Our History

2012 – PRESENT:  UNDER THE DIRECTION OF MUSIC DIRECTOR DAVID HAYES, NYCHORAL (NEW YORK CHORAL SOCIETY) IS EXPANDING ITS ARTISTIC MISSION TO INCLUDE PERFORMANCES AND PREMIERES OF IMPORTANT COMPOSITIONS OF THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURIES ALONGSIDE TRADITIONAL CHORAL MASTERPIECES. 
 

  • 2012: Hayes’ inaugural performance as Music Director of NYCHORAL - Berlioz L’enfance du Christ at Carnegie Hall
  • 2014: New York premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s The Singing Rooms with acclaimed violinist Jennifer Koh
  • 2015: John Adams On the Transmigration of Souls and Hindemith When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d with the Mannes OrchestraThe New School of the Performing Arts and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City
  • 2016: Arvo Pärt Te Deum at Carnegie Hall 
  • 2017: New York premiere of James MacMillan’s St. Luke Passion

The chorus continues to expand its repertoire of traditional choral masterpieces to include Carnegie Hall performances of the Mendelssohn St. Paul, Handel Israel in Egypt, Beethoven Mass in C and Holst Hymn of Jesus.

NYCHORAL initiates a series of educational symposia to delve more deeply into the composers and works being performed. The first, in 2015, explores Felix Mendelssohn’s St. Paul and is followed in 2016 by Arvo Pärt Day, presented in conjunction with the Arvo Pärt Project and The New School. In 2017 a symposium exploring the music of James MacMillian is held at the New York Library for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center. 

A revitalized NYCHORAL CHAMBER CHORUS performs The Tempest with American Ballet Theatre at the Koch Theater in Lincoln Center in 2013. In December 2015, the group performs in a radical reinterpretation of Mozart's The Magic Flute at 80WSE Gallery. The performance was included in The New York Times' “The Best in Art 2015.”

 

1987 – 2012:  MUSIC DIRECTOR JOHN DALY GOODWIN CONTINUES THE TRADITION OF PRESENTING PREMIERES OF NEW CHORAL WORKS AND EXPANDS OUR REPERTOIRE OF MASTERWORKS.  NYCHORAL BEGINS PERFORMING ANNUALLY AT THE RICHARD TUCKER MUSIC FOUNDATION GALA AND WITH ANDREA BOCELLI. NYCHORAL TOURS IN CHINA, MEXICO, ISRAEL AND EUROPE.
 

  • 1989: A Holiday Celebration with Peter, Paul and Mary performance is recorded live and broadcast annually on PBS
  • 1993: Our first guest appearance at Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala. These annual performances, which continue to date, were once broadcast regularly on PBS and we perform with superstars of the opera world including Stephanie Blythe, Samuel Ramey, Bryn Terfel, Dolora Zajic, Renèe Fleming, Marcello Giordani, Thomas Hampson, Joyce DiDonato and many others
  • 1998: Performances of Mahler’s 8th Symphony at Avery Fisher Hall and The Philadelphia Academy of Music
  • 2000: Our first of many performances with famed tenor Andrea Bocelli
  • 2008: NYCHORAL performs at the Olympic Cultural Festival in Beijing

Commissions of new works include the Stephen Paulus Whitman’s New York, Joelle Wallach Toward a Time of Renewal and Paul Alan Levi Dayenu, A Passover Oratorio.

NYCHORAL performs the world premieres of the Del Tredici Of Cabbages and Kings, De Cormier Under a Greenwood Tree, Fraser Missa Iona and Ramírez Missa por la Paz y la Justicia as well as the New York premieres of the Glass Itaipu and Gorecki Beatus Vir.

Recording of Thompson Frostiana and Testament of Freedom.

The chorus performs regularly with Opera Orchestra of New York under the direction of Eve Queller. Performances include the Bellini La sonnambula, Delibes Lakmé, Rossini Guillaume Tell, Verdi Nabucco, Wagner Rienzi and many more.

Important guest performances include the 1988 New York City Ballet International Music Festival – Opening Night Gala conducted by Leonard Bernstein, the 1998 Grammy Awards with Aretha Franklin at Radio City Music Hall and seven performances in 2003 with American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House.

 

1970 – 1987:  UNDER THE DIRECTION OF MUSIC DIRECTOR ROBERT DE CORMIER, NYCHORAL GROWS TO 175 SINGERS AND EXPANDS ITS REPERTOIRE WTH NEW COMMISSIONS, WORLD PREMIERES AND CHORAL MASTERWORKS.  WE BEGIN PERFORMING AT CARNEGIE HALL, RECORD NUMEROUS WORKS AND BEGIN INTERNATIONAL CONCERT TOURS
 

  • 1981: Inauguration of A Holiday Celebration with Peter, Paul and Mary at Carnegie Hall
  • 1986: We perform with Pete Seeger at Carnegie Hall

NYCHORAL begins commissioning new works and presents world premieres of the De Cormier Four Sonnets to OrpheusLegacy andShout for Joy; Gould Quotations; Levi Mark Twain Suite; Benson Songs of O and Mayer Spring and Yes Forever.

Recordings during this period include the Fraser Christmastide with Jessye Norman; A Holiday Celebration with Peter, Paul and Mary, arr. De Cormier; Songs of Liberty, arr. De Cormier; Christmas is Coming; and Kodály Missa Brevis and Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor, which was nominated for a Grammy Award.

NYCHORAL repertoire expands to include performances of the Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem; Handel Israel in Egypt; Mendelssohn Elijah; Ives Psalm 90; Verdi Requiem and Quattro Pezzi Sacri; Walton Belshazzar’s Feast; Bernstein Chichester Psalms; Orff Carmina Burana; Fauré Requiem; Britten Voices for Today; Bloch Sacred Service; Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms; Honegger King David; Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor; Haazen Missa Luba; Henze Moralities and Martinu Military Mass.

 

1959 – 1970:  NEW YORK CHORAL SOCIETY IS FOUNDED IN 1959 WITH 12 SINGERS AND BEGINS PERFORMING UNDER THE DIRECTION OF ITS FIRST MUSIC DIRECTOR, MARTIN D. JOSMAN
 

  • 1960: NYCHORAL begins the annual Summer Sings program which continues to date
  • 1965: Debut concert at Philharmonic Hall (now David Geffen Hall)
  • 1967: Appearance in Bach and His Songs: The Overwhelming Legacy, an hour-long feature on National Education Television (now PBS)

The early years of NYCHORAL saw the U.S premieres of many choral masterworks including Vivaldi Credo and Magnificat, Charpentier Missa Assumpta est Maria, Blow Coronation Anthem, Bach Dies irae and Brant Sing O Heavens.

During this time NYCHORAL also performs the Haydn Creation and Der Sturm; J.S. Bach Mass in B minor and Magnificat in E flat; Mozart RequiemVenite PopuliVesperae de DominicaGrand Mass in C minor K. 427 and Inter Natus Mulierum K. 72; Pergolesi Miserere in C minor and Handel Messiah.

Anniversary Anthem
for the New York Choral Society at 50

Music greets me at the gates of sleep,
where I slip from weary to weightless
in a boundless realm. So too with singing –
our shared dream of blessèd possibility,
where we as one become the lost chord,
a soaring cathedral of voice upon voice.
We sing and music courses through us –
a silver river that lifts us up and leads us
down to the deepest waters of our selves.
We sing together & we blend & we listen.
And the song makes us better than who we are.
If only enemies would learn lullabies,
our bad-dream world might be blanketed with peace.

– Toni Mergentime Levi,
NYCHORAL member since 1983

© Copyright 2009 Toni Mergentime Levi