Director of Choruses
The Frannie and Bill Graves Chair
The Florence Kopleff Choral Administrator Chair
Celebrating its 40th Anniversary this season, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus is regularly acclaimed for the beauty and expressiveness of its singing. The Chorus, comprising 200 volunteer voices, performs with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra throughout each season, and is featured on many of the Orchestra's recordings, which have garnered Grammy awards including Best Choral Performance, Best Classical Recording, and Best Opera Recording. The Chorus performs large choral-symphonic works with the full orchestra under the batons of Music Director Robert Spano and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles, and has also sung with guest conductors including Roberto Abbado, Charles Dutoit, Alan Gilbert, Bernard Labadie, John Nelson and William Fred Scott.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Choruses have been directed by Norman Mackenzie since 1999, following the death of its founder, the legendary Robert Shaw, who founded the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus in 1970. Mr. Mackenzie had worked closely with Mr. Shaw for 14 years, and under his current direction, the chorus has won two Grammy Awards for Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony and the Berlioz Requiem, and conducted the ASO Chamber Chorus in its own Telarc recording. Mr. Mackenzie prepares the Chorus for performances with Mr. Spano and the Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, as well as for the three collaborations with the Berlin Philharmonic, under Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles.
The Chorus made its Carnegie Hall debut in 1976 with a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, and has returned to perform with the Orchestra on a number of occasions, including Janáček’s epic Glagolitic Mass in October 2010 with Mr. Spano and the Orchestra. Historical milestones include performing at the Kennedy Center for President-elect Jimmy Carter's Inaugural Concert in 1977; traveling with the Orchestra on its first European Tour in 1988; as well as visits to New York, Berlin, Zürich, Ludwigsburg, Paris, Bristol, and London. The Chorus has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for televised concerts including the 1995 national broadcast of the Orchestra's 50th Anniversary celebration with Yoel Levi and Robert Shaw, and a state-wide telecast honoring the chorus' own 25th anniversary. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performed at the Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and has participated in the Martin Luther King Ecumenical service, sponsored each January by the King Center in Atlanta, for 30 years. The chorus has twice been a guest at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago with the Orchestra (2003, 2006), and most recently traveled to Berlin, for the third time with Mr. Runnicles, in December 2009 to sing the Brahms Requiem with the Berlin Philharmonic.
Auditions for the chorus are held annually, each August. For more information, please visit http://asochorus.org or call Jeffrey Baxter, ASO Choral Administrator at (404) 733-4876.