One of America’s most distinguished choruses, the 152-member San Francisco Symphony Chorus, celebrates its 50th anniversary during the 2023–24 season. In September 2023, Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony announced Jenny Wong as the San Francisco Symphony Chorus’s next Director. 

Known for its precision, power, and versatility, the SF Symphony Chorus performs more than 26 concerts each season and is comprised of 32 professional and 120 non-professional members. San Francisco Chronicle classical music critic Joshua Kosman has praised the Chorus for its “tonal beauty” and “customary vibrancy and ardor.”  

Most recently, the Chorus can be heard on the San Francisco Symphony’s recording of György Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna with Esa-Pekka Salonenreleased as a digital-only audio-visual performance in January 2022, and later with Apple Music Classical when the app launched in March 2023. The Chorus was also featured in the SFS Media recording of Charles Ives’ Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 along with Music Director Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, released in November 2019.

Established in 1973 at the request of then-music director Seiji Ozawa, the SF Symphony Chorus has sung under the world’s major conductors, including SF Symphony music directors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Herbert Blomstedt, Edo de Waart, and Seiji Ozawa; as well as guest conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, James Conlon, Valery Gergiev, Sir Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Sir Roger Norrington, David Robertson, Robert Shaw, and Yuri Temirkanov, among others. Louis Magor served as the Chorus’s director during its first decade, and in 1982 Margaret Hillis assumed the ensemble’s leadership as interim director. The following year Vance George was named director, serving through the 2005–06 season. Ragnar Bohlin served as chorus director from March 2007–August 2021. 

Recordings featuring the SF Symphony Chorus have won a total of eight Grammy awards, including three for Best Choral Performance. SFS Media’s recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony and Chorus won three 2010 Grammys, including the award for Best Choral Performance. Previous Grammys awarded to the Chorus include Best Choral Performance for Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem in 1995; Best Choral Performance for Orff’s Carmina burana in 1992; Best Classical Album with the SF Symphony for Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 and Kindertotenlieder in 2004; and Best Classical Album for the recording of Stravinsky’s Perséphone, as part of a collection of the composer’s music, in 2000. In February 2001, the Chorus made its Carnegie Hall debut in two sold-out performances of music by Mahler and Stravinsky with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. Members of the Chorus can also be heard on the SF Symphony’s complete concert recording of Bernstein’s score for West Side Story, released in June 2014, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and won the 2015 ICMA Award for Best Album.

The Chorus is also featured on recordings with Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony in Beethoven’s Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II, Symphony No. 9, and Mass in C major; Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Das klagende Lied; Ives’s An American Journey; and selections from Berlioz’s Lélio. The Chorus, under the direction of Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt, can also be heard in Grieg’s incidental music for Peer Gynt; its first recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, which was nominated for a Grammy; and a collection of choral works by Brahms. The Chorus has recorded John Adams’s Harmonium twice, on ECM under Edo de Waart’s direction and on Nonesuch with the composer conducting; Gordon Getty’s Annabel Lee and Young America with Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony in live concerts for inclusion in a Pentatone Classics disc of Getty choral works; and Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate’s Tracing Mississippi and Iholba with the SF Symphony for Thunderbird Records. The Chorus has released two solo recordings—Christmas by the Bay, which was released in 1998 on the Delos label and nominated for a Grammy in the Best Classical Crossover category, and Voices 1900/2000, released on the Delos label in 2001.

The Chorus appears in the second season of Keeping Score, the San Francisco Symphony’s national television program, in Ives’ Holidays Symphony. The episode aired nationwide on PBS in 2009 and is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and for free on the Symphony’s YouTube channel. The Chorus can be heard on the soundtracks of the films Amadeus, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Godfather III, and on the video/DVD release of the Emmy-winning Sweeney Todd with the San Francisco Symphony.

San Francisco Symphony Chorus


Adeliz Araiza
Naheed Attari
Sylvia V. Baba
Alexis Wong Baird
Morgan Balfour*
Arlene Boyd
Olivia T. Brown
Helen J. Burns
Cheryl Cain*
Laura Canavan
Sarita N. Cannon
Rebecca Capriulo
Sara Chalk
Mun-Wai Chung
Francielle De Barros
Lauren Diez
Elizabeth W. Emigh
Sara A. Frondoni
Cara Gabrielson*
Nina Groleger
Julia Hall
Ashley Hecht
Elizabeth A. Heckmann
Hyun Suk Jang
Betsy Johnsmiller
Kate Juliana
Michele E. Kennedy*
Jocelyn Q. Lambert
Becky Lau
Kyounghee Lee
Ellen Leslie*
Jennifer Mitchell*
Bethany Procopio
Aimée Puentes*
Hallie Randel-Schreiber
Kelly Ryer
Natalia Salemmo*
Rebecca Shipan
Laura Stanfield Prichard
Elizabeth L. Susskind
Sigrid Van Bladel
Sarah Vig
Lauren Wilbanks


Carolyn Alexander
Terry A. Alvord*
Monica Lynn Baruch
Emily Bernier
Melissa Butcher
Celeste Camarena
Enrica Casucci
Carol Copperud
Nicole Daamen
Corty Fengler
Stacey L. Helley
Amy L. Hespenheide
Kelsey Ishimatsu Jacobson
Hilary Jenson
Cathleen A. Josaitis
Gretchen Klein
Donna Kulkarni
Katherine M. Lilly
Joyce Lin-Conrad
Margaret (Peg) Lisi*
Ruriko Miura
Brielle Marina Neilson*
Kimberly J. Orbik
Akane Ota
Lindsay Marie Rader
Leandra Ramm*
Linda J. Randall
Meredith Riekse
Celeste Riepe
Jeanne Schoch
Yuri Sebata-Dempster
Sandy Sellin
Meghan R. Spyker*
Kyle S. Tingzon*
Mayo Tsuzuki
Makiko Ueda
Merilyn Telle Vaughn*
Heidi L. Waterman*
Darla Wigginton
Hannah Wolf


Paul Angelo
Carl Boe
Todd Bradley
Seth Brenzel*
Dean B. Christman
Daniel Costa
Scott I. Dickerman
Giacomo DiGrigoli
Thomas L. Ellison
Christian M. Emigh
Elliott JG Encarnación*
Sam Faustine*
Ron Gallman
Kevin Gibbs*
Edward Im
Michael Jankosky*
Alec Jeong
Drew Kravin
James Jaewoo Lee
Benjamin Liupaogo*
Benjamin Lorenzoni
Joachim Luis*
Andrew P. McIver
Jack O'Reilly
Ryan S. Peterson
Tetsuya Taura
Troy Turriate
John A. Vlahides
David Von Bargen
Nicholas Weininger
Jack Wilkins*
John Paul Young
Jakob Zwiener


Josh Bozich
Sean Brooks
Phil Buonadonna
Sean Casey
Eric Choate
Adam Cole*
Noam Cook
James R. Cowing III
Michael Dooling
Michael Fields
Malcolm Gaines
Rick Galbreath
Richard M. Glendening
Harlan J. Hays*
Robert Lloyd Huber
Bradley Irving
Roderick Lowe
Tim Marson
Clayton Moser*
Case Nafziger
Julian Nesbitt
Jess G. Perry
Matthew Peterson*
Michael J. Prichard
Mark E. Rubin
Timothy Echavez Salaver
Chung-Wai Soong*
Storm K. Staley
Michael F. Taylor*
Connor Tench
David Varnum*
Nick Volkert*
J. T. Williams
Goangshiuan S. Ying

*Member of the American Guild of Musical Artists

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