Now in his twenty-first season as director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Duain Wolfe has prepared over a hundred programs in Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival, as well as many works for commercial recordings. Wolfe also directs choral works at the Aspen Music Festival and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and he is founder-director of the Colorado Symphony Chorus, a position he maintains along with his Chicago Symphony Chorus post.
Winner of two Grammy awards in 2010 (Best Choral Performance, Best Classical Album) for the Chicago Symphony’s recording of Verdi’s Requiem with Riccardo Muti, in 2012, Wolfe received the Michael Korn Founders Award from Chorus America in recognition of his contributions to the professional choral arts. He also prepared the Chicago Symphony Chorus for the 1998 Grammy Award–winning recording of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with Sir Georg Solti, and for the CSO’s release of Verdi’s Otello conducted by Riccardo Muti.
Well known for his work with children, in 1999, Wolfe retired from the Colorado Children’s Chorale, an organization that he founded and conducted for twenty-five years. Also active as an opera conductor, he served as conductor of the Central City Opera Festival for twenty years.
Among the many performances for which Wolfe has prepared the Chorus are Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Cherubini’s Requiem, Brahms’s A German Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Verdi’s Requiem and Otello—all conducted by CSO music director Riccardo Muti. World premieres include John Harbison’s Four Psalms and Bernard Rands’s apókryphos, both commissioned by the CSO.
Wolfe also prepared the Chicago Symphony Chorus for its Carnegie Hall performances of Verdi’s Otello and Berlioz’s Lélio in 2011 under Riccardo Muti, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Staatskapelle Berlin in 2000, with Daniel Barenboim, and for performances of Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron (led by Pierre Boulez) and Brahms’s A German Requiem (led by Daniel Barenboim) at the Berlin Festtage.
Wolfe’s activities have earned him an honorary doctorate and numerous awards, including the Bonfils Stanton Award in the Arts and Humanities and the Colorado Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.