Season announcement: LA Master Chorale’s 2018-19 lineup

We wait with bated breath until our Lister blogger finishes the review of last weekend’s Israel in Egypt.

(OK, it’s me — I’m percolating!  Stay tuned…)

But in the meantime, LA Master Chorale has recovered from their most recent visit into their Hidden Handel project, taken a deep breath, and announced their next season! With connections firmly rooted in the local, next year’s offerings include premieres by Eric WhitacreReena Esmail and Shawn Kirchner, creative pairings of some of the very best works in the vocal repertoire with those and other juicy contemporary choices, including last year’s well-received How to Go On by Dale Trumbore.  There’s also a jaunt into vocal film music, a very festive holiday series, and their thirtieth high school choir festival.  (Can it be true?) There’s a big Lagrime tour coming up, too…

LAMC’s design for the season publicity is new, too, and it’s very nice to see a broader range of faces on their website and in their print materials, as the last two years’ visuals have been roundly and widely criticized for leaning very young and painfully hip.  This looks like a better representation of the well-developed and diverse talent that their organization fosters.  Keep up the good work, folks!

Press release follows.

Pictured above, at Walt Disney Concert Hall: L-R: Jenny Wong, Associate Conductor; Grant Gershon, Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director; Shawn Kirchner, composer; Eric Whitacre, composer & Swan Family Artist-in-Residence; Reena Esmail, composer; and Dale Trumbore, composer.


Los Angeles Composers Given Prominence in
Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 2018/19 Season


World premiere of Eric Whitacre’s The Sacred Veil

West Coast premiere of Reena Esmail’s This Love Between Us: Prayers for Unity

Songs of Ascent by Shawn Kirchner and How to Go On by Dale Trumbore featured on
subscription series programs

Mozart and Duruflé Requiems and Bach’s Magnificat paired with contemporary works

30th anniversary of the High School Choir Festival to be celebrated in May 2019
conducted by Grant Gershon & Eric Whitacre

Acclaimed production of Lagrime di San Pietro directed by Peter Sellars to tour
nationally and internationally in 2018/19 season

(Los Angeles, CA) February 12, 2018 – Los Angeles composers feature prominently in the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 55th concert season announced today by Grant Gershon, Kiki and David Gindler Artistic Director, and Jean Davidson, President and CEO. The contemporary works include the world premiere of Eric Whitacre’s The Sacred Veil and the West Coast premiere of Reena Esmail’s This Love Between Us: Prayers for Unity. All concerts will be performed in Walt Disney Concert Hall where the Master Chorale is choir-in-residence.

The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 2018/19 concert season, beginning in September 2018 and running through May 2019, also features Songs of Ascent by Shawn Kirchner and How to Go On by Dale Trumbore on subscription series programs alongside the Mozart and Duruflé Requiems respectively. Esmail’s This Love Between Us: Prayers for Unity is paired with Bach’s Magnificat.

“I was aware of the tremendous reception that both Reena Esmail and Dale Trumbore’s stunning works had received when they were premiered and was eager for the Master Chorale to perform them. We know Reena well from her remarkable work with Street Symphony and have previously performed works by Dale, who is a composer I greatly admire. We also have a large contingent of Shawn Kirchner aficionados in our audience who I knew would welcome a repeat performance of Songs of Ascent that we so proudly premiered in 2015. As I considered the other choral works we wanted to feature, thematic links emerged and the programs pairing the contemporary with classics developed,” says Grant Gershon. “For this new season to also feature the world premiere of Eric Whitacre’s largest work to date, The Sacred Veil, makes it a true celebration of the remarkable composing talent we have here in Los Angeles. When the Master Chorale sang “I Fall,” one of the movements of The Sacred Veil, last year it was an exceptionally moving experience and I expect this full-length work will be a milestone for Eric and for the Master Chorale.”

In December, a new contract between the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the American Federation of Musicians was ratified establishing the Los Angeles Master Chorale Orchestra as a roster ensemble. In the 2018/19 season, orchestra members will perform on seven of the nine concert programs.

“We are pleased to have worked closely with our colleagues at the AFM Local 47 to formalize what had already been occurring in practice, namely creating a permanent roster of musicians to play in our orchestra,” says Jean Davidson. “Upon signing our new agreement, we also signed onto an Integrated Media Agreement, granting terms and conditions for the creation and distribution of audio and audio-visual media by the orchestra musicians that we previously did not have. We are grateful to have such a positive working relationship with our musicians and Local 47 and look forward to performing this exciting new season with them.”

The Master Chorale and Grant Gershon will also travel outside of Los Angeles in the 2018/19 season and into the 2019/2020 season with their acclaimed production of Orlando di Lasso’s Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of St. Peter) directed by Peter Sellars. The tour includes a performance at the Barbican in London on May 23, 2019 as part of its “Barbican Presents” series. More dates and venues will be announced in coming months as they are confirmed.

In addition to its own concert season, the Los Angeles Master Chorale will perform with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on seven of its recently-announced 2018/19 centennial programs. The Master Chorale also regularly performs with the LA Phil at the Hollywood Bowl.

2018/19 SEASON

LA Master Chorale singers pictured in a quintessential L.A. location — their cars! First row: Margaurite Mathis-Clark, Holly Sedillos, Adrien Redford; Second row: Mark Edward Smith, Niké St. Clair, and Bryan Lane.
Click here to view the 2018/19 season brochure.


Saturday, September 22, 2018 – 2 PM
Sunday, September 23, 2018 – 7 PM

Shawn Kirchner | Songs of Ascent
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Requiem in D Minor, K 626

Shawn Kirchner was the Master Chorale’s composer-in-residence from 2012 to 2015 and is a longtime tenor in the ensemble. Since its premiere in 2015, Songs of Ascent — a setting of the Psalms sung by pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem — has been performed by prestigious choirs around the country. Kirchner has also expanded the work, adding several new movements. Songs of Ascent is paired with the Mozart Requiem last performed by Gershon and the Master Chorale in 2009. The Master Chorale most recently performed the Requiem with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in August 2017.

Grant Gershon, conductor
100 singers, orchestra, guest soloists


Sunday, November 18, 2018 – 7 PM

Johann Sebastian Bach | Magnificat in D major, BWV 243
Reena Esmail | This Love Between Us: Prayers for Unity – WEST COAST PREMIERE

Indian-American composer Reena Esmail is a two-time winner of ASCAP’s Morton Gould Award for Young Composers. Her work This Love Between Us: Prayers for Unity for chorus, orchestra, sitar, and tabla was premiered by Yale Schola Cantorum and Juilliard415 in March 2017 at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York City and was called a “powerful piece of music” by Opera News magazine. Esmail and these ensembles subsequently toured India with the work that juxtaposes words from seven religious traditions (Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Islam) to explore how they each approach the topics of unity and harmony. The LA Master Chorale performance on November 18, 2018 will be the work’s West Coast premiere and Esmail’s Master Chorale and Walt Disney Concert Hall debut. This Love Between Us is paired with Bach’s Magnificat having been composed as a contemporary counterpoint to the Baroque-era work. Esmail, who lives in Los Angeles and grew up in the city, is currently Composer-in-Residence for Street Symphony which serves people disenfranchised by homelessness, poverty, and incarceration. Members of the Master Chorale perform as part of the Street Symphony Chamber Singers.

Grant Gershon, conductor
62 singers, orchestra, sitar, and tabla


Saturday, February 16, 2019 – 2 PM
Sunday, February 17, 2019 – 7 PM

Eric Whitacre | The Sacred Veil – WORLD PREMIERE

The Sacred Veil, a significant new work by the Los Angeles-based, internationally-renowned Whitacre, will comprise the entire concert program for these two performances to be conducted by Whitacre himself. The Sacred Veil is based on deeply personal poetry by his longtime collaborator and close friend, Charles Anthony Silvestri. The Master Chorale performed the West Coast premiere of one of the movements, “I Fall,” in June 2017. “I Fall” was described by the LA Times as “dramatic” and by Out West Arts as “A moment where gratitude and loss and failure all meld into one dizzying mix.”

Eric Whitacre, conductor
40 singers, instrumentalists, soloists

The Sacred Veil is sponsored by Linda J. Hodge, Faith Raiguel and Billy Weber, Kathleen and James Drummy, and Susan Erburu Reardon and George Reardon.


Sunday, March 17, 2019 – 7 PM

Dale Trumbore | How to Go On
Maurice Duruflé | Requiem, Op. 9

Dale Trumbore describes her work How to Go On as a “secular requiem” commissioned and premiered by the Orange County-based Choral Arts Initiative in 2016. The Los Angeles Master Chorale has previously performed two shorter works by Trumbore, The Whole Sea In Motion and I am Music. The 35-minute How to Go On is in eight parts that are settings of works by contemporary American poets Barbara Crooker, Amy Fleury, and Laura Foley. It is paired with Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem to be conducted by Master Chorale Associate Conductor Jenny Wong. Duruflé was a contemporary of previous Master Chorale Music Directors Roger Wagner and Paul Salamunovich, both of whom conducted the Requiem frequently. The Requiem was first performed by the Master Chorale in 1966 with Roger Wagner and was last performed by the ensemble and Salamunovich in 2005 in Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Jenny Wong, conductor
48 singers, chamber orchestra


Saturday, May 4, 2019 – 2 PM
Sunday, May 5, 2019 – 7 PM

Giuseppe Verdi | Va, pensiero (Nabucco)
Danny Elfman | Ice Dance (Edward Scissorhands)
Giacomo Puccini | Humming Chorus (Madama Butterfly)
John Williams | Epic Highlights from Star Wars
And many more

As an ensemble that grew up in the city of Hollywood, the Los Angeles Master Chorale has been featured on numerous film soundtracks, most recently John Williams’ Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Its singers are also familiar faces — and voices — in the opera house, both as choristers and cast members. This program brings together theatrical choruses from blockbusters of the stage and screen to be performed by the full chorus and Grant Gershon.

Grant Gershon, conductor
100 singers, orchestra



Sunday, December 2, 2018 – 7 PM

Ralph Vaughan Williams | The First Nowell
John Tavener | The Lamb
Cecilia McDowall | Before the Paling of the Stars
Peter Warlock | Bethlehem Down
Gustav Holst | Christmas Day
And other holiday favorites

A concert that celebrates the great, unbroken tradition of English advent music from its 16th century origins to today.

Grant Gershon, conductor
Jenny Wong, associate conductor
62 singers a cappella, organ


Saturday, December 8, 2018 – 2 PM
Sunday, December 15, 2018 – 2 PM

White Christmas | arr. Deke Sharon
O, What a Beautiful City | Shawn Kirchner
Winter Wonderland | arr. Greg Jasperse
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming | arr. Shawn Kirchner
We Need a Little Christmas | arr. Jerry Rubino
And other carols and songs of the season 

One of the Master Chorale’s most popular concerts of the season offers festive favorites alongside newer arrangements and some seasonal surprises sung by the full 100-voice chorale.

Grant Gershon, conductor
100 singers, organ, and piano


Sunday, December 16, 2018 – 7 PM

George Frideric Handel | Messiah

The perennially popular holiday presentation of Handel’s Messiah sung by the Master Chorale.

Grant Gershon, conductor
48 singers, orchestra, soloists


Monday, December 17, 2018 – 7:30 PM

George Frideric Handel | Messiah

A popular presentation of Handel’s Messiah where the 2,200-strong audience is the chorus. Tickets include a limited number of VIP experience tickets allowing audience members to sing on the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage alongside Master Chorale singers.

Grant Gershon, conductor
Orchestra, soloists, audience as chorus


Grant Gershon, conductor
Eric Whitacre, guest conductor

On Friday, May 3, 2019, the Los Angeles Master Chorale will celebrate the 30th Annual High School Choir Festival, bringing close to 1,000 Southland high school singers into Disney Hall to perform. The 30th anniversary concert will be conducted by Grant Gershon and guest conductor Eric Whitacre making his first High School Choir Festival appearance. The Festival performance is the culmination of an in-depth, year-long, in-school program that includes intensive teacher training, classroom rehearsals, and masterclasses for students and choral directors led by members of the Master Chorale. Over three decades, this wide-reaching program has reached close to 30,000 young singers and it is one of the longest-running music education programs in the Southern California. (Note: the 2018 High School Choir Festival takes place on Friday, May 18.)


Subscriptions for the 2018/19 season are available now starting from $111 by phone, 213-972-7282, or online at

Single tickets for 2018/19 concerts will be available August 6, 2018.

All programs, artists and dates are subject to change.



Check out LAMC’s website at

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