|Occupation||Music Director and Conductor|
|Known for||Founding the San Francisco Boys Chorus|
Maria “Madi” Helen Bacon (1906–2001) was the founder of the San Francisco Boys Chorus (SFBC). The SFBC was the first boys’ repertory chorus in the nation. Bacon served at the conductor and music director of the group until her retirement in 1972.
Bacon was the daughter of Charles Bacon and Marie Francisca Emile von Rosthorn. She had four older brothers, one of which died in infancy. One of her brothers was Ernst Bacon, a Pulitzer Prize–winning composer. Bacon’s mother Marie tutored her at home until she was 11. Bacon then attended the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago.
Bacon graduated from high school in 1922 and obtained an undergraduate degree in romance languages from the University of Chicago. In 1931 she taught music at Glencoe Public School. Never having had any formal classes in music history, she studied music history on her own. To supplement this studying, Bacon created the Elizabethan Madrigal Singers as a way to hear the music she was studying about. She also created the Winnetka Mixed Chorus and the Roosevelt College Chorus during this time.
In 1941, Bacon received her graduate degree from the University of Chicago. She joined the faculty of the Central YMCA College, which later moved to Roosevelt University. Bacon served many music positions throughout her life. In 1946 she headed the Music Extension Division at the University of California-Berkeley where she expanded the extension program and created a community choir. She firmly believed in creating musical opportunities for the community. Bacon eventually retired from the university to start the San Francisco Boys Chorus.
She died on January 23, 2001.
- Golata, Debra K., "Madi Bacon : thoughts on conducting, a video documentary" (1996). Master's Theses. Paper 1370.
- Madi Bacon, "Musician, Educator, Mountaineer," an oral history conducted from 1985-1987 by Janet G. Harris, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1989.