Baltimore Choral Arts Society
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The Baltimore Choral Arts Society is a music organization in Baltimore, Maryland that manages a full orchestra, a chorus and a chamber chorus. The Baltimore Choral Arts Society, now in its 50th season, is one of Maryland's premier cultural institutions. The Symphonic Chorus, Full Chorus, Orchestra, and Chamber Chorus perform throughout the mid-Atlantic region, as well as in Washington, D.C., New York, and in Europe. Performance venues include the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, as well as Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium. The Society has collaborated with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Chamber Symphony, Peter Schickele, pianist and scholar Robert Levin, Chanticleer, Dave Brubeck, and the King's Singers.
Music Director Tom Hall
In 2007, Tom Hall led the Chorus in an acclaimed three-city tour of France including sold-out performances in Paris and Aix-en-Provence. The Chorus has also appeared at Spain's prestigious Festival of the Costa del Sol.
For the past 19 years, WMAR Television, the ABC network affiliate in Maryland, has featured Choral Arts in an hour-long special, Christmas with Choral Arts, which won an Emmy Award in 2006. Mr. Hall and the chorus were also featured in a PBS documentary called Jews and Christians: A Journey of Faith, broadcast nationwide, and on National Public Radio's Special Coverage in 2001. The ensemble has been featured frequently on The First Art (Public Radio International), Performance Today (National Public Radio), VOX (XM Radio), and The Organ Loft (Public Radio International). In Europe, Mr. Hall and Choral Arts were featured in a program devoted to the music of Handel broadcast on Radio Suisse Romande. On local radio, Mr. Hall is the host of Choral Arts Classics, a monthly program on WYPR that features the Choral Arts Chorus and Orchestra, and he is the award-winning Culture Editor on WYPR's Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast.
A CD on Gothic Records, Christmas from America's First Cathedral, was released in the fall of 2010. A recording with Dave Brubeck, featuring Brubeck's oratorio, The Gates of Justice, was released internationally on the NAXOS label in 2004; Choral Arts has two other recordings in current release: Christmas with Choral Arts, and a live recording of the Rachmaninoff All-Night Vigil. Mr. Hall produced Let Freedom Ring!, a highly successful recording for Gothic Records featuring the Washington Men's Camerata, as well the soundtracks for Legends on the Learning Channel, and numerous radio and television commercials.
The Choral Arts chorus has appeared with the National Symphony, and it makes regular appearances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Acclaimed artists collaborating with Choral Arts have included Chanticleer, Dave Brubeck, the King's Singers, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Anonymous 4, and Peter Schickele, among others.
In his 34th season as Music Director, Tom Hall has added nearly 200 new works to the BCAS repertoire, and he has premiered works by Peter Schickele, Libby Larsen, Rosephanye Dunn Powell, Robert Sirota, James Lee, III, and other internationally acclaimed composers.
Mr. Hall is active as a guest conductor including appearances with the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, the Berkshire Choral Festival, Musica Sacra in New York, and the Britten Sinfonia in Canterbury, England. His 2005 concert with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris was broadcast on French television. Mr. Hall has prepared choruses for Leonard Bernstein, Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, and others, and he served for ten years as the Chorus Master of the Baltimore Opera Company. In 2014, he was awarded the American Prize in Conducting, and honored by Chorus America by being named a Director Laureate.
Mr. Hall is also a well known teacher, lecturer, and writer. He has served as the President of Chorus America, a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, and he has been an Artist in Residence at Indiana University, the University of Cincinnati, Temple University, and Syracuse University. He was the Director of Choral Activities at Goucher College for 31 years, and he has also taught at the Peabody Conservatory, the University of Baltimore, Towson University, Morgan State University, and the Johns Hopkins University.
Tom Hall lives in Baltimore with his wife, Linell Smith. Their daughter, Miranda Hall, is a graduate student in the Yale School of Drama. Choral Arts on TV and Radio CHORAL ARTS ON TELEVISION "Christmas with Choral Arts" is broadcast annually on WMAR-TV, ABC 2 in Baltimore during the holiday season. This Emmy-winning holiday special features Tom Hall and the Choral Arts Full Chorus and Orchestra and special guests.
CHORAL ARTS ON RADIO Tom Hall hosts a monthly program featuring recordings of concerts by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society and many special guests. Tune in at 9 pm on the last Tuesday of each month, September through April, on WYPR, 88.1 FM. You can also hear Tom weekday mornings on Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast.
Our "Christmas with Choral Arts" concert can be heard on WBJC Radio on Christmas Day.
Music Director Blake Clark
Blake Clark, a native of Texas, became the successor of Tom Hall in 2017.
Quotes and Testimonials
The Baltimore Choral Arts Society, under the direction of Tom Hall, has clearly arrived as one of the finest cultural institutions in Maryland and the nation.
The Baltimore Sun The voices rang out with resplendent confidence, and the sopranos had no apparent difficulty reaching the cruel and challenging high B's in the piece. The chorus's performance was the best part of the concert....the thunderous power of this unique masterpiece never fails to stir the blood, and the ovation was loud, long and well deserved.
-- On Beethoven's Ninth with the Baltimore Symphony 2012 The Washington Post The Baltimore Choral Arts Society, prepared by director Tom Hall, rose to the occasion impressively...the chorus sustained a smooth, full-bodied sound and articulated with admirable clarity.
-- On Beethoven's Ninth with the Baltimore Symphony 2012 -The Baltimore Sun The Baltimore Choral Arts Society has always sounded good here, but this performance was riveting. When the chorus can match the accuracy and intensity of the vocal soloists in Beethoven's cruel writing, phrase for phrase, you are hearing something extraordinary.
-- (Beethoven's Ninth with Baltimore Symphony 2009) The Washington Post The audience's enjoyment of the work was enhanced by the chorus' beautiful diction and the perfect balance between instruments and voices.
-- On Carmina Burana with Reading Symphony The Reading Eagle (May 2009) The chorus as a whole responded impressively. And when Hall drove his forces along in the most dramatic, propulsive passages, the results were truly stirring.
The Baltimore Sun (April 2009) The choristers were attentive to matters of blend and tonal nuance and sang with considerable expressiveness.
-- On the East Coast premiere of Tina Davidson's "Hymn of the Universe" The Baltimore Sun (March 2009) The Baltimore Choral Arts Society responded to the conductor with vibrant singing.
-- On Mozart's Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony The Baltimore Sun (March 2009) The women of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, singing through open doors on an upper level of the hall, spun out the final wordless song exquisitely.
-- On Holst's The Planets with Baltimore Symphony The Baltimore Sun (November 2008) Thunderous applause greeted the beautiful presentation of Mozart's Requiem by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.
-- On the 2007 tour of France La Tribune (France) This presentation, officially the season opener for the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, was too big for one ensemble. Joining Choral Arts and its director, Tom Hall, were the Morgan State University Choir and director Eric Conway, and the Baltimore City College Concert Choir and director Linda R. Hall... Musically, the rewards began with McCullough's richly textured arrangements and continued with the superbly responsive articulation of the combined choruses, which hit a compelling height in a sizzling "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel." ...A remarkably instructional and inspirational afternoon.
-- On McCullough: Let My People Go The Baltimore Sun (Oct 2006) The Baltimore Choral Arts Society closed its 40th anniversary season over the weekend with a harmonic convergence of powerful music-making ... The firm singing by the chorus was complemented by a sensitive solo quartet—soprano Karla Rivera, mezzo Linda Maguire, tenor William Jones and, especially, baritone Robert Cantrell.
-- On Mozart's Requiem The Baltimore Sun (May 2006)
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