"The gold standard..." -American Record Guide
The Westminster Choir will be on hiatus for the 2020-2021 season. Recognizing that this will be a first in the Westminster Choir’s 100-year history, a one-year hiatus will offer the College the opportunity to reflect on the ensemble program as we conduct a search for a full-time, tenure-track conductor for fall 2021.
Setting the standard for choral excellence since 1920, the Westminster Choir is composed of students at Westminster Choir College, a division of Rider University’s Westminster College of the Arts. It has been the chorus-in-residence for the prestigious Spoleto Festival USA since 1977, performing both in concert and as the opera chorus.
Recent seasons have included concert tours in Beijing, China and Spain, as well as participation in the World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona and groundbreaking performances of Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize winning Anthracite Fields at the historic Roebling WireWorks as part of Westminster’s Transforming Space project.
The Westminster Choir has been hailed by audiences and critics for its creative programing and ability to deeply engage listeners. D.C. Theatre Scene praised its staged performance of Joby Talbot’s Path of Miracles at the 2019 Spoleto Festival USA, writing: “Joe Miller, and his famed Westminster Choir, has reimagined the art of a choir ‘concert,’ and, in the course of it, created before our eyes – for forty-one singers and an audience that filled the Galliard Auditorium – something of (their) own miracle.”
The ensemble’s performance of John Adams’ El Niño, conducted by Maestro Miller, at the 2014 Festival was praised by The New York Times as “… superb. Meticulously prepared, the chorus was remarkable for its precision, unanimity and power.”
The Westminster Choir has been recording choral masterworks for nine decades. American Record Guide wrote about its newest recording, Frank Martin: Mass for Double Choir, “This is gorgeous singing…with perfect blend, intonation, diction, ensemble and musicality.” The Heart’s Reflection: Music of Daniel Elder, was described by Classics Today as “first rate” and “highly recommended.” Noël, a collection of French Christmas music and sacred works, also features Westminster alumna Jennifer Larmore, mezzo-soprano, and organist Ken Cowan. It was the centerpiece of the PRI Radio broadcast Noël – A Christmas from Paris, hosted by Bill McGlaughlin. The choir’s debut recording with Maestro Miller, Flower of Beauty, received four stars from Choir & Organ magazine and earned critical praise from American Record Guide, which described the Westminster Choir as “the gold standard for academic choirs in America.”
Praised by The New York Times for its “full-bodied, incisive singing,” the Westminster Choir also forms the core of the Westminster Symphonic Choir, which has performed and recorded with the leading conductors and orchestras of our time. The Symphonic Choir’s 2019-2020 season includes several performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia and New York: J. S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Ravel’s L'Enfant et les sortilèges., conducted by Stéphane Denève.