The Stonewall Chorale

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The Stonewall Chorale
Logo of The Stonewall Chorale
Background information
OriginNew York City, New York, United States
GenresClassical, Art music, Great American Songbook
Years active1977 (1977)–present
Associated actsGALA Choruses,
Meredith Monk

The Stonewall Chorale, founded in New York City in 1977, is America's first gay and lesbian chorus. The Chorale, a four-part mixed chorus of approximately 60 members, annually performs three subscription concerts at various venues in New York City. Its repertoire ranges from great classical works to contemporary pieces by cutting edge composers like Ricky Ian Gordon, Eric Whitacre, Chris DeBlasio, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, and Meredith Monk.


The Stonewall Chorale regularly participates in community service events such as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center Annual Garden Party, World AIDS Day and Kristallnacht commemorations, holiday caroling, and Gay Pride celebrations. Stonewall also performs with various groups that provide entertainment in hospitals throughout the NYC metropolitan area.

Stonewall Chorale Advisory Board members include Gerald Busby, Beth Clayton, John Corigliano, Meredith Monk, Marni Nixon, Kirk Nurock, Patricia Racette, Ned Rorem, Jerry Rubino, Liz Smith, and Eric Whitacre.

Cynthia Powell is the conductor and artistic director.


The Stonewall Chorale originated in December 1977 as the Gotham Male Chorus, founded by conductor Donald Rock, who wanted a chorus that would "dig music as well as each other." In 1979, women joined Gotham Male Chorus for the first time, and the name was changed to Stonewall Chorale, the nation's first lesbian and gay mixed-voice chorus.[1] It was a catalyst for the creation of solidarity and commonality among GLBTQ individuals in New York City.

In September 1983 at Lincoln Center,the Chorale opened the first gay and lesbian choral festival named "Come Out! and Sing Together" (aka COAST)[2], organized and sponsored by GALA Choruses (Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses), now an international organization with more than 150 member choruses.

In 1985 the Stonewall Chorale officially became a tax exempt corporation.[3]

In 1986 William Pflugradt became the conductor of the Stonewall Chorale.[4]

In 1988 the Chorale premiered composer Louis Weingarden's cantata "Evening Liturgy of Consolation," an AIDS memorial work.[5]

In 1991 Nancy Vang began directing the Chorale.[6] In December 1991 former Chorale director Bill Pflugradt died of AIDS and the choir performed at his memorial service in January 1992.[7]

In 1995 the Stonewall Chorale performed at Carnegie Hall in a concert hosted by the New York City Gay Men's Chorus.[8]

In 1996, the Chorale received a $5,000 Community Arts Project Award from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. These grants are awarded annually to nine community performing arts organizations based on their quality of musical performance, program creativity, and ongoing commitment to professionalism. This grant subsidized a concert at Alice Tully Hall on February 22, 1997 which honored the music and pedagogy of Nadia Boulanger. The program also resulted in a generous grant of $2,000 received from the Florence Gould Foundation, whose purpose is to promote French culture in the United States.

In 2002, the Chorale welcomed Cynthia Powell as its conductor and artistic director. Under her direction, the Chorale has performed major works by Handel, Mozart, Orff, Vivaldi, Faure, Vaughan Williams, Poulenc, Stravinsky, and Britten to capacity audiences. The Chorale commissioned and premiered "love notes" by Gerald Busby, presented the choral premiere of Meredith Monk's Book of Days at Merkin Hall, performed Monk's Ascension Variations at the Guggenheim Museum, and her Songs of Ascension at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In January 2012 the Chorale performed at Carnegie Hall in a benefit for the American Cancer Society, alongside special guests Julie Andrews and Donald Trump.

In 2010, artistic director Cynthia Powell was featured as one of GO Magazine's "Women at the Helm."[9]

In 2012, The Fund for Creative Communities from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council awarded a grant to the Stonewall Chorale.[10]The Fund for Creative Communities During that same year the Chorale's artistic director Cynthia Powell appeared on WQXR Radio's show "The Choral Mix" discussing the choir's 36th season.[11]

Notable guest artists[edit]

Notable performances[edit]


  1. ^ "GALA Choruses History". Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  2. ^ Pareles, Jon (Sep 11, 1983). "Music: Gay Male Choruses Perform at Lincoln Center". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  3. ^ "The Stonewall Chorale Inc". GuideStar. GuideStar. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  4. ^ "William Pflugradt, Conductor, 48". The New York Times. 24 December 1991. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  5. ^ Crutchfield, William (11 June 1988). "AIDS Brings Composer's Inspiration". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  6. ^ Kozinn, Allan (16 June 1992). "Classical Music in Review". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Pflugradt Memorial". The New York Times. 3 January 1992. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  8. ^ Holland, Bernard (26 June 1995). "In Performance; Classical Music". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  9. ^ Burke, Cheryl (17 December 2010). "Women at the Helm 2010". GO Magazine. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  10. ^ "The Fund for Creative Communities". The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  11. ^ Tritle, Kent (14 October 2012). "The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle". WNYC. WQXR Radio. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  12. ^ Stiffler, Scott (31 May 2017). "Just Do Art: Week of June 1, 2017". The Villager. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  13. ^ BWW News Desk (28 July 2016). "Broadway's Sydney James Harcourt, Matt Morrison and Melissa Errico to Sing National Anthem for NY Empire World TeamTennis Season". Broadway World. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  14. ^ Sager, Jessica (14 June 2016). "An emotional evening for the Trevor Project". The New York Post. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  15. ^ Panisch, Alex (12 November 2015). "WATCH: Man Proposes Via Musical Flashmob". Out Magazine. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  16. ^ Osborne, Duncan (26 June 2013). "Rally Celebrates Supreme Court Wins, Hails Windsor". Gay City News. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  17. ^ Ross, Alex. "Primal Song: Meredith Monk, at BAM". The New Yorker. Conde Nast. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  18. ^ Jowitt, Deborah (27 March 2009). "Meredith Monk Makes the Guggenheim Dance and Sing". The Village Voice. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  19. ^ Pareles, Jon (11 September 1983). "Music: Male Choruses Perform at Lincoln Center". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 June 2013.

External links[edit]