Now in its fifty-seventh season, the critically acclaimed Chicago Symphony Chorus has been led by chorus director and conductor Duain Wolfe since 1994.
Following successful collaborations with Riccardo Muti in his inaugural season as music director, the Chorus sang Orff’s Carmina burana and Cherubini’s Requiem with Muti both in Chicago and to open the 2012–13 season at Carnegie Hall in New York as well as Verdi’s Otello and Berlioz’s Lélio under Muti at Orchestra Hall and on tour at Carnegie Hall in April 2011. The Chorus opened the 2014–15 season in performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Chicago Symphony.
In 2007–2008, the Chorus celebrated its fiftieth-anniversary season with a special concert showcasing the extraordinary talent and musical breadth of the ensemble.
The Chorus’s discography includes many hallmarks of the choral repertoire, including Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, Bach’s B minor mass, Brahms’s A German Requiem, and Orff’s Carmina burana. The Chorus is featured on several recordings on the CSO Resound label, including Mahler’s Second and Third symphonies, Poulenc’s Gloria, Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe, and Verdi’s Otello with Muti. Its recording of Verdi’s Requiem under Muti received the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, the Chorus’s tenth win in that category.
The history of the Chicago Symphony Chorus goes back to 1957, when music director Fritz Reiner invited Margaret Hillis to establish a chorus on a par with the quality of the Orchestra. The new ensemble soon achieved an international reputation, with concerts in Chicago, tours in the United States and abroad, and many award-winning recordings. Memorable achievements include critically acclaimed performances of Schoenberg’s Moses and Aron and Brahms’s A German Requiem with the Orchestra at the Berlin Festtage in April 1999.
In Chicago, Chicago Symphony Chorus members have performed at numerous events around the city, including the Tree Lighting Ceremony at Macy’s; the National Anthem at Chicago Bulls basketball games; and appearances on local news features for ABC 7, NBC 5, and WTTW 11.