Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
Robert Porco, Director
Lisa Wong, Assistant Director
The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus is one of the few professionally trained, all-volunteer choruses sponsored by a major American orchestra. In addition to performing with The Cleveland Orchestra in concerts at Severance Hall each season, the Chorus has appeared with the Orchestra on tour in Boston, Brussels, Edinburgh, London, Lucerne, and New York, as well as on television and in numerous recordings. The Chorus has also toured on its own, either a cappella or with other ensembles, to the Casals Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the Chautauqua Institution in New York; and to venues in England, Wales, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Germany.
Cleveland Orchestra Chorus members hail from nearly 50 northeast Ohio communities. Together, the group’s 150 members volunteer more than 50,000 hours annually, through rehearsals and performances. They also raise money for their tours through a variety of projects and events.
Today’s Cleveland Orchestra Chorus was first formed in 1952 at the request of Music Director George Szell. The Chorus celebrated its 50th anniversary during the 2002-03 season. As early as the Orchestra’s third season, in 1920-21, founding manager Adella Prentiss Hughes issued an invitation for Clevelanders to join a Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. It lasted less than a year, with subsequent Orchestra performances of choral works using choruses from local churches and colleges. Soon after Severance Hall opened in 1931, a second Cleveland Orchestra choral ensemble was established. Known as the Cleveland Philharmonic Chorus, it flourished for nearly a decade and provided the choral forces for the many staged operas presented under Music Director Artur Rodzinski’s direction.
Finally, the Orchestra’s fourth music director, George Szell (1946-70), initiated the creation of a permanent chorus to be affiliated with the Orchestra and made up of local singers admitted by audition. The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus began performing in 1952 and quickly proved its artistic worth. In 1956, Szell invited the young and nationally prominent choral conductor Robert Shaw to join the Orchestra’s conducting staff as associate conductor and chorus conductor, further solidifying the Chorus’s reputation for quality. The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus has maintained its position as a leading American orchestra chorus under the subsequent leadership of choral directors Clayton H. Krehbiel (1967-69), Margaret Hillis (1969-71), Robert Page (1971-89), Gareth Morrell (1989-98), and Robert Porco (1998-present).
Auditions for both the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and Blossom Festival Chorus are held each spring. For audition dates and requirements, please call the Chorus office at 216-231-7372, send an email to email@example.com, or click here for audition information.
Additional information for chorus members, including rehearsal and performance schedules, can be found at the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus website. A password is required for access to most resources on this special site.