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Press Releases

Press Releases

  • Houston Chamber Choir and Artistic Director, Robert Simpson, receive the American Prize Award

    HOUSTON, TX—confirming its role as one of the country’s leading ensembles, Houston Chamber Choir wins The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2015. In addition, the choir’s Founder and Artistic Director, Robert Simpson, receives the Prize in the Choral Conducting category. The award celebrates American excellence in the arts.

    “We take great pride in this honor,” says Robert Simpson. This triumphant news comes during a milestone year for the choir, its 20th anniversary. Prior winners of the award include Houston Chamber Choir alum and composer, Dominick DiOrio, 2014 winner of the Composition category.The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit, national competitions in the performing arts providing cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition for the best performances by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States. The American Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded annually.

    The Houston Chamber Choir is composed of 27 professional singers who come out the best conservatories and music schools in this country and abroad. “I am thrilled and honored to be part of an organization that has over the past 20 years enhanced the cultural landscape of the city of Houston and is now being recognized as a national leader in the field of choral music,” says Lorenzo Martinez, Executive Director of Houston Chamber Choir. “I congratulate the choir and Bob Simpson for their artistic excellence.”

    The 20th anniversary season continues with two more concerts, Mexicantos, exploring five centuries of Mexican choral music and Just Gettin’ Started, featuring a performance and commission for vocal ensemble by four-time Grammy winner Christian McBride and his jazz trio. TICKETS: Purchase tickets online at www.HoustonChamberChoir.org or call (713) 224-5566.


  • National Endowment for the Arts Awards More Than $27.6 Million Across Nation Includes $10,000 awarded to Houston Chamber Choir

    Houston, TX—In its first 50 years, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded more than $5 billion in grants to recipients in every state and U.S. jurisdiction, the only arts funder in the nation to do so. Today, the NEA announced awards totaling more than $27.6 million in its first funding round of fiscal year 2016, including an Art Works award of $10,000 to Houston Chamber Choir to support the commissioning of a work and performance by the Christian McBride.

    The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.

    NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The arts are part of our everyday lives – no matter who you are or where you live – they have the power to transform individuals, spark economic vibrancy in communities, and transcend the boundaries across diverse sectors of society. Supporting projects like the one from Houston Chamber Choir offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

    “We’re delighted to have such an outstanding jazz musician join the Houston chamber Choir for a performance of his groundbreaking work for choir and jazz trio.” –Lorenzo Martinez, Executive Director

    The Chamber Choir’s 20th Anniversary season reaches its climactic finish in an evening of jazz with virtuoso bassist and four-time Grammy winner Christian McBride and his trio. The program’s centerpiece is the world premiere of Mr. McBride’s groundbreaking work for jazz ensemble and choir commissioned for this occasion by the Houston Chamber Choir. This performance takes place Sunday, May 22, 2016, 4:00 pm at the Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center, Houston, Texas 501 Texas Ave
    Houston, TX 77002. For more information go to: HoustonChamberChoir.org.


  • HCC releases fourth commercial album, Soft Blink of Amber Light, featuring contemporary choral music

     

  • Announcing our 20th Season: 20 and Counting!

    We are proud to announce our 2015-16 season, 20 and Counting! The Choir’s 20th season will be one of exciting programming and surprises for audiences new and old, including: an audience pick of favorite musical moments from the past twenty years, a Sinatra-themed return to Miller Outdoor Theatre, dramatic music by Benjamin Britten and Mexican masters, our annual Christmas at the Villa concerts, and an evening of jazz with one of the genre’s foremost heavyweights.

    The Chamber Choir welcomes several special guests and collaborators in the coming year. Past choir members will join the current lineup for a season opening concert honoring the people who helped the ensemble flourish over the past 20 years. World-renowned conductor Anton Armstrong makes his Houston Chamber Choir debut as guest conductor for a special concert in November. The season comes to a climactic finish with four-time Grammy award winning jazz bassist Christian McBride and his trio for an evening of jazz and choral music. McBride and his trio will be joining the Chamber Choir for the premiere of his piece for chorus and jazz ensemble, commissioned by the choir.

    Houston Chamber Choir again offers subscription benefits for the 2015-2016 Season with two options for subscribers: a Full Season Subscription with reserved seating and a free "Friend of a Subscriber" pass, and a 3-concert Build Your Own Subscription. Both subscriptions include early ticket purchases before single tickets go on sale, discounts on additional ticket purchases, and exclusive program updates ahead of performances.

    Please note: Single tickets go on sale to the public August 1, 2015.

    Season at a Glance:

    Now and Then: The First 20 years
    Sunday, September 20, 2015, 4PM
    South Main Baptist Church, Houston, Texas

    The Original Jersey Boy - Frank Sinatra, Big Band to Vegas
    Sunday, October 11, 2015, 8pm
    Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston, Texas

    Ya Gotta Believe
    Anton Armstrong, Guest Conductor
    Saturday, November 14, 2015, 7:30pm
    South Main Baptist Church, Houston, Texas

    Britten: St. Nicolas Cantata
    Saturday, December 5, 2015, 7:30pm
    South Main Baptist Church, Houston, Texas

    Christmas at the Villa
    Saturday, December 12, 2015, 3:30 and 7:30pm
    Sunday, December 13, 2015, 3:30 and 7:30pm
    Convent of the Villa de Matel, Houston, Texas

    Hear the Future - 17th Annual Invitational Choral Festival
    Sunday, January 31, 2016, 4pm
    Grace Presbyterian Church, Houston

    Mexicantos: Five Centuries of Mexican Choral Treasures
    Saturday, March 5, 2016, 7:30pm
    Church of St. John the Divine, Houston, Texas

    Just Gettin' Started
    Christian McBride, Guest Artist

    Sunday, May 22, 2016, 4pm
    Cullen Theater in the Wortham Theater Center, Houston, Texas

     

  • The Houston Chamber Choir invites applications from singers in all voice parts

    The Houston Chamber Choir is a professional ensemble of 28 members. Now entering its 20th season the Chamber Choir has been described by Peter Phillips of the Tallis Scholars as “one of this country’s leading ensembles.” Upcoming season highlights include the premiere of a work for jazz trio and choir by Grammy-winning bassist, Christian McBride, a celebration of the choral tradition of Mexico, performances at the national convention of the American Guild of Organists, and the guest appearance of American conductor Anton Armstrong. Recent guest conductors include Paul Hillier, María Guinand and Simon Carrington.

    Please submit a resume, a brief cover letter, and a sound clip of a recently performed solo work to auditions@houstonchamberchoir.org. Auditions are held at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue, 77002, in downtown Houston.

    Auditions consist of:
    -2 prepared pieces of your choice, one in English and one in a foreign language. These solos may drawn from the art song, opera, or oratorio repertoire. They need not be memorized. An accompanist will be provided.
    -A sight-reading passage
    -Vocal agility and ear training exercises
    A conversation with the Artistic Director about your experience and personal goals.

  • Introducing Lorenzo Martinez, Executive Director

    The rumors are true- there is a new member of the Houston Chamber Choir family! Houston’s foremost professional choir is pleased to announce the appointment of Lorenzo Martinez as executive director. The new appointment comes as the Chamber Choir enters its twentieth season of presenting exciting, diverse, and world class choral music to the Houston area and beyond.


    “I am thrilled by Lorenzo’s appointment,“ says Houston Chamber Choir Founder and Artistic Director Robert Simpson. Adding, “He possesses a rare combination of personal warmth, administrative experience, fundraising expertise, and imagination. The Chamber Choir could not be in better hands.” Frances Kittrell, President of the organization’s Board of Directors adds, “His passion for the arts and his non-profit work experience is surpassed only by his energy and charm!”


    Martinez succeeds Becky Tobin as executive director, following Becky’s departure in December to assume the role of Vice President of Operations at the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

    For close to twenty-five years, Lorenzo Martinez has overseen the development, marketing, and communications departments for a number of non-profit organizations, among them, Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), for which he served as Vice President of External Affairs. He has represented these organizations at national and international conferences and has been a lecturer at several New York institutions such as New York University, the New School, York College of the City University of New York and the 92nd Street Y. Lorenzo Martinez holds a master’s in piano performance from Manhattan School of Music and a doctorate in music education from Teachers College, Columbia University. He has appeared as a pianist on radio and television.

    Hailing from Cuba, Martinez has written a book recounting his participation in an airlift that brought more than 14,000 children to this country to escape Castro’s regime. Described as “a tour de force” and “reads like a symphony,” Cuba, Adios is a poignant story of a boy who leaves family and his musical studies behind in search of political and personal freedom.


    Commenting on his new position as Executive Director of the Houston Chamber Choir, Martinez said, “I’m thrilled to have joined an organization that is synonymous with the highest standards in vocal chamber music. I can’t wait to see the Choir reach new heights and claim the successful future that is rightfully theirs.”


  • 2015 Annual Gala

    The Houston Chamber Choir’s upcoming annual gala "Giving Voice to the Future" will be held on Sunday, April 19, 2015 at the Rice Crystal Ballroom in downtown Houston. The event will benefit the Houston Chamber Choir, a 501 (c)(3) organization, and will honor Charles Schwab Co., Inc. a most generous supporter. The Houston Chamber Choir is a professional ensemble devoted to increasing the awareness, appreciation, and esteem of choral music and musicians through performance, outreach, and education.

    Nineteen years after its founding, the Houston Chamber Choir continues to build upon its record of distinguished performances and community engagement. We are pleased the Choir has begun the third year of its in-school residency, Rise Up Singing! at The Rusk School on the East side of Houston; this inspiring program is changing the lives of young students who have no access to music at school. Our goal is to add an additional school in the new school year. As a supporter, you can take pride in knowing you have furthered the success and community impact of one of Houston’s most significant performing arts ensembles.

    At last year’s event, the Houston Chamber Choir raised over $90,000 to support its performances and music education programs. This year, our goal is to raise over $100,000. The evening will include wine, dinner, live and silent auctions, and most importantly, music!


  • Mozart's Messiah Magic

    Mozart greatly admired Handel's Messiah and when asked in 1788 to perform it he happily agreed — that is, of course, after he'd given it a thorough updating. The Houston Chamber Choir brings Houston audiences a rare chance to hear this masterpiece as re-orchestrated by Mozart, complete with all the instruments then considered standard for a classical symphony: trombones, horns, and, Mozart's favorite instrument, the clarinet. What a team Handel and Mozart make! Handel's original intention remains unchanged. It will be performed in its entirety as an Easter reflection on the biblical depiction of the life, birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.


  • A Sea Change | Music of the Baltic Nations - with award-winning conductor Paul Hillier

    On February 21st, world-renowned conductor Paul Hillier makes his Houston debut leading the Houston Chamber Choir in passionate music from the Baltic Sea. In the late 1980s, the world watched in admiration as three little Baltic countries overthrew their oppressive Soviet regimes. Throughout their struggle for freedom the Baltic peoples gathered by the thousands to draw strength from choral music in what became known as "The Singing Revolution." We pay tribute to their courage and resolve in a concert of music by Arvo Pärt and his fellow composers from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

  • The future has never sounded brighter!

    Houston Chamber Choir presents Hear the Future: 16th Annual Invitational School Choral Festival, with St. John’s Singers, Arnold Middle School, and Klein Oak High School. Hear the Future pays tribute to the essential work done by outstanding choral music educators and their excellent choirs in our region. Concert-goers enjoy an afternoon of music while showing their support of arts education in our schools, leaving convinced that the future has never sounded brighter! A highlight of the Houston Chamber Choir season, this invitational school choral festival annually showcases three exceptional schools. This year’s invitees are the St. John's Singers from St. John’s School, co-directed by Angela Brill and Audra Parrish; the Bella Voce Women and Chorale Men from Arnold Middle School in Cy-Fair ISD, under the direction of Marie Parisot, Laura Martin, and Andrew Passmore; and the Klein Oak Chorale from Klein Oak High School in Klein ISD, directed by Michael J. Goede, Austin Dean and Bryanna Johnson.


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Audience Comments

Best choral group I've ever heard!

—Jan Kellogg

You are so versatile, so spirited, so excellent!

—Patron survey comment, after the Love Me Do! concert (May 2014)

Joy beyond description! So entertaining - gorgeous voices, fantastic dancing, instrumentalists. The conductor was so expressive and fun to watch.

—Patron survey comment, after the "Todo Unidos - Todos Cantamos" concert (February 2014)

This concert has become a family Christmas tradition!

—Patron survey comment, after the "Christmas at the Villa" concert (December 2013)

Beautiful singing - impeccable playing. Wonderful preparation and conducting.

—Patron survey comment, after the "Requiem for a President" concert (November 2013)

To submit your thoughts on your recent Houston Chamber Choir experience, please email paige.myrick@houstonchamberchoir.org.