WHO WE ARE
The Saint Louis Chamber Chorus is a not-for-profit organization committed to presenting the finest a cappella choral works, seeking to entertain, educate, and inspire audiences through its unique programs in St. Louis’s finest public buildings. Now enjoying its second half-century, the ensemble performs six concerts annually and may be heard on several compact discs. Under the direction of English conductor Philip Barnes, the Chamber Chorus combines outstanding acoustics with originality and excellence of its presentations, and has established an enviable reputation as the Midwest’s premier a cappella ensemble.
Major American cities can routinely offer several choirs of excellence, but what distinguishes St. Louis is a chamber choir with an enviable history of championing both neglected and newly written repertoire in countless outstanding performances. The stability afforded the choir by having only four artistic directors in over 60 years has supported its musical growth, which in recent years has led to a commitment to unaccompanied repertoire. Each season the singers present six programs that include both canonical works of choral music, as well as the less familiar and several world premières. That both the founder, Ronald Arnatt, and current artistic director, Philip Barnes, were raised in the English cathedral tradition accounts for the preponderance of British music in the choir’s repertoire. However, much care and attention is lavished on other traditions, notably polychoral works from the Renaissance, the German Romantics, and American classics. Since Barnes’s appointment in 1989, there has been a gradual shift toward the commissioning of new music, and this has yielded important works from some of the most significant contemporary writers of choral music. More than any other ensemble in the region, the Chamber Chorus is intentional in its advocacy for women composers, whose work may be heard at every concert.
The Chamber Chorus is affiliated with the American Choral Directors Association. The Chorus is not associated with any religious or educational institution, and welcomes performers and listeners from any background, discriminating against no one. Although much of the Chorus’ repertoire is sacred and sung in sacred buildings, the repertoire and venues are selected purely on artistic grounds.
Financial support for the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus is made possible by grants from the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis., and the E. Reuben and Gladys Flora Grant Foundation.