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Pacific Chorale, Led By Artistic Director Robert Istad,  Announces 2024-2025 Season

May 9, 2024

Highlights of 57th Season, Titled “Resonate,” Include:

·       Semi-Staged Theatrical Presentation Pairing Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Caroline Shaw’s To the Hands, which Shines a Light on Refugees and the Unhoused, with the Work that Inspired it – Buxtehude’s 17th Century Ad Manus

·       Pacific Chorale-Commissioned World Premiere by Viet Cuong Celebrating the Choir’s Steadfast Advocate and Friend Carl St.Clair on his 35th Season as Music Director of Pacific Symphony;

·       Works by Contemporary Composers Arvo Pärt, Nico Muhly, Jennifer Higdon, Toby Young, Sarah Quartel, and Tarik O’Regan Offering Profound Narratives about the Hopes, Dreams, and Challenges of Lighting a Path to a Brighter Tomorrow; 

·       Enduring Choral Masterworks such as Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Israel in Egypt;

·       Pacific Chorale’s Signature “Carols by Candlelight” and “Tis the Season!” Family Holiday Programs;

·       16th Annual Pacific Chorale Choral Festival Culminating in Free Community Performance;

·       Four Engagements with Pacific Symphony at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, including Handel’s Messiah, a Lunar New Year Program, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Verdi’s Requiem.

COSTA MESA, CA (April 24, 2024) – The GRAMMY®-winning Pacific Chorale, acclaimed for its stellar artistry, announces a broad slate of thought-provoking programming for its 2024-25 season. Led by Artistic Director Robert Istad, the choir marks its 57th season with seven programs featuring more than two dozen choral masterworks, contemporary and timeless, with performances at three Orange County venues: the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and Samueli Theater at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, and Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach. The chorus is also featured on four Pacific Symphony programs next season.

Istad says, “Because language is at the essence of choral music, it conveys narrative in powerfully unique ways. The works I chose for Pacific Chorale’s 2024-25 season capture our musicians’ special capacity for storytelling. Our programs explore a range of profound themes, including mortality (Mozart’s Requiem), compassion (Caroline Shaw’s To the Hands), light triumphing over darkness (Sarah Quartel’s Density of Light), as well as the power music has to deepen our spirituality (Arvo Pärt’s Berlin Mass). The compositions I’ve programmed this season exude tremendous emotion, beauty, depth, richness, and even humor and whimsy. Performances of this diverse repertoire demand tremendous technical and artistic mastery from Pacific Chorale’s singers. You will be transfixed as our musicians seamlessly shift between expressing ethereal whispers to brilliant walls of sound in repertoire ranging from Gregorian chant to post-minimalist works.” 

Providing context for the season ahead, in September, Pacific Chorale offers two back-to-back performances of “To the Hands,” a special presentation that has been in development by the chorus for some time. It features Pacific Chorale’s chamber choir on a remarkable semi-staged program that reaches across the millennia with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw’s poignant and deeply compassionate To the Hands for voices and strings performed side-by-side with the work it was written in response to – Dieterich Buxtehude’s masterful 17th century cantata Ad Manus. Shaw leverages music’s power to spotlight the voices of refugees and the unhoused. Gramophone says, “To the Hands begins like new-minted Gregorian chants formed for the opening scene of a Ridley Scott epic. The piece continues with chorus and angsty breaths; angelic strains and agitated string accompaniment; a cacophony of spoken word and fine delicate webs of crystalline-like prayer.” Also woven into this special presentation are a selection of consolatory works by Moira Smiley, Sarah McLachlan, Kevin Siegfried, Ken Burton, Shawn Kirchner and Ysaÿe Barnwell. (Saturday, September 14, 2024, 8:00 pm, and Sunday, September 15, 2024, 5:00 pm, Samueli Theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts)

Pacific Chorale’s 2024-25 season continues with “Songs of the Soul,” a concert conducted by Istad pairing organ and voice that showcases works by six contemporary composers that offer profound narratives reflecting the hopes, dreams, and challenges of lighting a path to a brighter tomorrow. They include Toby Young’s effervescent “O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright”; Arvo Pärt’s Berliner Mass, with connotations of redemption and immortality; and Nico Muhly’s A Good Understanding, a celebratory work for adult and children’s voices. Also featured are Tarik O’Regan’s Dorchester Canticles; Jennifer Higdon’s sacred choral work O Magnum Mysterium, touching on the power of music to move people; and Sarah Quartel’s evocative Density of Light, exploring the theme of light triumphing over dark. Organ virtuoso Jung-A Lee is featured with the choir. (Saturday, October 26, 2024, 5:00 pm, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

In March, Pacific Chorale presents Handel’s riveting biblical oratorio, Israel in Egypt. The dramatic Baroque masterpiece, conducted by Istad, features Pacific Chorale’s chamber choir, configured as a double chorus, with special guest Bach Collegium San Diego, noted for its “gripping, empathetic” performances (San Diego Union Tribune). (Saturday, March 29, 2025, 8:00 pm, Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Newport Beach.)

Pacific Chorale, led by Istad and joined by frequent collaborator Pacific Symphony, caps its 2024-25 season with Mozart’s Requiem, a seminal choral masterwork. In addition, in recognition of the enduring collegial relationship between the choir and orchestra, Pacific Chorale celebrates Carl St.Clair’s 35th season as music director of Pacific Symphony in grand style with a Pacific Chorale-commissioned world premiere composed in his honor by the symphony’s composer-in-residence Viet Cuong, hailed for music that is “wildly inventive” (The New York Times) and “irresistible” (San Francisco Classical Voice). St.Clair has been a steadfast advocate and friend of Pacific Chorale throughout his lengthy tenure with the orchestra. The program opens with Brahms’ Nänie, a tender meditation on mortality, and includes Jake Runestad’s Into the Light, which, the composer hopes “challenges us to consider how we move beyond fear and onto a path of love, compassion, and kindness.” (Saturday, May 24, 2025, 8:00 pm, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.)

Additionally, Pacific Chorale celebrates the season with its signature mix of reverent and joyous holiday programming. 

“Carols by Candlelight” offers timeless traditional and contemporary holiday music with singers illuminated by flickering candlelight for this distinctive seasonal program. (Saturday, December 7, 8:00 pm, and Wednesday, December 11, 2024, 8:00 pm, Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Newport Beach.

Pacific Chorale’s delightful family favorite “Tis the Season!”­ – a beloved Orange County Yuletide tradition ­– caps the holidays with back-to-back concerts delivering festive musical cheer and delightful sonic wonder with festive carols, seasonal gems, and a visit from The Man in Red, Santa Claus. (Sunday, December 22, 5:00 pm, and Monday, December 23, 2023, 5:00 pm, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Continuing its broad outreach across Orange County, in August, Pacific Chorale produces its 16th Annual Choral Festival, a popular community event that engages local singers and audiences, culminating with a free community performance. The two-pronged Orange County tradition begins with Pacific Chorale assembling the Festival Choir, which draws from across the region hundreds of gifted amateur singers passionate about performing. (Anyone can participate but advance sign up is required.) Following rigorous rehearsals, those singers combine forces with the GRAMMY®-winning Pacific Chorale, raising their collective voices in song for a free performance of Haydn’s bracing Mass in Time of War, an oratorio brimming with excitement and sparkling choruses. The Pacific Chorale Choral Festival also provides an opportunity for the public to experience a live performance in one of the world’s leading concert halls at no cost. (Sunday, August 11, 2024, 5:00 pm, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.)

Guest Appearances

In addition to presenting its own concert series, Pacific Chorale joins Pacific Symphony for four programs at the Reneé and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. They include Handel’s Messiah conducted by Christopher Warren-Green (December 8, 2024); and three presentations under the baton of Carl St.Clair – A Lunar New Year program (February 1, 2025); Orff’s Carmina Burana (February 27 – March 2, 2025); and Verdi’s Requiem (June 5-8, 2025).


Season tickets are available in packages of 3 to 5 concerts, ranging in price from $85 to $545. Single tickets to individual performances, beginning at $32, go on sale on Monday, July 8, 2024. For tickets and information, visit www.pacificchorale.org or call 714-662-2345.

ROBERT ISTAD, a GRAMMY®-winning conductor who “fashions fluent and sumptuous readings” (Voice of OC) with his “phenomenal” artistry (Los Angeles Times), was appointed Pacific Chorale’s Artistic Director in 2017. Under his leadership, the chorus continues to expand its reputation for excellence for delivering fresh, thought-provoking interpretations of beloved masterworks, rarely performed gems and newly commissioned pieces. His artistic impact can be heard on two recent recordings featuring Pacific Chorale, including the 2020 Grammy Award-winning “Mahler’s Eighth Symphony” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel on Deutsche Grammophon (2021), for which he prepared the chorus. It won Best Choral Performanceand also garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Engineered Album, Classical. Additionally, Istad conducted the Pacific Chorale’s recording “All Things Common: The Music of Tarik O’Regan” released on Yarlung Records (2020). Istad has prepared choruses for such renowned conductors as Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Williams, John Mauceri, Keith Lockhart, Nicholas McGegan, Vasilly Sinaisky, Sir Andrew Davis, Bramwell Tovey, Carl St.Clair, Eugene Kohn, Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop, George Fenton, and Robert Moody. He regularly conducts and collaborates with Pacific Symphony, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, Sony Classical Records, Yarlung Records, Berkshire Choral International, and Long Beach Symphony Orchestra. An esteemed educator, Istad is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Fullerton, where he was recognized as CSUF’s 2016 Outstanding Professor of the Year. He conducts the University Singers and manages a large graduate conducting program, in addition to teaching courses on conducting and performance practice. Istad, who is on the Executive Board of Directors of Chorus America and serves as Dean of Chorus America’s Conducting Academy, is in demand as guest conductor, lecturer, and clinician.

The GRAMMY®-winning Pacific Chorale, led by Artistic Director Robert Istad, is an Orange County “treasure” with a “fresh viewpoint” that “can sing anything you put in front of it with polish, poise and tonal splendor” (Orange County Register). It has risen to national prominence since its founding in 1968. 

Hailed for delivering “thrilling entertainment” (Voice of OC), the resident choir at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is noted for its artistic innovation and commitment to expanding the choral repertoire. It has given world, U.S., and West Coast premieres of more than 40 works, including numerous commissions, by such lauded composers as John Adams, Jake Heggie, James Hopkins, David Lang, Morten Lauridsen, Tarik O’Regan, Karen Thomas, Frank Ticheli, András Gábor Virágh, and Eric Whitacre. 

In addition to presenting its own concert series each season, Pacific Chorale enjoys a long-standing performance partnership with Pacific Symphony, including the choir’s highly anticipated Carnegie Hall debut in 2018. The chorus also regularly appears with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with which it won the 2022 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for its contribution to the live recording of “Mahler: Symphony No. 8, ‘Symphony of A Thousand,’” conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, featuring Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, Los Angeles Master Chorale, National Children’s Chorus and Pacific Chorale.

The choir has performed with such leading orchestras as the Boston Symphony, National Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Musica Angelica, among others. In addition to receiving national accolades, Pacific Chorale has garnered tremendous international acclaim. In July 2023, the chorus completed its first international tour in seven years with appearances in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom in collaboration with Bath Philharmonia, Free State Orchestra of Bavaria, and Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra. Previous tours have taken the choir to 19 countries in Europe, South America, and Asia, including engagements with the London Symphony, Munich Symphony, L’Orchestre Lamoureux and L’Orchestre de St-Louis-en-l’Île of Paris, National Orchestra of Belgium, China National Symphony, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Estonian National Symphony, and Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Argentina, among others. 

Deeply committed to making choral music accessible to everyone, the organization has a discography of 14 self-produced recordings and an extensive collection of free digital offerings. Among other artistic highlights, Pacific Chorale’s “The Wayfaring Project,” an original concert film conceived and conducted by Istad and produced during the pandemic, was streamed on pbssocal.org, kcet.org and the PBS app, reaching audiences around the globe. Pacific Chorale also places significant emphasis on choral music education, providing after-school vocal programs for elementary school students, a choral summer camp for high school students, and an annual community-wide singing event at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. www.pacificchorale.org

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2024-2025 SEASON


Free Event: 16th Annual Choral Festival

Sunday, August 11, 2024, 5:00 pm
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

Robert Istad, conductor

Member of Pacific Chorale

+ Hundreds of community members

HAYDN Mass in Time of War

Special Presentation: To the Hands

A Theatrical Performance Directed by Marty Austin Lamar

Saturday, September 14, 2024, 8:00 pm

Sunday, September 15, 2024, 5:00 pm

Samueli Theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts 

Robert Istad, conductor

Pacific Chorale Chamber Choir

String Quintet


BUXTAHUDE Ad Manus (from Membra Jesu nostri)

MOIRA SMILEY Wayfaring Stranger



YSAŸE BARNWELL Would You Harbor Me?

Songs of the Soul

Saturday, October 26, 2024, 5;00 pm

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall,

Robert Istad, conductor

Pacific Chorale

Southern California Children’s Chorus

Jung-A Lee, organ

TOBY YOUNG O Splendour of God’s Glory Bright

ARVO PÄRT Berliner Mass

NICO MUHLY A Good Understanding

JENNIFER HIGDON O Magnum Mysterium

SARAH QUARTEL Density of Light

TARIK O’REGAN Dorchester Canticles

Carols by Candlelight 

Saturday, December 7, 2024, 8:00 pm

Wednesday, December 11, 2024, 8:00 pm

Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Newport Beach

Robert Istad, conductor 

Pacific Chorale

Piano & Guest Instrumentalists 

Timeless traditional and contemporary seasonal repertoire 

Tis the Season!

Sunday, December 22, 2024, 5:00 pm

Monday, December 23, 2024, 5:00 pm

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa

Robert Istad, conductor

Pacific Chorale

Members of Pacific Symphony

Southern California Children’s Chorus

The Man in Red, Santa!

Pacific Chorale’s signature family-friendly holiday program bursts with festive carols, holiday favorites and a visit from The Man in Red, Santa Claus.


Saturday, March 29, 2025, 8:00 pm

Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Newport Beach

Robert Istad, conductor

Members of Pacific Chorale

Bach Collegium San Diego, Ruben Valenzuela, artistic director

HANDEL Israel in Egypt

Mozart’s Requiem 

Saturday, May 24, 2025, 8:00 pm

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa

Robert Istad, conductor

Pacific Chorale

Pacific Symphony, Carl St.Clair, Music Director


VIET CUONG title TBA (Pacific Chorale-Commission World Premiere)

JAKE RUNESTAD Into the Light

MOZART Requiem


Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church

2100 Mar Vista Drive

Newport Beach, CA 92660

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts

600 Town Center Drive

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Samueli Theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts 

615 Town Center Drive

Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Season subscriptions available; single tickets, beginning at $32, go on sale July 8, 2024

Artists, dates, programs and venues subject to change