Pacific Chorale Announces 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.

By: Apr. 25, 2024
Pacific Chorale Announces 2024-25 Season
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The GRAMMY-winning Pacific Chorale has announced 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 or call 714-662-2345.


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