The Kennedy Center

The Choral Arts Society of Washington



Biography

The mission of Choral Arts is the pursuit of excellence in choral repertoire and performance, and the commitment to promote and share the art of choral music through education and public outreach.

Founded in 1965, The Choral Arts Society of Washington (Choral Arts) is a Grammy award-winning leader in the choral field and an icon in the DC cultural scene. Artistic Director Scott Tucker leads the chorus in an annual concert series of symphonic masterworks, innovative commissions, and diverse repertoire at the Kennedy Center and in intimate venues throughout the region.

Choral Arts’ reputation for artistic excellence is evidenced by frequent invitations from world-class ensembles. Choral Arts is a regular guest artist with the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) and performs annually for the nationally televised broadcast of A Capital Fourth. This year Choral Arts will perform Verdi’s Requiem with Gianandrea Noseda and the NSO and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Kennedy Center. Summer performances include Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanTM in Concert with the NSO and conductor Steven Reineke, and Steven Blier and Michael Barrett’s Bernstein at 100: A Celebration with the New York Festival of Song at Wolf Trap.

The history of Choral Arts is deeply rooted in the DC community. Aiming to create a chorus that represented the community at large, Norman Scribner (1936 – 2015) conducted city-wide auditions for the NSO’s Messiah concerts in 1965. Over 500 auditioned and Scribner created a chorus which became the Choral Arts Society of Washington. After nearly 50 years that encompassed groundbreaking performances that established Choral Arts as a premier symphonic chorus on the international stage, Scott Tucker was named Artistic Director in 2012.

Under Tucker’s leadership, Choral Arts’ reputation has continued to grow and the organization has expanded to include three performing ensembles: the Choral Arts Chorus, Chamber Singers, and Youth Choir. Deeply committed to supporting new music, Tucker continually programs world premieres, Choral Arts commissions, and performances of recently composed works. In addition to his Choral Arts activities, Tucker is regularly invited to teach, speak, and conduct with a variety of local, national, and international organizations.

Other world-class orchestras that have extended invitations to Choral Arts include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, and the Mariinsky Orchestra. The chorus has performed under the baton of legendary conductors such as Christoph Eschenbach, Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Choral Arts has been honored with the Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education and two Mayor’s Arts Awards for Excellence in Artistic Discipline.

Committed to community outreach and education, Choral Arts presents an annual choral tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. concert in partnership with Washington Performing Arts, which includes the presentation of the Choral Arts Humanitarian Award and a yearly Concert for Students, a performance which connects choral music to the history of the Civil Rights movement for DC area schools.

Choral Arts stands out as a leader among its peers not only for its artistic excellence, but its administrative leadership and educational portfolio, managing a budget among the top five American choruses with an endowment more than twice the size of the annual budget.
Choral Arts Society