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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

Vision

Inspiring love of choral music and lifelong learning.

Mission

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

About Pacific Chorale

The Grammy Award-winning PACIFIC CHORALE, an 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. Among other artistic highlights, Pacific Chorale’s “The Wayfaring Project,” a stunning original concert film conceived and conducted by Istad and produced during the pandemic, was picked up by PBS SoCal and KCET and will be streamed through December 1, 2024 on pbssocal.orgkcet.org and the PBS app, reaching audiences across the Southland and around the globe.

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 for its contribution to the live recording of “Mahler: Symphony No. 8, ‘Symphony of A Thousand,’” conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, featuring the 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

Robert Istad

Artistic Director Robert Istad

Robert Istad, 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: the 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, and “All Things Common: The Music of Tarik O’Regan,” which he conducted, on Yarlung Records (2020). Istad has also 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.

Board & Staff

Board of Directors

  • Brian D. Bates, CPA
  • 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,
    Treasurer*
  • Li Hong Wang
  • Amanda Whiting
  • Charles Zhang,
    Chair, Nominating*
  • Christopher Zhao

* Executive Committee member

Administration

  • Robert Istad,
    Artistic Director
  • Andrew Brown,
    President & CEO
  • Molly Buzick Pontin,
    Vice President, Director of Education & Community Programs
  • Abby Manaye,
    Controller
  • Ryan McSweeney,
    Director of Patron Services
  • Alex Nelson,
    Director of Artistic Production
  • Natalie Hunter,
    Interim Director of Marketing
  • Michael Lawler,
    Interim Director of Development
  • Michaela Teisser,
    Administrative Assistant

Artistic Staff

  • Kibsaim Escarcega,
    Assistant Conductor
  • David Clemensen, D.M.A.,
    Collaborative Pianist
  • Rebecca Hasquet,
    Soprano Section Leader
  • Jane Shim,
    Alto Section Leader
  • Nicholas Preston,
    Tenor Section Leader
  • Ryan Thomas Antal,
    Bass Section Leader
  • Natalie Buickians,
    Teaching Artist
  • Elizabeth Nguyen,
    Teaching Artist

Volunteer Administration

  • Barbara Kingsbury,
    Historian
  • Ryan Ratcliff,
    Artists’ Council President

Consultants & Support