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©2019 San Diego Master Chorale

News & Reviews

October 13, 2019: San Diego Union-Tribune, "Payare once more displayed his seeming ability to elicit excitement from the orchestra with a wave of his baton"

"...Soprano Tasha Koontz and mezzo Kira Dills-DeSurra were enchanting fairy vocalists, and the women of the San Diego Master Chorale sang with pluck..."

October 10, 2019: San Diego Union-Tribune, "Master Chorale is here to help"

"By definition, a successful chorus must work well together. The San Diego Master Chorale not only achieves that but also plays well with others, collaborating with several dynamic musical organizations..."

RELEASE: Come sing with SDMC on May 4 in Chula Vista

"On Saturday, May 4, everyone in Calvary San Diego Church will be part of San Diego Master Chorale’s 'Lift. EVERY. Voice' concert, including more than 50 students from Chula Vista Elementary School District's Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) programs."

March 25, 2019: San Diego Story, "San Diego Symphony and Master Chorale Deliver a Rewarding Surprise: Puccini’s ‘Messa di Gloria’"

"The outer sections of the Kyrie found the Master Chorale spinning out Puccini’s gentle, beautifully shaped themes of petition with a warm, ingratiating sonority, adding just the right amount of brilliance and ardor for the center section, the "Christe Eleison".... In Puccini’s exuberant “Et resurrexit” and “Et vitam venturi,” the Master Chorale flexed its ample musical muscle, displaying vibrant and astutely balanced fortes that testified to the superb work behind the scene of its Music Director John K. Russell."

-San Diego Story, Ken Herman

February 13, 2019: Daily Aztec, "SDMC to join high school students for free concert"

"Often times, people get so stuck on what their individual choir is doing and it’s refreshing to be able to venture elsewhere and work with different singers, accompanists, and directors. Meeting new people and being able to connect through music is special. I love being able to refine my vocal technique and perform and practice with professional singers.”

-Kennedy Levinson, student, Mt. Carmel High School 

January 11, 2019: 100 Area Youth to Join San Diego Master Chorale for the Day; Perform Free Concert

SDMC’s 3rd annual High School Honor Choir includes students from San Diego, Riverside counties

November 29, 2018: Hallelujah! San Diego's Messiah Sing-along Returns This Saturday

Come sing G.F. Handel's Messiah with SDMC at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, Saturday, December 1.

November 1, 2018: SDMC and San Diego Baroque to Perform Two French-Inspired Concerts in November

Performances feature vocal works by Marc-Antoine Charpentier.

October 9, 2018: SDMC Performing Brahms’s German Requiem with Two-piano Accompaniment

        Learn about this rarely performed arrangement -- plus a special guest pre-concert lecturer.

July 25, 2018: Audition for the San Diego Master Chorale August 9, 11

        Click above for audition times, and what we'll be singing this coming season.

November 19, 2017: MOZART Requiem

"I was particularly impressed with the Master Chorale’s muscular articulation of the mighty fugal sections: the bold, angular “Kyrie,” the insistent “Quam olim Abrahae promisisti,” as well as the blazing fugues of the Sanctus and Agnus Dei, each taken at bracing tempos. The assured preparation by Master Chorale Music Director John Russell clearly paid significant dividends in these challenging sections of the Requiem."

-San Diego Story, Ken Herman  (full review here)


May 6, 2017: MAHLER Symphony No. 3

"The women’s and children’s voices [choristers from St. Paul's Cathedral], chiming like bells from positions above the auditorium and on each side of the stage on the floor, took the music from earth-bound worries to heavenly bliss..."

-The San Diego Union-Tribune, Marcus Overton  (full review here)

"In the Symphony’s fifth movement, the silvery, angelic sonority of the San Diego Master Chorale’s women’s voices made a marvelous foil to [mezzo-soprano Tamara] Mumford, gleefully splashing her sonorous phrases with their playful text from Des Knaben Wunderhorn..."

-SanDiegoStory, Ken Herman  (full review here)

December 11, 2016: BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9


"...I was happily blown away by the excellence of the San Diego Master Chorale, which sang with a rich, exuberant sound that restored the musical joy in Schiller’s 'Ode to Joy.'"


"...current Music Director John Russell has clearly raised the bar, cultivating a robust yet refined choral sound that actually complements the impressive musical level of the San Diego Symphony.”

"...the Master Chorale provided the crowning touch. For once, each choral line stood out in resplendent definition, a thrilling component that built up a sumptuous choral forte. Let’s face it, Beethoven was not a subtle writer for choral forces, but Russell’s Master Chorale gave the Beethoven choral finale stunning Bachian definition in addition to Beethoven’s noble conviction."

-SanDiegoStory, Ken Herman  (full review here)

December 5, 2016: HOLST The Planets


"Regarding Neptune, the effect of the offstage women’s chorus was damn near transcendent. The lights in the auditorium dimmed as the women’s voices evaporated into the mists of the astral plane. The effect was awe-inspiring. Maestro Oundjian held the silence — the silence that was tangible as it flowed in, around, and through each member of the audience. As the auditorium erupted into applause I could still hear a shadow tone of the women’s chorus calling to my inner ear from the great beyond."

-San Diego Reader, Garrett Harris (full review here)

October 31, 2016: Fall Concert: Songs of Ascent


Of the 1st Mvt of G.F. Handel's Dixit Dominus: "Throughout this vivacious contrapuntal sprint, the women’s sections produced a gleaming, pliant sonority that mirrored the polished and well-focused string ensemble.”


Of Eric Whitacher's Sainte-Chapelle: "[John] Russell adroitly shaped this powerful work, exploiting the breadth of its dramatic dynamic contrasts that a large ensemble such as the Master Chorale more easily accomplished than the much smaller Tallis Scholars might achieve."


Of Shawn Kirchner's Songs of Ascent: "...the women eloquently captured the psalm’s [Mvt 2, Psalm 122] joy of sacred anticipation in waves of ascending vocal lines..." "The closing movement, from Psalm 134, also included a merry contrapuntal texture that the choir mastered with finesse."
-SanDiegoStory, Ken Herman  (full review here)

May 28, 2016: BERNSTEIN Chichester Psalms


"The women of the Master Chorale floated the long, languid themes of the middle movement...with radiant voices and beautifully shaped phrases. When the men countered with one of Bernstein’s signature declamatory snarls at the end of that movement, the Chorale’s ensemble proved confident and secure.”
-SanDiegoStory, Ken Herman  (full review here)

December 12, 2015: BERLIOZ Te Deum


"...the Master Chorale displayed laudable breadth and a rich, open sonority that enlivened a work whose solemnity can seem unrelenting.”
"...tenor soloist (and San Diego Master Chorale Music Director) John Russell used his gleaming lyric tenor voice to imbue the tender supplications of this movement with elegance and conviction."

-SanDiegoStory, Ken Herman  (full review here)


May 2, 2015: ORFF Carmina Burana


"...Kudos to the Chorale men for their rhythmic unity and...their lusty energy...”
"...Praise to the Chorale women for their heart-melting ardor..."

-San Diego Story, Ken Herman

" alert, consistent showing by the San Diego Master Chorale..."
-San Diego Union-Tribune, James Chute


December 5, 2014: HAYDN Mass in C, "Paukenmesse"


"...a wide range of dynamic contrast and textual nuance"
-San Diego Story, Ken Herman

March 20, 2014: VERDI Requiem


"...the chorus was superb!"
-San Diego Union-Tribune

"The standing ovation was long and loud and would have gone on for much longer had there been enough curtain calls."
-LA Times

"...a packed audience hung on every note and nuance emitting from the combined forces of the San Diego Symphony, massive San Diego Opera Chorus and San Diego Master Chorale.
-BWW Opera World

"...compelling, emotionally charged"
-San Diego Story


December 7, 2013: BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9

with the San Diego Symphony under Maestro Ken-David Masur


"...a powerful, well-balanced wall of choral sound that admirably complemented Masurs interpretation of the Ninth."
-San Diego Story


July 6, 2013: 4th OF JULY POPS

with the San Diego Symphony under Maestro Bill Conti

"...under Conti's emotive direction, it was the symphony musician's and San Diego Master Chorale's performances that carried the night."
-San Diego Union-Tribune


August 5, 2012: TAN DUN Water Passion


"Riveting Water Passion at SummerFest".
-San Diego Story

"...a superb, well prepared San Diego Master Chorale, the fiercely committed Lin and Fan, the exacting percussionists David Cossin, Dustin Donahue and Bonnie Whiting Smith, and expert vocal soloists Ying Huang and Stephen Bryant, made Dun's often disturbing, at times depressing journey an ultimately rewarding one."
-San Diego Union-Tribune


"...utterly reliable San Diego Master Chorale."
-smorgzone blog