Boston’s choral scene is one of the most active in the U.S., with frequent commissions and premieres of new choral works. Only New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles rival the Boston area for commissioning works from such a variety of choirs—amateur and professional, ranging from symphonic chorus through our local college choirs to community and sacred choruses. Here are a few listings to get you started singing or listening, with a short selection of choral commissions that have never been heard in Boston before!
How to Participate
The Greater Boston Choral Consortium is a subscription-based listing ($75-250 annual membership) of Boston-area groups, providing publicity (through an Boston choral concert listing and a printed list in the concert programs of member organizations), audition events and listings (for soloists and choral singers), and a bulletin board of current opportunities.
WGBH is accepting auditioning choirs for the second season of their TV competition “Sing That Thing!” Last year, 23 local groups competed, and finalists included five adult groups [the Boston City Singers (Dorchester), Fermata Town (Boston), None of the Above (Wellesley), Musica Sacra (Boston), and the Merrimack Valley Chorus (Wilmington)] and three student choirs [Boston Arts Academy Spirituals Choir, Ssockapella (Salem State), Syncopasian (MIT)].
Choral Arts New England is a free organization for all choral groups in the five New England states. It maintains a searchable Concert Calendar, a free listing of all every chorus in greater New England, and a newsletter. The board of this organization gives Alfred Nash Patterson Grants to roughly eight New England choral groups per year totaling roughly $15,000 annually, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1980. The 2015 recipient of the CANE Lifetime Achievement Award is Dr. Ann Howard Jones (with over twenty years of service to BU, the Tanglewood Institute, and several choruses led by Robert Shaw).
Choral Premieres for Fall
While Boston is home to several ensemble s that regularly present new chamber and orchestral music, the mounting of a major new choral work requires huge logistical and financial commitments. If you’re a fan of new music for voices, here are some premieres during the next three months you won’t want to miss:
New: 10/18 Marsh Chapel Choir (BU), Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium, and Boston Modern Orchestra Project combine to present the Boston premiere of Tigrum Mansourian’s Requiem
New: 10/25, 30 Seraphim Singers premiere a new anthem by Richard J. Clark (with other recent works by Carson Cooman and James Woodman)
Nearby/Worcester: 10/25* The Master Singers of Worcester present works in Mechanic’s Hall commemorating the centenary of the Armenian genocide,
including a premiere by Stephen Barnacle and works by Armenian composers
11/7-8 Lorelei Ensemble premieres William Thomas McKinley’s Ten Medieval Songs
11/15 Journey of Song Hospice Singers premiere Vermont composer Peter Amidon’s May Today There Be Peace
11/21 Spectrum Singers presents the New England premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’ Different Ways to Pray
12/4, 6 Boston Cecilia premieres Two Carols by Nicholas White on texts by David Evett
12/4, 12-13 Oriana Consort presents the Boston premieres of Canadian composer Timothy Takach (Winter Cycle, 2015) & Christoph Graupner (Welcher Glanz, 1717)
Nearby/Connecticut: The Vernon Chorale premieres their commission of Bryan Niedermayer’s Autumn Moon
12/18-19 Lorelei Ensemble premieres new works by Timothy Takach, Adam Jacob Simon, & Bryan Christian