Vancouver Chamber Choir
The Vancouver Chamber Choir, originally comprising 16 voices and then 20 (equal numbers of male and female personnel) by 1980, was founded by conductor and composer Jon WASHBURN in 1971 as a fully professional choral ensemble. Now clearly recognized as one of North America's major choirs, it has made over 55 tours since 1973, with annual appearances in Canadian centres and 6 tours abroad, including concerts in the Czech Republic, China, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and the US, as well as numerous braodcasts. Each season now includes some 50 to 60 performances and events, including educational work (eg, National Conductors' Symposium, composer workshops, professional development programs for young singers, and school visits) and a 10-concert series in Vancouver. The choir operates as a non-profit society with an annual budget of $800 000 to $1 000 000 per year. Distinguished soloists over the years have included Maureen FORRESTER, Ben HEPPNER (who also sang as a member of the Choir from 1976 to 1978), Lois MARSHALL, Richard MARGISON and Manahem Pressler. The choir has appeared, for example, with The CANADIAN BRASS, the Moscow Chamber Choir, and the Stockholm Chamber Choir; its guest conductors have included John Eliot Gardiner and Tonu Kaljuste. While its repertoire covers a wide range, from works by Monteverdi to contemporary pieces, the Choir has a particular reputation for commissioning/premiering over 115 Canadian compositions. Winning numerous honours (for instance, it was the CANADIAN MUSIC COUNCIL's "Ensemble of the Year" in 1989, and received the Grand Prize in the Takarazuka Chamber Choir Competition in Japan in 1994 and the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence in 1997), the Choir has now made 31 recordings.