• Jul 7, 2023

Pacific Chorale Announces Bold and Dynamic Programming for 2023-2024 Season

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



Highlights of 56th Season Include:

  • The Powerful Cinematic Spectacular Voices of Light / The Passion of Joan of Arc, Featuring Richard Einhorn’s Oratorio Performed Live to Carl Dreyer’s 1928 Silent Film The Passion of Joan of Arc, Considered One of the Greatest Films Ever Made;
  • Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Mass for the Endangered, a Riveting Prayer for the Planet’s Wildlife;
  • Enduring Choral Works such as Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Morten Lauridsen’s Les Chansons des Roses, and Holst’s Psalm 148;
  • A Nod to Romance with “Language of Love,” a Program Embracing a Mix of Broadway Favorites, Dazzling Vocal Jazz, and Inspiring Choral Music;
  • Pacific Chorale’s Signature “Carols by Candlelight” and “Tis the Season!” Family Holiday Programs;
  • A Los Angeles Philharmonic Guest Appearance for Holst’s The Planets at The Hollywood Bowl;
  • Four Engagements with Pacific Symphony at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, including Handel’s Messiah, A Lunar New Year program, Pucci’s La Bohème, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, “Choral.”


COSTA MESA, CA (July 7, 2023) – Pacific Chorale, celebrated for its artistic innovation and compelling performances, announces a range of bold and dynamic programming for the 2023-24 season, showcasing the sublime power of the human voice raised in song. A regional and national leader in the choral arts, the Grammy Award-winning chorus, led by Artistic Director Robert Istad, marks its 56th season with five eclectic programs of captivating choral masterworks and contemporary works at three Orange County venues: the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach, and Meng Concert Hall on the Campus of Cal State Fullerton. The chorus also makes a total of five guest appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Pacific Symphony.


Istad says, “The music of Pacific Chorale’s 2023-2024 season immerses us in stories, asks questions, and opens hard, important conversations: About the silencing of women’s voices (Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light / The Passion of Joan of Arc). About the beauty and fragility of our planet and its creatures (Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Mass for the Endangered). About the tenuous place of the Jewish people among the nations (Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms). It’s music filled with emotion and exuberance that inspires, dares, and uplifts.”


The season launches with Voices of Light / The Passion of Joan of Arc, a spectacular cinematic event featuring Richard Einhorn’s “brilliantly effective” (Washington Post) 1994 oratorio inspired by and performed live to director Carl Dreyer’s 1928 silent film masterpiece, The Passion of Joan of Arc. Einhorn’s evocative work, written for orchestra, chorus and soloists, provides a haunting backdrop to the restored version of Dreyer’s cinematic tour de force, considered by many critic s to be among the greatest films ever made. Thought to have been lost in a warehouse fire, a single print of the film was discovered in a janitor’s closet of a Norwegian mental institution in 1981, which “was digitally restored to pristine condition” (Bright Lights Film Journal). The film, based on the actual 15th century transcripts of St. Joan’s trial for heresy, portrays her trial and execution. Dressed as a boy, she led French troops in a defeat against British occupiers during the Hundred Years’ War, but was later captured and tried by French clergy loyal to the British and condemned to death by burning at the stake for her belief that she was spurred to action by religious visions. Of Renée Maria Falconetti’s portrayal of Joan of Arc, the late renowned film critic Pauline Kael decreed, “It may be the finest performance ever recorded on film.” The featured soloists are Pacific Chorale members Alexandria Burdick, soprano; Rebecca Hasquet, soprano; Stephanie Shepson, mezzo-soprano; Jane Hyun-Jung Shim, mezzo-soprano; Jason Francisco, tenor; and Fernando Muñoz, bass. (Saturday, October 7, 2023, 7:30 pm, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.)

Pacific Chorale’s stellar chamber choir showcases a different side of the chorus’ distinctive artistry with “Language of Love,” an intimate evening of sublime love songs, including a selection of treasured Broadway tunes, dazzling vocal jazz, inspiring choral music, and cabaret-style solos. Among the featured works is a rare complete performance of Morten Lauridsen’s Les Chansons des Roses, his masterful setting of Rilke’s exquisite love poetry hailed as “celestial and spine-tingling” (International Review of Music). UK’s Daily Express decreed, “contemporary choral music doesn’t come any better than this.” (Saturday, February 24, 2024 at 7:30 pm, Meng Concert Hall, CSU Fullerton.)

The season finale embraces hope with three disparate emotional works that inspire listeners to action. Istad conducts Sarah Kirkland Snider’s riveting Mass for the Endangered, a contemporary rumination on the traditional Catholic Mass with original text by Nathaniel Bellows that speaks to our delicate relationship to the planet’s wildlife. “A passionate paean to nature… the work proclaims Snider’s technical command and unerring knack for breathtaking beauty” (The New Yorker). The program also includes Holst’s crystalline Psalm 148, for chorus, organ and orchestra, and Bernstein’s spirited and life affirming Chichester Psalms, an appeal for brotherhood and peace. (Saturday, June 1, 2024 at 7:30 pm, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.)


Additionally, Pacific Chorale rings in 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 2, 8:00 pm, and Wednesday, December 6, 2023, 8:00 pm, Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Newport Beach.)


Pacific Chorale’s delightful family favorite “Tis the Season!” ­ – one of Orange County’s beloved Yuletide traditions ­– 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 17, 5:00 pm, and Monday, December 18, 2023, 7:30 pm, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.)


Pacific Chorale President and CEO Andrew Brown says, “Pacific Chorale has flourished for nearly six decades, filling a vital artistic role in Orange County and beyond. The range and scope of our programming speaks to the tremendous talent of our gifted singers. We are grateful to the dedicated leadership of Pacific Chorale’s Board of Directors, the generosity of our donors and volunteer singers, and our ardent audience members whose tremendous support enables Pacific Chorale’s artistic excellence to shine.”


Guest Appearances

In addition to presenting its own concert series, Pacific Chorale makes a guest appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, performing Holst’s The Planets conducted by Karen Kamensek at the Hollywood Bowl (September 12, 2023). The choir also joins Pacific Symphony for four programs at the Reneé and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. They include Handel’s Messiah conducted by Justo Valdés (December 3, 2023); and three presentations under the baton of Carl St.Clair – A Lunar New Year program (February 10, 2024); Puccini’s La Bohème (April 4-9, 2024); and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, “Choral,” and Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna (June 6-9, 2024).



Season tickets are available in packages of 3 to 5 concerts, ranging in price from $66 to $525. Single tickets to individual performances, beginning at $25, go on sale on Monday, August 28, 2023. For tickets and information, visit www.pacificchorale.org or call 714-662-2345.



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.

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

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2023-2024 SEASON



Voices of Light / The Passion of Joan of Arc

An Oratorio with Silent Film

Saturday, October 7, 2023 at 7:30 pm

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

Robert Istad, conductor

Pacific Chorale

Pacific Symphony Strings

Alexandria Burdick, soprano

Rebecca Hasquet, soprano

Stephanie Shepson, mezzo

Jane Hyun-Jung Shim, mezzo

Jason Francisco, tenor

Fernando Muñoz, bass

Film Projection

Film Director: Carl Dreyer

Music: Richard Einhorn


Carols by Candlelight

Saturday, December 2, 2023 at 8:00 pm

Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at 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 17, 2023 at 5:00 pm

Monday, December 18, 2023 at 7:30 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!


A family-friendly program replete with festive carols, holiday favorites and a visit from The Man in Red, Santa Claus


Language of Love

Saturday, February 24, 2024 at 7:30 pm

Meng Concert Hall, CSU Fullerton

Robert Istad, conductor

Members of Pacific Chorale

Instrumental jazz trio


Morten LAURIDSEN Les Chansons des Roses

+ a mix of Broadway’s best-loved music, vocal jazz, inspiring choral music, and cabaret-style solos


Chichester Psalms

Saturday, June 1, 2024 at 7:30 pm

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

Robert Istad, conductor

Pacific Chorale

Pacific Symphony


Sarah Kirkland SNIDER Mass for the Endangered

HOLST Psalm 148

BERNSTEIN Chichester Psalms





Meng Concert Hall, CSU Fullerton

800 N. State College Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92831

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



Season subscriptions available; single tickets, beginning at $25, go on sale August 28, 2023


Artists, dates, programs and venues subject to change