Building community through vocal music.
A rich tradition of great choral music and modern musical innovations mark Chorus Austin, a non-profit community-based organization dedicated to bringing great choral works to Austin and the Central Texas area. Under the Chorus Austin umbrella are its two ensembles: the Symphonic Chorus and the Chamber Ensemble. Each group offers a distinctive concert experience for both audience and singers under the baton of Artistic Director and Conductor Ryan Heller.
We strive to build this community by:
- Performing choral concerts and musical programs of professional quality;
- Providing artistic development opportunities to its members and the community;
- Bringing choral music to new audiences through outreach and education programs; and
- Initiating creative programming and introducing audiences to otherwise inaccessible music.
Founded in 1965 as The Austin Civic Chorus has become an award-winning symphonic ensemble specializing in large-scale masterworks with professional orchestras and soloists. The Symphonic Chorus, which includes up to 160 amateur and professional singers selected by audition, offers a cross-section of some of the best vocal talent and musical passion in Central Texas.
The Symphonic Chorus provides a strong concert season, including two major programs, its annual Sing-It-Yourself Messiah, and the wildly popular “On a Winter’s Eve” concert in December. The chorus has performed with the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Georgetown Festival of Arts. Chorus Austin has been on stage at Carnegie Hall, Bass Concert Hall, Dell Hall at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, and Riverbend Centre. In 2010, members of Chorus Austin journeyed to China to perform as part of the 2010 World Expo.
As one of the oldest continuously performing music organizations in Austin, Chorus Austin has amassed a succession of honors and awards including:
- 2012: Named one of the Top 10 Classical Musical Treasures of 2011 by Robert Faires of the Austin Chronicle for its performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle.
- 2010: National finalist, The American Prize, for a concert featuring Luigi Cherubini’s Requiem in C Minor, Loris Chobanian’s Kaddish for a Young Artist and the premiere of Chorus Austin Artistic Director Ryan Heller’s choral arrangement of El Moley Rachamin
- 2008: Nominated for Austin Critics’ Table award for the world premiere of John-Michael Cooper’s edition of Mendelssohn’s St. Paul.
- 2006: Austin Critics’ Table “Outstanding Symphonic Concert” award, shared with the Austin Symphony, for the performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, Babi Yar.
- 2003: Austin Critics’ Table “Outstanding Choral Concert” award for the concert, “The Mighty Russians.”
Intimate sounds and exquisite blend mark our Chamber Ensemble. The carefully selected 32 member chamber chorus performs smaller choral works ranging in style from early Renaissance music to contemporary pieces, accompanied or a cappella. Ensemble members have extensive choral backgrounds, the majority of whom are professional musicians. The Chamber Ensemble offers two performances a season and combines with the Symphonic Chorus for “On a Winter’s Eve” and other concerts throughout the year. Select high school choirs regularly appear on stage with the Chamber Ensemble in concert.
The Chamber Ensemble has performed on the stages of the Texas Choral Directors Association convention in San Antonio and the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Austin and as part of the Georgetown Festival of the Arts. The Chamber Ensemble sang at the famed International Festival Institute at Round Top in 2002 and returned as part of the Institute’s first Choral Festival in 2008. Members of the chamber ensemble regularly perform in small groups at the Dell Diamond, at nursing homes, retirement centers, schools, churches and for events such as weddings and conventions. Founded in 1985 as the Austin Handel-Haydn Society, the group joined with Austin Civic Chorus under the umbrella of Chorus Austin in 1999.