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Who We Are

We inspire our community through artistry and innovation in choral
performances and education programs.

Core Values

  • Artistry
  • Commitment
  • Inspiring Curiosity
  • Innovation
  • Community


Inspiring love of choral music and lifelong learning.


We inspire our community through artistry and innovation in choral performances and education programs.

About Pacific Chorale

Founded in 1968 by Dr. Maurice Allard, Pacific Chorale is internationally recognized for exceptional artistic expression, stimulating American-focused programming, and influential education programs. Under the artistic direction of Robert Istad, the Chorale presents a substantial performance season of its own at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County, California, and is sought regularly to perform with the nation’s leading symphonies. Pacific Chorale has infused an Old World art form with California’s hallmark innovation and cultural independence, expanding the traditional concepts of choral repertoire and performance.

Pacific Chorale is comprised of 200 staff and volunteer singers. In addition to its long-standing partnership with Pacific Symphony, the Chorale has performed with such renowned American ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the National Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and Musica Angelica. Other noted collaborations within the Southern California community include the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, and Riverside Symphony.

During the remarkable 45-year tenure (1972-2017) of Artistic Director Emeritus John Alexander, the Chorale toured extensively in Europe, South America and Asia, performing in London, Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and Hong Kong, and collaborating with the London Symphony, the Munich Symphony, L’Orchestre Lamoureux and L’Orchestre de St-Louis-en-l’Île of Paris, the National Orchestra of Belgium, the China National Symphony, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Estonian National Symphony, and the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Argentina. In 2018, Pacific Chorale traveled to New York City to join Pacific Symphony in making their Carnegie Hall debut, performing The Passion of Ramakrishna as part of composer Philip Glass’s 80th birthday celebration.

Education programs are central to the Chorale’s vision of inspiring love of choral music and lifelong learning. Pacific Chorale’s innovative educational initiatives have opened the door to the art of choral music and the magic of the creative process for thousands of students and adults annually, including: a Choral Academy for elementary school students modeled on the El Sistema movement; a Choral Camp presented in association with California State University, Fullerton providing high school students with training in music theory and vocal production; a Choral Festival uniting 400 singers each summer in a free community performance; Intro to the Arts and Passage to the Arts, partnerships with local social service organizations and high school choral directors that allow students, at-risk youth, and low-income families to attend Pacific Chorale performances free of charge; competitions and master classes to nurture the talent of young composers; and Concert Previews that provide deeper insight into the Chorale’s performance repertoire.

Pacific Chorale has received numerous awards from Chorus America, the service organization for North American choral groups, including the prestigious “Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence,” the first national “Educational Outreach Award,” the 2005 ASCAP Chorus America Alice Parker Award for adventurous programming, and the 2015 “Education and Community Engagement Award.”

Pacific Chorale can be heard on numerous recordings, including American Voices, a collection of American choral works; Songs of Eternity by James F. Hopkins and Voices by Stephen Paulus, featuring Pacific Symphony; a holiday recording, Christmas Time Is Here, on the Gothic Records label; a live concert recording of Sergei Rachmaninov’s Vespers; the world premiere recording of Frank Ticheli’s The Shore for chorus and orchestra; and the world premiere recording of Jake Heggie’s choral opera The Radio Hour, all conducted by John Alexander. Pacific Chorale also appears on six recordings released by Pacific Symphony and conducted by Carl St.Clair: Elliot Goldenthal’s Fire, Water, Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio; Richard Danielpour’s An American Requiem; Philip Glass’s The Passion of Ramakrishna; Michael Daugherty’s Mount Rushmore; Richard Danielpour’s Toward a Season of Peace; and William Bolcom’s Prometheus with pianist Jeffrey Biegel. In 2019, Pacific Chorale recorded Mahler’s Symphony No. 8—performed live with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel—for Deutsche Grammophon, and music by Composer-in-Residence Tarik O’Regan conducted by Robert Istad for Yarlung Records.

Artistic Director Emeritus John Alexander

John Alexander is one of America’s most respected choral conductors. His inspired leadership both on the podium and as an advocate for the advancement of the choral art has garnered national and international admiration and acclaim.

Alexander’s long and distinguished conducting career has encompassed hundreds of choral and orchestral performances nationally and in 27 countries around the globe. He has conducted his singers with orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, the former Soviet Union and South America and, within his own Southern California community, with Pacific Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Musica Angelica and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Alexander is equally proficient behind the scenes, having prepared choruses for many of the world’s most outstanding orchestral conductors, including Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, Lukas Foss, Max Rudolf, Carl St.Clair, Gerard Schwarz, Marin Alsop, John Mauceri, John Williams, and Keith Lockhart.

Alexander is the Artistic Director Emeritus of Pacific Chorale, having served as Artistic Director and Conductor from 1972 to 2017. Under his direction, the organization grew to become one of the foremost symphonic choirs in the nation, enjoying thirteen international tours throughout Europe, Asia, and South America; establishing productive artistic partnerships with Pacific Symphony and Segerstrom Center for the Arts; performing dozens of world and United States premieres; and releasing numerous recordings.

Alexander is nationally recognized for his leadership in the musical and organizational development of the performing arts.  He is a board member and former president of Chorus America, the service organization for choruses in North America. Alexander also has served on artistic review panels for national, statewide and local arts organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Alexander holds the title of Professor Emeritus at California State University, Fullerton, where he taught as Director of Choral Studies from 1996 to 2006. From 1970 to 1996, he held the same position at California State University, Northridge. Today Alexander continues his involvement in the pre-professional training of choral conductors. He is in demand as a teacher, clinician, and adjudicator in festivals, seminars, and workshops across the United States. In 2003, Chorus America honored him with the establishment of the “John Alexander Conducting Faculty Chair” for their national conducting workshops.

A proponent of contemporary American music, Alexander is noted for the strong representation of American works and composers in his programming. He has conducted many premieres of works by composers such as Jake Heggie, Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre, Frank Ticheli, and James Hopkins. Alexander is also a composer of many works and serves as the editor of the John Alexander Choral Series with Hinshaw Music, as well as the John Alexander Singers Choral Series with Pavane Publishing.

His numerous tributes and awards include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the ACDA, Western Division (2016); the “Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art” from Chorus America (2008); The “Distinguished Faculty Member” award from California State University, Fullerton (2006); the Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award (2003), presented in honor of his lifetime achievement as an artistic visionary in the development of the arts in Orange County; the “Outstanding Individual Artist” Award (2000) from Arts Orange County; the “Gershwin Award” (1990), presented by the county of Los Angeles in recognition of his cultural leadership in that city; and the “Outstanding Professor” Award (1976) from California State University, Northridge.

Board & Staff

Board of Directors

  • Andrew Brown,
    President & CEO*
  • David Bunker, Chair, Innovations*
  • Christopher Lindley,
    Chair, Marketing*
  • Susan Lindley, Chair, Education*
  • Mary A. Lyons,
    Chair, Development*
  • Rick McNeil
  • Marcia O’Hern, Secretary*
  • Thomas A. Pridonoff,
    Immediate Past Board Chair*
  • Stephane Quinn
  • Ryan Ratcliff,
    Artists’ Council Representative
  • Craig Springer, Board Chair*
  • Michael Vantrease,
  • Amanda Whiting
  • Charles Zhang,
    Chair, Nominating*

* Executive Committee member


  • Robert Istad,
    Artistic Director
  • Andrew Brown,
    President & CEO
  • Molly Buzick Pontin,
    Vice President, Director of Education & Community Programs
  • Abby Manaye,
  • Ryan McSweeney,
    Director of Marketing & Box Office
  • Alex Nelson,
    Director of Artistic Production
  • Briana Watson,
    Individual Giving Manager
  • Natalie Hunter,
    Administrative Assistant

Artistic Staff

  • Kibsaim Escarcega,
    Interim Assistant Conductor
  • David Clemensen, D.M.A.,
  • Rebecca Hasquet,
    Soprano Section Leader
  • Jane Shim,
    Alto Section Leader
  • Nicholas Preston,
    Tenor Section Leader
  • Brianna Harley Adams,
    Teaching Artist

Volunteer Administration

  • Tom Henley,
    Volunteer Librarian
  • Barbara Kingsbury,
  • Ryan Ratcliff,
    Artists’ Council President
  • Bonnie Pridonoff,
    Grant Research Volunteer