• Feb 16, 2023

Pacific Chorale Embarks on First International Tour in Seven Years in July 2023

Written by Ryan McSweeney


Press Contact: Libby Huebner, libbyhuebner562@gmail.com, 562.799.6055

Grammy-Winning Pacific Chorale,
Led by Artistic Director Robert Istad,
Embarks on First International Tour in Seven Years
with Appearances in Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom
July 12-24, 2023

Chorus, Joined by Soloists Aundi Marie Moore, Soprano, and Michael Sumuel, Bass-Baritone,
to Perform with Freies Landesorchester Bayern (Free State Orchestra of Bavaria), Bath Philharmonia, and Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
Program Features Haydn’s Nelson Mass and the European Premiere of
Florence Price’s Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight

COSTA MESA, CA (February 6, 2023) – Grammy-winning Pacific Chorale, whose performances have been hailed as “ethereal” (LA Opus), “thrilling” and “sublime” (Classical Voice), will embark on its first international tour in seven years, taking its artistry to leading venues in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom from July 12-24, 2023. Artistic Director Robert Istad will conduct all five of the tour performances. The Orange County, California-based chorus performs, alongside several regional orchestras, two works from the choir’s season finale, including the European premiere of Price’s rediscovered masterwork, Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight, and Haydn’s Nelson Mass. Joining the Chorale on tour are celebrated soloists soprano Aundi Marie Moore, applauded for “her vivid, rich voice” (Washington Classical Review), and bass-baritone Michael Sumuel, lauded for his “luminous tone and theatrical presence” (San Francisco Chronicle). This marks Istad’s first tour with Pacific Chorale.

The choir’s tour launches with back-to-back performances with the noted Freies Landesorchester Bayern (Free State Orchestra of Bavaria) in two iconic venues: Salzburg, Austria’s Salzburg Cathedral, which holds one of Austria’s most important music archives (July 15, 2023), and Munich, Germany’s Kirche St. Joseph, distinguished for its Baroque revival architecture (July 16). Pacific Chorale next travels to the UK, appearing with Bath Philharmonia, one of the country’s leading orchestras, at Oxford University’s Sheldonian Theatre (July 19), and Bath Abbey, in the World Heritage City of Bath (July 21). The tour concludes with the chorale’s performance with the acclaimed Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra at Salisbury Cathedral, which houses one of only four original copies of the Magna Carta known to exist, in Salisbury, located near Stonehenge in the county of Wiltshire (July 22).

“We are thrilled to, once again, share with audiences abroad the extraordinary artistry of Pacific Chorale live in concert, especially with a musical program of such significance,” says Istad. “Although composed in vastly different times in reaction to vastly different circumstances on separate continents, both Florence Price’s long-lost choral masterwork, Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight, and Haydn’s enduring tour de force, the Nelson Mass, convey powerful and profound messages of humanity that are as relevant today as they were when they were composed. I am deeply moved to conduct these particular works on what will be my first-ever tour with Pacific Chorale.”

About the Tour Program
The tour program replicates the program on the Chorale’s season finale on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA, during which Istad will lead the West Coast premiere of the choral-orchestral version of groundbreaking composer Florence Price’s newly discovered Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight, a setting of Springfield, Illinois-native Vachel Lindsay’s ardent anti-war poem of the same title. The long-lost manuscript by Price, one of the first Black American women to be widely recognized as a significant American composer, was recovered from an abandoned house in Illinois in 2009 and is thought to have been completed between 1914 and 1949. Her work will be paired with Haydn’s masterpiece Missa in Angustiis (Mass for Troubled Times) “Nelson Mass,” composed in 1798, at a time of tremendous turmoil when the citizens of Austria feared defeat by Napoleon’s troops. These works, although grounded in the new and old worlds respectively and composed more than a century apart, both address the futility of war. The Chorale will also host its annual Gala immediately following the concert, to celebrate and benefit the upcoming European tour.

The Price work will also feature the solo voices of noted American singers Aundi Marie Moore, soprano, and Michael Sumuel, bass-baritone. This marks Moore’s second appearance with Pacific Chorale, having previously performed in the choir’s presentation of the West Coast premiere of Damien Geter’s Cantata for a More Hopeful Tomorrow in 2021.

For more information on Pacific Chorale visit www.pacificchorale.org.

Pacific Chorale July 2023 Tour Performance Schedule
  • 15 July, 12:00 p.m., Salzburg Cathedral, Salzburg, Austria, with Freies Landesorchester Bayern
  • 16 July, 5:00 p.m., Kirche St. Joseph, Munich, Germany, with Freies Landesorchester Bayern
  • 19 July, 7:30 p.m., Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, UK, with Bath Philharmonia
  • 21 July, 7:30 p.m., Bath Abbey, Bath, UK, with Bath Philharmonia
  • 22 July, 7:30 p.m., Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, UK, with Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
About the Artists

ROBERT ISTAD, a Grammy Award-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 Performance and 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.

Soprano AUNDI MARIE MOORE was recently announced as the 2023 Honoree of the Sphinx Award for Excellence, an acknowledgement of her artistic achievements, her work ethic and her spirit of determination. She quickly established herself as an exceptional talent with her recent appearance as Strawberry Woman in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Porgy and Bess last season. Previous career highlights on the opera stage include Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) at L’Opéra de Monte Carlo for her international operatic debut, Nedda (I Pagliacci) at Sarasota Opera, Mimi (La Boheme) in Italy at the Amalfi Coast Festival, Serena (Porgy and Bess) at Atlanta Opera and at Virginia Opera, and the role of Odessa Clay in the world premiere of D. J. Sparr’s Approaching Ali commissioned by Washington National Opera. A member of the Domingo-Cafritz Washington National Opera Young Artist Program, the artist appeared at WNO as Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), Mother (Hansel und Gretel), Wanda (c)(Sophie’s Choice), Fifth Maid (Elektra) under the baton of Heinz Fricke, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni under the baton of Placido Domingo. She participated in the Salzburg Music Festival Young Artist Program in 2008 and covered the roles of Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) and the title role of Rusalka and appeared as featured soloist in their Gala concert conducted by Ivor Bolton. Future engagements include the role of Mother (Blue) at Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Grand Rapids Symphony, and she sings a new work with The Washington Chorus at Wolf Trap Choral Festival.

Bass-baritone MICHAEL SUMUEL returns to the Metropolitan Opera in the 22/23 season, singing Belcore in L’Elisir D’amore. Other debuts include the Father in Blue with English National Opera, Elviro in Xerxes with Detroit Opera, and Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro with Pittsburgh Opera. In concert, Sumuel will perform with the Cincinnati Symphony, the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, Washington Concert Opera, and Mercury Houston. Finally, with Pacific Chorale, he will take part in a European tour, performing in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Florence Price’s Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight. Last season, Sumuel made his debut as Jesus in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with LA Opera, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro with Seattle Opera, Escamillo in Carmen for his Santa Fe Opera debut, the King in Massenet’s Cinderella with the Metropolitan Opera, Leporello in Don Giovanni with Opera San Antonio, and Escamillo with Chicago Opera Theater. He has previously appeared with the Dallas Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Dayton Opera, and Central City Opera. An in-demand concert artist, Sumuel has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Music of the Baroque, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, San Francisco Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, the United States Naval Academy, Cleveland Orchestra, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and Seattle Symphony, among others. Sumuel, recipient of a Richard Tucker Career Grant, is a Metropolitan Opera National Council audition Grand Finalist and winner of the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. He is an alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, and the Filene Young Artist program at Wolf Trap Opera.

PACIFIC CHORALE, a Grammy Award-winning 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) has “risen to national prominence” (Los Angeles Times) since its inception 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 the world, U.S., and West Coast premieres of more than 35 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 partnership with Pacific Symphony, with whom the choir made its 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 as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Engineered Album, Classical, for its contribution to the live classical recording of “Mahler: Symphony No. 8, ‘Symphony of A Thousand,’” conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, featuring Leah Crocetto, Mihoko Fujimura, Ryan McKinny, Erin Morley, Tamara Mumford, Simon O’Neill, Morris Robinson and Tamara Wilson; 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. Pacific Chorale has garnered international acclaim as well, having toured extensively to more than 19 countries in Europe, South America, and Asia, and through collaborations 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 people of all ages, the organization, which has a discography of 14 self-produced recordings and an extensive collection of exceptional free digital offerings, places a 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