concert choir. A select group of some thirty-two singers, it is open to current students and alumni, staff, faculty, and singers from the greater Berkeley community. The Chamber Chorus singers regard music as their primary vocation or a passionate, serious avocation. Acceptance into the chorus is by audition. This year, the UC Chamber Chorus has been invited take part in a unique concert in New York City at the Weill Recital Hall, part of Carnegie Hall, on March 21st. This performance will feature three chamber choirs from across the United States, each performing innovative a cappella repertoire.
Sponsored by the Department of Music, the chorus performs a cappella and choral-instrumental works and is particularly acclaimed for its readings of early and contemporary music. In 2009, it performed Handel’s L’Allegro with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the Mark Morris Dance Group. In 2010-11, it performed Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel with the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio and James MacMillan's Seven Last Words with the Berkeley Symphony under Joana Carneiro. Last Fall, it performed the Vaughan Williams Mass in G at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and Berg’s Wozzeck under Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen in Berkeley and in Los Angeles at Disney Hall. The Chamber Chorus has also appeared in concert tours to the East Coast, Canada, and Europe. Its performances have been featured in broadcasts of the Voice of America, Public Radio International, and Austrian Radio. Critics from the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Opera News alike have praised the chorus as "excellent," "splendid," "electric." "The UC Chamber Chorus leaves no syllable unarticulated and no musical marvel unexplored" (San Francisco Examiner). Among Chamber Chorus recordings, its Handel Susannah on the harmonia mundi label won a Grammy award, and its Icons of Slavic Music is known in Eastern Europe as well as America.
The goal of the Chamber Chorus is to provide our singers and our audiences with a stimulating musical experience every semester. In any year, singers can expect to perform repertoire in a several languages and from various centuries. The chorus also aims to prepare singers for professional-level choirs after they leave the Bay Area. Several of our alumni now appear as soloists on professional opera and concert stages around the world.
The chorus is competitively selected from singer-musicians in the greater campus community: undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff. Some singers who are not directly affiliated with the University may also be admitted to ensemble. Singers in the chamber chorus are expected to have advanced musicianship skills and significant vocal/choral experience. Members of the chamber chorus typically regard music as their primary vocation or as a highly committed, passionate avocation.
Regular attendance at weekly rehearsals and participation in performances is required. The Chamber Chorus performs several times per semester, in Hertz Hall, as well as other venues such as the Berkeley Art Museum, Zellerbach Hall, and off campus.
Auditions take place before classes begin each semester and include a prepared song and sight-singing.
Audition information for all performance opportunities in the Music Department.
- J. S. Bach, Matthäus-Passion, Movt 4
With Alan Bennett, Evangelist, and baroque orchestra
Recorded live, Hertz Hall, 2006
- Brahms, Opus 62, no. 3 "Waldesnacht"
From CD Of Songs and Seasons
Recorded at Skywalker Sound, 2002
- Bortniansky, Choral Concerto No. 1 "Vospoite Hospodevi", movt. 1
Recorded live, Hertz Hall, 2005
- Thow: Cantico Movt. 3 "Sora luna"
from CD Eros and Dust, Palatino Records
Recorded in Hertz Hall, 2000
I Cried Out to the Lord, Naxos Records, 2013
The featured chorus on the CD includes many alumni of the UC Chamber Chorus
Liderman, Song of Songs, Bridge Records, 2005
Thow, Cantico, Chumash Songs, Of Eros and Dust, Palatino records, 2004
Of Songs and Seasons (Music of Johannes Brahms and Lesia Dychko) 2004
Dufay, Missa Ave regina celorum, Sanglier (a division of Wild Boar Records), 2003
Malkin and Stillwater, Graceful Passages, Companion Arts, 2000
Gibbons, Anthems & Instrumental Works, Centaur Records, 1997
Icons of Slavic Music, Americdisc, 1996
Armer and Le Guin, Uses of Music in Uttermost Parts, Koch International, 1995
Handel, Judas Maccabaeus with Philharmonia Baroque Orch., Harmonia Mundi, 1993
Handel, Theodora with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Harmonia Mundi, 1992
Feldman, Rothko Chapel, New Albion Records, 1991
Handel, Messiah with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Harmonia Mundi, 1991
Handel, Susanna with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Harmonia Mundi, 1990
Harrison, Lou La Koro Sutro, New Albion Records, 1988
- Sat. and Sun. Oct. 26 and 27, Crissy Field
- Sunday, November 10, 7:30pm
Concert at First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Maurice Duruflé, Requiem
Randall Thompson, “Let everything that hath breath”
Eric Whitacre, work TBA
Paul Brantley, Psalm 89 (world premiere)
John Tavener, Funeral Canticle (Bay Area premiere)
- Wednesday Noon Concert, Dec. 4, 12:15pm, Hertz Hall
Handel Messiah Part I
- December 8, 3pm, Orinda Community Church
Handel Messiah, Part I, repeat performance with student soloists and organ at 10 Irwin Way, Orinda, (925) 254-4906
Tickets available at the door on day of concert. This second performance is a fundraiser for the upcoming UC Chamber Chorus trip to perform at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, New York
For more information, see our events calendar