|Origin||New York City|
MasterVoices (formerly the Collegiate Chorale) is a symphonic choir based in New York City, USA. It was founded in 1941 by Robert Shaw, who was later to found the professional Robert Shaw Chorale. MasterVoices continues to give several performances annually in Carnegie Hall, New York City Center, Lincoln Center and other major venues. In July 2007 the choir was invited to perform Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem at Switzerland's Verbier Festival. Robert Bass was its music director from 1979 until his death in August, 2008. James Bagwell was appointed music director from 2009 to 2015. The organization is currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Ted Sperling.
The group was originally named for its first home, Manhattan's Marble Collegiate Church, and was notable for Robert Shaw's insistence, from its inception, that the group be racially integrated. The choir and the church soon parted ways due to the church's concerns about the choir's ethnic and religious makeup.
The group was led by Abraham Kaplan in the 1960s, and by conductor Richard Westenburg from 1973 to 1979, and by music director and conductor Robert Bass between 1979 and 2008. Among the many accomplishments achieved by the choir during the Bass years were several noteworthy performances at Carnegie Hall, including the New York premiere of Richard Strauss's Friedenstag with the Orchestra of St. Luke's in 1997, the United States premiere of Dvořák's Dimitrij, and the American premiere of Handel's Giove in Argo. Other notable works Bass presented to New York audiences with the Collegiate Chorale included Respighi's La fiamma and Puccini's Turandot with the new ending by Luciano Berio. Bass also recorded and performed two of Beethoven's cantatas, Der Glorreiche Augenblick and Auf die Erhebung Leopold des Zwieten zur Kaiserwürde with sopranos Deborah Voigt and Elizabeth Futral. Many other notable singers performed with the choir during the Bass years, including Kathleen Battle, Stephanie Blythe, Vinson Cole, David Daniels, Lauren Flanigan, Maria Guleghina, Hei-Kyung Hong, Salvatore Licitra, Alessandra Marc, and Bryn Terfel.
The group changed its name to MasterVoices on August 3, 2015.
- Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, August 28, 2008.
- Cooper, Michael. "Collegiate Chorale, Under a New Name, Is Teaming Up With City Center", The New York Times, August 3, 2015.
- Robert Shaw, unpublished video interview, March 22, 1991.
- "Obituaries: Baritone Peter Glossop dies at eighty; director Nathaniel Merrill; conductor Robert Bass; tenor Mark Lundberg; Met stalwart Nina Lawson". Opera News. 73 (5). November 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2009.