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 choral ensemble. A select group of some thirty-five 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. Previous vocal experience and advanced skill in musicianship required. Acceptance into the chorus is by audition.
Sponsored by the Department of Music, the chorus performs a cappella and choral-instrumental works of vario and is particularly acclaimed for its readings of early and contemporary music. In 2008, it performed Steve Reich’s Desert Music and 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. 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 LA’s 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 University Chorus is to provide our singers and our audiences with a stimulating musical experience. It is also to perform at a pre-professional level in our own concerts and to prepare our singers for graduate study in music or professional choirs after they graduate. 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.
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
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 Lo Koro Sutro, New Albion Records, 1988
- Wednesday, February 13, 12pm, Hertz Hall
Noon Concert Valentines repertoire to include
Excerpts from Brahms Liebeslieder Op. 52, Beatles song arrangements
- Sunday, March 17, 6pm, San Francisco Conservatory Concert Hall
David Conte, September Sun,
- Saturday, April 20 (Cal Day!), 8pm, Hertz Hall
Combined concert with the UC Chamber Chorus
Various a cappella works related to the spring season (Chamber Chorus)
Francis Poulenc, Gloria (U Chorus) with chamber orchestra and student soloists
- Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11, 8pm, Hertz Hall
Concert with UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven Symphony No. 9
- May 25–June 5
Concert Tour TBA
For more information, see our events calendar