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We invite you to join us on our journey

On September 23, 1968, a group of singers gathered at the University of California, Irvine to begin rehearsals for a performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah under the direction of Maurice Allard. The chorus organizers had anticipated a turnout of 100 singers to audition. They had more than twice that number show, inspired by the opportunity to share the love of choral music with their community. This would be the beginning of one of Orange County’s longest continuously operating performing organizations. Originally functioning as an extension of UCI, we quickly established our independence as the Irvine Master Chorale. When Dr. Allard left our organization in 1972, the board selected John Alexander to take over the artistic leadership. Alexander would go on to conduct the Chorale for a remarkable 45 seasons.

During his tenure, the Chorale would:

  • enjoy 13 international tours to 19 countries;
  • present more than 30 world, U.S. and West Coast premieres;
  • establish a productive artistic partnership with Pacific Symphony;
  • find a permanent performance home at Segerstrom Center for the Arts;
  • hire a professional core of singers and administrative staff;
  • release numerous recordings;
  • win multiple awards for artistic excellence and quality education programs.

Along the way, we also changed our name to Pacific Chorale, reflecting Orange County’s (and California’s) identity as a coastal community taking part in the rich network of cultures and traditions that encompass Earth’s largest ocean. Today, Pacific Chorale is one of the leading symphonic choruses in the nation, with an annual budget of nearly $2 million. Having bid John Alexander a fond and tearful bon voyage upon his retirement in June 2017, we now look ever forward to exploring new vistas and discovering new musical worlds under the direction of Robert Istad. We invite you to join us on our journey.

International Tours

  • 1974 – France, West Germany, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Luxembourg
  • 1977 – Switzerland, Italy
  • 1979 – United Kingdom (London, Coventry, Lancaster, Edinburgh, Winchester)
  • 1983 – West Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary
  • 1988 – United Kingdom, Belgium, France
  • 1991 – Estonia, Russia
  • 1993 – China (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing)
  • 1998 – Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil
  • 2003 – Spain (Madrid, Cordoba, Grenada, Nerja, Ronda, Sevilla)
  • 2008 – France, Italy
  • 2012 – France (Paris)
  • 2016 – Hungary (Budapest), Austria (Vienna)

World Premieres

  • Linda Wells – Gloria (1980)
  • James Hopkins – Songs of Eternity (1993)
  • John Alexander – This Time of Kites (1996)
  • John Alexander – Musica (1997)
  • James Hopkins – From the Realm of the Sea (1997)
  • James Hopkins – Come to Me in the Silence of the Night (1997)
  • James Hopkins – The Rossetti Songs (1998)
  • Frank Ticheli – There Will Be Rest (1999)
  • John Alexander – Sweet Harmony (2000)
  • Lili Boulanger – Soir sur la plaine (orchestrated version) (2000)
  • Eric Whitacre – Winter (2000)
  • Frank Ticheli – The Song Within (2004)
  • Jake Heggie – Seeking Higher Ground (2006)
  • Morten Lauridsen – Chanson Éloignée (2006)
  • Michael Eglin – Barter (2008)*
  • Zachary Wadsworth – Fantasy on a Theme by William Billings (2008)*
  • Joseph Gregorio – Love, thricewise (2010)*
  • John Orfe – Fire! (2012)*
  • Michael Rickelton – Pentecost (2012)*
  • Frank Ticheli – The Shore (2013)
  • Jake Heggie: The Radio Hour (2014)
  • Christian Guebert: The Untold Want (2017)*

* Winner, Pacific Chorale’s Young Composer’s Competition