2017/18 Season Announced!
  • 2017-02-08

2017/18 Season Announced!

New works, multimedia presentations, performances of choral masterworks, and an expansive state-wide community singing project that will have global reach comprise the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 54th season.

(Los Angeles, CA) February 8, 2017 – New works, multimedia presentations, performances of choral masterworks, and an expansive state-wide community singing project that will have global reach comprise the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 54th season announced today by Artistic Director Grant Gershon and President and CEO Jean Davidson.
The 2017/18 season will see the choir present 9 programs in 12 concerts in Walt Disney Concert Hall from September 2017 through June 2018. The Los Angeles Master Chorale is a resident company of The Music Center of Los Angeles and the choir-in-residence at Walt Disney Concert Hall. 2017/18 will be the Master Chorale’s 54th season and Gershon’s 17th season as the Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director. Previously a blend of professional and supplemental singers, a significant personnel change in the 2017/18 season will be that the Master Chorale will have 100 fully professional singers, making it among the largest professional chorale ensembles in the world.
“This is a tremendously exciting season for the Los Angeles Master Chorale as we forge new relationships and bring Disney Hall to the world!” said Gershon. “I’m particularly thrilled to share the podium with the legendary María Guinand, our brilliant Swan Family Artist-in-Residence Eric Whitacre, and our fantastically gifted Assistant Conductor Jenny Wong; and to welcome guest artists wild Up and Kevork Mourad. From Bach and Brahms to Ellen Reid and Caroline Shaw, the Master Chorale explores and nurtures the fullest range of choral music imaginable, and our Big Sing California will allow people throughout the Golden State and beyond to sing along with one of the world’s great choirs.”
The 2017/18 season will be the second presented under President and CEO Jean Davidson who joined the organization in 2015. She said: “Engaging new audiences, especially those with limited access to the arts, is a priority for the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the best way I know to accomplish this goal is through programming. With the Big Sing California we will engage communities in under-served areas in the state, and this group sing will be shared globally through live-streaming. We are also focused on engaging the Venezuelan, Syrian, and Armenian communities next season with our guest artists. And while we will always perform the work of the great masters such as Brahms and Bach, supporting female composers and conductors is also a priority. We are the voice of L.A., and the voice of L.A. is diverse in the broadest sense of the term—age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, economic status—and we hope to reflect this from the stage in not only who we are, but what we sing.”


The 2017/18 season will further expand beyond Los Angeles culminating in July 2018 with a state-wide shared singing project called Big Sing California. The Los Angeles Master Chorale aims to engage with a broad cross-section of people throughout the state beginning in 2017 and leading up to a concert led by Swan Family Artist-in-Residence Eric Whitacre in Walt Disney Concert Hall in July 2018 that will be live-streamed. Expanding beyond existing choirs and singing groups, it will encourage people of all ages and abilities to find their voice and be part of a group experience, learning new techniques and songs together. No previous singing experience is necessary and the aim of the project is to be open to all.
“When you sing in an ensemble you learn compassion, you learn empathy, you learn discipline, you learn history, you learn focus—all of these things that are essential for every part of your life,” said Whitacre. “But with choral music you get the addition of language so you’re beginning to sing and think about the great questions of the human mystery: why are we here? What are we doing? What is love? What is death? You start to build an ethical foundation through the art that you’re singing. Then, on top of that, there is study after study showing the health and welfare benefits of singing. We now know that just singing together in a group reduces the stress hormone cortisol, it releases endorphins, it causes a sense of joy and euphoria and it creates a physiological bonding chemical between the people in the room.”
Participating Big Sing California groups will connect by learning the same pieces of music. A Big Sing California website will be developed and serve as a resource center for Los Angeles Master Chorale-curated materials and online tutorials to guide the participants in learning and rehearsing the program. Participants will be invited to connect with each other through the website and build an online community as the project progresses. On the day of the performance, some participants will attend and sing at Walt Disney Concert Hall while others will watch and sing via a live-stream, allowing for world-wide participation.
A Big Sing L.A. launch event will be held on Saturday, June 24 bringing people together to sing in Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles. This event will be part of the 2017 Chorus America conference being held June 21-24, 2017 and hosted by the Los Angeles Master Chorale and will be led by conductors Grant Gershon, Eric Whitacre, Rollo Dilworth, Josephine Lee, and Francisco Nuñez. Anyone interested in participating in these Big Sing events is invited to register their interest with Adrien Redford, Los Angeles Master Chorale Audience Engagement Coordinator, aredford@lamasterchorale.org.
The Big Sing California is supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation, with additional funding provided by the California Arts Council, and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
The Big Sing California project is in addition to the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s concert season performed in Walt Disney Concert Hall.


Saturday, September 23, 2017 – 2 pm
Sunday, September 24, 2017 – 7 pm
The season opens with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Grant Gershon honoring Leonard Bernstein’s centenary with a performance of his 1965 work Chichester Psalms, a musical depiction of Bernstein’s wish for brotherhood and peace blending biblical Hebrew verse and Christian choral tradition. The program continues with Carl Orff’s blockbuster Carmina Burana, last performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale under Gershon in 2013 and most recently performed at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel in 2015.
Guest soloists will be South Korean soprano So Young Park, American tenor Nicholas Phan, and American baritone Stephen Powell. Park’s Queen of the Night—her signature role—in LA Opera’s 2016 production of The Magic Flute was called “stunning” by the LA Times. Engagements with LA Opera this season have included Blonde in The Abduction of the Seraglio and Daughter of Akhnaten in Akhnaten. Phan’s voice has been described by Opera News as “one of the most beautiful young lyric voices around.” Phan will perform the title role in Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra for Cal Performances in October. Powell’s “rich, lyric baritone” (The Wall Street Journal) can be heard in Minnesota Opera’s world premiere of William Bolcom’s Dinner at Eight in March. Powell previously sang the baritone part of the Brahms Requiem with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Gershon in 2007.


Sunday, October 29, 2017 – 7 pm
Themed around death and celebration, and timed to coincide with the vibrant Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities that take place in Los Angeles over this weekend and also the Getty-led Pacific Standard Time LA/LA initiative, guest conductor María Guinand leads an a cappella program exploring a range of Latin American traditions with works by Mexican, Argentinian, and Cuban composers. Revered in her homeland of Venezuela and renowned worldwide, Guinand made her debut with the Los Angeles Master Chorale in 2010 as a guest conductor at the High School Choir Festival and returned in 2015 to lead a Community Sing event at First Methodist Church in Glendale.
About María Guinand
Guinand conducts two of Venezuela’s most prestigious choirs, the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela and the Cantoría Alberto Grau, with both of whom she has toured extensively and won many awards. Always interested in new choral music, she has been involved in projects such as the premieres, performances, and recordings of Osvaldo Golijov’s La Pasión según San Marcos and John Adams’ A Flowering Tree.
For over three decades, Guinand has been the Associate Conductor and Advisor of Choral Symphonic Performances and Activities for El Sistema, the world-renowned music program in Venezuela. She teaches in the Master Degree Program for Choral Conductors at the University Simón Bolívar, where she has been a professor and conductor for 28 years.


Sunday, February 11, 2018 – 7 pm
With its multi-year Hidden Handel project, Grant Gershon and the Los Angeles Master Chorale committed to presenting Handel’s great, but under-presented oratorios in collaboration with leading directors and artists. The project began in 2016 with a performance Alexander’s Feast directed by Trevore Ross and continues with this performance of Handel’s biblical oratorio Israel in Egypt.
Featuring the most choruses of any of Handel’s oratorios, Israel in Egypt chronicles the exodus of the Israelites and the plagues that besieged Egypt, the work’s story of human diaspora resonating today. To enhance the themes in the work and to complement the storytelling, the performance will feature dynamic projected artwork by Syrian/Armenian visual artist Kevork Mourad. Using drawing, animation, and film Mourad will also create “spontaneous paintings” in real-time from the stage during the performance. Now based in New York and committed to highlighting the Syrian refugee crisis in his work, Mourad brings a personal perspective to the oratorio’s theme of displacement and the entrenched human instinct to return home.
This will be the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s first full performance of all three parts of Israel in Egypt. It previously performed parts II and III in 2002 as part of its own concert series with Gershon during his very first season.
About Kevork Mourad
Kevork Mourad was born in 1970 in Kamechli, a town in the upper reaches of Syria.  Of Armenian origin, he received his MFA from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts in Armenia, and he now lives and works in New York. 
With his technique of spontaneous painting, where he shares the stage with musicians—a collaboration in which art and music develop in counterpoint to each other—he has worked with many world class musicians. He is a member, as a visual artist, of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, the only non-musician member of the group. Mourad and Silk Road Ensemble clarinetist Kinan Azmeh have presented their 60-minute audio-visual performance Home Within—an impressionistic reflection on the Syrian revolution and its aftermath—at the Kennedy Center and the Brooklyn Museum of Art among other prestigious venues throughout North America and Europe.

Sunday, May 13, 2018 – 7 pm
The Los Angeles Master Chorale presents the world premiere of a significant new choral work, dreams of the new world, by composer Ellen Reid co-commissioned by the Master Chorale and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street (New York). Featuring L.A.’s innovative wild Up ensemble, Reid’s new four-movement work is a poetic investigation of the American frontier mentality. Working with librettist Sarah LaBrie and lead researcher Sayd Randle, dreams of the new world’s libretto is drawn from interviews conducted by the creative team in Memphis, Houston, and Los Angeles, cities chosen for their history of expansion in addition to personal connections. Reid will workshop the new piece with the UC Irvine Chamber Singers and Director of Choral Activities Seth Houston.
The concert will also feature a performance of Terry Riley’s iconic 1964 minimalist work    In C performed by wild Up and 32 members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. The piece, which the composer says can be performed by ensembles of various size and for a varying length of time, has rarely been performed by choral ensembles.
About Ellen Reid
Ellen Reid is a composer and sound artist whose work “brims with canny invention” (LA Weekly). Reid’s work is largely collaborative and takes the form of opera, chamber music, electronic pop songs, scores for film and theater, and immersive interactive installations.

A former teacher, Reid has been a lifelong advocate for education. In 2016 Reid and composer Missy Mazzoli co-founded Luna Composition Lab, a mentorship program directed at young self-identified female and gender non-conforming composers, in partnership with Face The Music. Reid also has works in progress with cellist Johannes Moser, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, librettist Royce Vavrek, wild Up, Chromatic, VisionIntoArt, and Beth Morrison Projects. In November 2016 she was an artist-in-residence at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, New York.  In 2015, Reid and Sarah LaBrie created three chapters for the acclaimed Hopscotch opera project presented by The Industry.

Saturday, June 9, 2018 – 2 pm
Sunday, June 10, 2018 – 7 pm
The 2017/18 concert season closes with Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem Op. 45 conducted by Gershon. With expansive themes of life, love and death, the Requiem is a pillar of the choral repertoire and has been performed numerous times by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, its last performances in 2013 with Gershon. Other illustrious conductors the Master Chorale has performed this work with have included Roger Wagner, Robert Shaw, Zubin Mehta, Carlo Maria Giulini, André Previn, Paul Salamunovich, and Gustavo Dudamel.
Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique will be the guest soprano.  De Bique, who has been described as an artist with “dramatic presence and versatility” by The Washington Post, has previously sung the Brahms Requiem under the baton of the late Lorin Maazel with the Munich Philharmonic and L’Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana. She performed as a soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Santa Barbara Symphony in October 2016, and sang the role of Micaëla in Opera Santa Barbara’s Carmen in November. (Baritone soloist to be announced.)
The concerts will open with works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composers, Caroline Shaw and David Lang. Lang’s where you go is a rewriting of what he remembers as his favorite part of the biblical Book of Ruth, and the famous lines wherein Ruth tells Naomi that she will stay with her forever. Lang won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2008 for the little match girl passion that features on the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 2016 recording for Cantaloupe Music paired with Lang’s national anthems. Shaw was the youngest-ever recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for her Partita for Eight Voices. Fly Away I will be the first of Shaw’s works to be performed by the Master Chorale.

The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s Christmas concerts in Walt Disney Concert Hall have become a much-loved Los Angeles holiday tradition. These programs frequently sell out.
Saturday, December 2, 2017 – 2 pm
Saturday, December 9, 2017 – 2 pm
Los Angeles Master Chorale Artist-in-Residence Eric Whitacre will conduct this year’s perennially popular Festival of Carols matinee concerts that feature a selection of carols and songs including traditional favorites alongside new arrangements.
About Eric Whitacre
Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre’s concert music has been performed throughout the world by millions of amateur and professional musicians alike, while his ground-breaking Virtual Choirs have united singers from over 110 different countries. A graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School of Music, Eric was recently appointed Swan Family Artist-in-Residence with the Los Angeles Master Chorale having completed a five-year term as Composer-in-Residence at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, UK.
As conductor of the Eric Whitacre Singers he has released several chart-topping albums including 2011’s bestselling Light and Gold. A sought-after guest conductor, Eric has conducted choral and instrumental concerts around the globe, including sold-out concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. In addition to several collaborations with legendary Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer, he has worked with British pop icons Laura Mvula, Imogen Heap and Annie Lennox.
A charismatic speaker, Eric has given keynote addresses for many Fortune 500 companies and global institutions including Apple, Google, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the United Nations Speaker’s Programme and two main stage TED talks.


Sunday, December 10, 2017 – 7 pm
The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s Assistant Conductor, Jenny Wong, makes her solo conducting debut in Walt Disney Concert Hall with a program featuring the six Bach motets. It will be the first time the Los Angeles Master Chorale has performed all six motets on one program, and its premiere performances of Komm, Jesu, komm (Come, Jesus, come), BWV 229 and Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf (The Spirit gives aid to our weakness), BWV 226.
About Jenny Wong
Jenny Wong began her conducting career at Hong Kong’s Diocesan Girls’ School.  Since then, she has conducted and served as a music director and performed in Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, China, and across the United States. Her numerous accomplishments include conducting the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and Hong Kong City Chamber Orchestra.
In the U.S. she was assistant conductor of the Donald Brinegar Singers, and, at the University of Southern California, she was conductor of the USC Apollo Men’s Choir and recipient of the USC Chamber Singers Award.  Additionally, she has served as a conducting fellow for the Oregon Bach Festival, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Distinguished Concerts International New York, and Hong Kong SingFest. She was one of the youngest conductors to win two consecutive World Champion titles at the World Choir Games (China, 2010) and the International Johannes Brahms Choral Competition (Germany, 2011). 
In 2015-16 she was the Visiting Instructor of Choral Activities at University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music, where she was Music Director of the Pacific Singers, Oriana and University Choir, taught Choral Conducting and Sight Singing, and prepared choruses for the Stockton Symphony. Prior to that, she taught choral conducting at the University of Southern California, where she is ABD (All but Dissertation) for her Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting and completed her Master of Music degree.

Sunday, December 17, 2017 – 7 pm
Grant Gershon leads a performance of Handel’s Messiah sung by the Los Angeles Master Chorale. This year marks the 275th Anniversary of the first performance of Messiah in Dublin, Ireland. The following evening, the audience becomes the choir at the 37th Annual Messiah Sing-Along.


 Monday, December 18, 2017 – 7:30 pm
Following the Los Angeles Master Chorale performance the evening prior, Grant Gershon leads the audience in Handel’s Messiah at this annual sing-along event that attracts a full house each year. A VIP ticket package will be offered, giving people the chance to perform on stage with singers from the Los Angeles Master Chorale.