Course Number: Music 145
Wei Cheng, Director
Auditions for the Chamber Chorus (Music 145) and private voice lessons for music majors (Music 168B) are held at the beginning of every semester. Please refer to the Audition Requirements for more details.
The UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus
The UCB Chamber Chorus is the university’s premiere concert choir. Known for offering our singers and audiences an engaging musical experience, each year the Chamber Chorus sings a cappella and accompanied music in many languages, and from the last 800 years.
The Chamber Chorus’s approximately 35 singers are 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, and to be passionately devoted to chamber choir singing.
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 in other on- and off-campus venues.
Singing in the Chamber Chorus prepares members to perform with professional ensembles after they graduate and leave the Bay Area. Many of our alumni now sing with professional choirs internationally and perform on major opera and concert stages One of our alumni, Clarissa Lyons, is currently an apprentice at the Metropolitan Opera!
Description and History
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 and works by Purcell under the direction of Matthew Oltman (emeritus director of Chanticleer). In 2012, the Chamber Chorus 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. In March, 2014, the chorus was one of three prestigious US Choirs to sing a concert of contemporary a cappella music at Carnegie Hall. In April, 2015, it performed the Bach B minor Mass in Hertz Hall and choruses from John Adams, Death of Klinghoffer in Zellerbach Hall. In March 2019, in collaboration with CalPerformances, the chorus sang the world premiere of the oratorio Dreamers, music by Jimmy Lopez and libretto by Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz, along with the professional choral ensemble Volti and the London Philharmonia under Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen in both in Zellerbach Hall and Bing Hall at Stanford University. 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 Grand Prix du Disque.
- 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