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Origin San Francisco, CA, USA
Genres classical, contemporary
Years active 1979-present
Website www.voltisf.org/

Volti is a 20-person professional choir based in San Francisco. The choir was founded by Robert Geary in the fall of 1979 as the San Francisco Chamber Singers and beginning with an all-Bach program. The group quickly moved on to the more contemporary works that have shaped its mission ever since "to encourage, foster and showcase contemporary American music and composers, and to introduce contemporary vocal music from around the world to local audience."[1] When the group turned 25 in 2003-2004, it changed its name to Volti - a reference to the Italian musical instruction "volti subito" meaning "turn quickly."[2][3]

Volti regularly performs two to three concert series each season in venues throughout the Bay Area. In addition, Volti sponsors the New Music for Treble Voices Festival and a Choral Institute for high school students. In 2009 Volti became the first choir ever to have been awarded the Chorus America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming[4] six times. 2009 also marked the choir's 30th anniversary.[5] Volti has recently released a CD on the innova label: "Turn the Page: New Directions in Americal Choral Music." [1]


Choral Institute[edit]

Volti's Choral Institute[6] program brings together high school choir singers from around the Bay Area for weekend-long workshops at the CYO-McGucken Center in Occidental. The high school singers work with Volti singers, Volti conductor Robert Geary, and their own conductors to improve upon their choral technique and to prepare pieces for performance as a massed choir. The Choral Institute is offered twice during the school year; once for mixed choirs in October, and once for treble choirs in January. The mixed choirs continue to work together throughout the year in preparation for a spring performance.[7] In 2009-10, Volti added a resident composer to the Choral Institute program. Morten Lauridsen worked with the students for the weekend intensive, and returned in May 2010 to play the piano accompaniment to his "Nocturnes" song cycle, sung by the massed choir of 120 voices. In fall 2010, [2] Kirke Mechem will be the composer in residence for the Choral Institute.

Choral Arts Laboratory[edit]

Started in 2003, Volti's Choral Arts Laboratory[8] is a commissioning and residency program aimed at composers under 35. Each year, the composer selected for the program takes part in workshops to develop a piece, then works directly with the Volti singers in rehearsal, hearing how the piece sounds and getting feedback the singers. The composer may then consult with Robert Geary (Volti's artistic director)[9] and Mark Winges (Volti's resident composer)[10] throughout the year as they finish perfecting the piece, which is then premiered at a Volti concert during the regular season.

Past Choral Arts Laboratory composers include:
Peter Knell
Robert Paterson
Eric Lindsay
Amy Beth Kirsten
George Lam
Ruby Fulton
Ted Hearne

New Music for Treble Voices Festival[edit]

Each spring, Volti sponsors the New Music for Treble Voices festival.[11] Frequent participants include the Peninsula Women's Chorus and the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir. The festival developed out of a sense that the Bay Area was home to many treble choirs who had been acclaimed for their performance of contemporary music.[12][13]

World Premieres[edit]


The Mystery - Tamar Diesendruck (Volti Commission)


American Shape-Note Tunes - Arr. Mark Winges (Volti Commission)
American Trio - Kirke Mechem
Shui Diao Ge Tou / Song - Kui Dong
Songs for Dancing - Mark Winges (Volti Commission)
Two Yeats Choruses - Alan Fletcher (Volti Commission)
When Summer Shines - Jacob Avshalomov (Volti Commission)
While I was walking, I heard a sound - Miya Masaoka


Image & Motion: A Choral Symphony - Mark Winges (Volti Commission)
Songs of Love and Loss (revised version) - Paul Chihara
Sonnets of War & Mankind - Stacy Garrop (Volti Commission)
Tautology - Peter Knell (Volti Commission)


Ccollanan María - Gabriela Lena Frank (Volti Commission)
The Essence of Gravity - Robert Paterson (Volti Commission)
No More to Hide - Alan Fletcher (Volti Commission)
Sonnets of Desire, Longing & Whimsey - Stacy Garrop (Volti Commission)
Subandi - Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez (Volti Commission)


Blessings - Jacob Avshalomov (Volti Commission)
O the Flesh Is Hot But the Heart Is Cold - Eric Moe (Volti Commission)
Open the Book of What Happened - Mark Winges (Volti Commission)
Sound Explanations - Eric Lindsay (Volti Commission)


A Cricket Needs a Queen - Mark Winges
In the Black - Amy Beth Kirsten (Volti Commission)
Let Evening Come - Howard Hersh
The Locust Tree - Richard Festinger (Volti Commission)
Only one great thing - Cindy Cox (Volti Commission)
Phoenix Songs, Op. 28 - Toon Vandevorst (Volti Commission)
Sonnets of Beauty and Music - Stacy Garrop (Volti Commission)
Two Poems of Delmore Schwartz - Wayne Peterson


Dancing in the Wind - Elliott Gyger (Combined Volti & Piedmont Choirs Commission)
Endless - Kurt Rohde (Volti Commission)
Words Become Unlatched - George Lam (Volti Commission)


The Assembling Landscape - Mark Winges (Volti Commission)
The Ballad of James Parry - Ruby Fulton (Volti Commission)
Daglarym / My Mountains - Donald Crockett (Volti Commission)
On the Day the World Ends - Robert Paterson (Volti Commission)


Where Everything is Music - Mark Winges (Volti Commission)
The Poetry of Earth - Joshua Fishbein (Volti Commission)
Zeteo - Jean Ahn (Volti Commission)
Being (Two Poems of Billy Collins) - Yu-Hui Chang (Volti Commission)
Luna, Nova Luna - Mark Winges (Volti Commission)
Paghahandog - Robin Estrada (Volti Commission)
privilege - Ted Hearne (Volti Commission)


  1. ^ www.voltisf.org/history.html, Volti website, History page.
  2. ^ http://www.sfcv.org/arts_revs/music_news_8_19_03.php, San Francisco Classical Voice, 19 August 2003 "SF Chamber Singers Turn to Volti, `Facing Forward'"
  3. ^ http://www.berkeleydaily.org/issue/2004-04-23/article/18722, Berkeley Daily Planet, 23 April 2004 "Notes From The Underground: Twenty-Five Years Singing the Same New Song"
  4. ^ http://www.chorusamerica.org/awards.cfm#ascap2, Chorus America website, list of Past Adventurous Programming Award Recipients
  5. ^ http://www.sfcv.org/content/singing-without-net, San Francisco Classical Voice, 05/15-17/2009, Singing Without a Net
  6. ^ http://voltisf.org/institute.html, Volti website, Choral Institute page.
  7. ^ http://www.sfcv.org/event/volti-choral-institute-concert, San Francisco Classical Voice, Choral Institute Concert event page.
  8. ^ http://www.voltisf.org/lab.html, Volti website, Choral Arts Laboratory page
  9. ^ http://www.voltisf.org/staff_geary.html, Volti website, Robert Geary.
  10. ^ http://www.voltisf.org/staff_winges.html, Volti website, Mark Winges.
  11. ^ http://voltisf.org/next_3.html, Volti website, New Music for Treble Voices Page
  12. ^ http://pwchorus.org/press.html, Peninsula Women's Chorus website, press page - Awards and distinctions
  13. ^ http://www.piedmontchoirs.org/artistic.lasso, Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir website, Artistic Achievements

External links[edit]