The Vancouver Chamber Choir is one of Canada's most renowned and prestigious musical ensembles. Made up of twenty outstanding professional singers and led by their founder and internationally recognized conductor Jon Washburn, the Chamber Choir is committed to excellence in performance and quality in repertoire.
The Vancouver Chamber Choir was founded by Jon Washburn in 1971, and is currently in its 43rd season. During that time it has traveled on over 80 separate tours, with more than 500 concerts and workshops presented in cities and small communities from Whitehorse to Arkansas and Beijing to Moscow. Most notable in recent years were the highly successful concert tours of China, Hong Kong, the former Soviet Union, Finland, Japan, South Korea, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Taiwan and Mexico. The Chamber Choir has more than 35 recordings in its discography. The Choir sings 50-60 public performances and workshops (and another 80-90 rehearsals) every year; the singers learn about 12-14 separate repertoires each season, averaging a new programme every three or four weeks. The main activities of the Vancouver Chamber Choir include a 10-concert subscription series in Vancouver; extensive touring both at home and abroad; extensive broadcasting of live concerts on the CBC; numerous records, cassettes and compact discs; commissioning and premiering of new choral compositions; and the training of singers and conductors across Canada through the outstanding National Conductors' Symposium and many other educational and community workshops.
The Vancouver Chamber Choir has performed with many distinguished solo artists and ensembles, such as Maureen Forrester, Paul Esswood, John Eliot Gardiner, Tônu Kaljuste, Helmuth Rilling, Lois Marshall, Eric Ericson, Menahem Pressler, Michel Corboz, Ian Partridge, the King's Singers, Canadian Brass, Judith Marcuse Repertory Dance Company, Ballet British Columbia, Stockholm Chamber Choir, Moscow Chamber Choir, L'Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne, Chanticleer, the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers, Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus, the Royal Swedish Chamber Orchestra and many others. Our most famous alumnus is tenor Ben Heppner.
The Choir has performed much of the most significant choral repertoire, from Bach's B Minor Mass to Britten's Sacred and Profane, from the Mozart Requiem to Messiaen Cinq rechants, from the medieval Worcester Fragments, Monteverdi Vespers, Haydn Lord Nelson Mass, Brahms Requiem, Orff's Catulli Carmina and Penderecki's Stabat Mater to Schafer's Sun, singing in more than 35 different languages. Lighter music is also performed where appropriate, and a large and varied repertoire of Canadian music is maintained. Since 1972, the Vancouver Chamber Choir has commissioned and premiered over 200 new compositions by 72 composers, mostly Canadian, including Schafer, Raminsh, Chatman, Beckwith, Berring, Henderson, Louie, Glick, Washburn, Weisgarber, and many more.
As the Vancouver Chamber Choir continues through its fourth decade, it intends to maintain its tradition of presenting the best choral music in performances of surpassing excellence. The Choir wants to preserve the valuable choral traditions of the past as well as encourage growth and innovation in the choral art of the future, to further its international reputation, to record more on major labels, to work in film, video and opera, to discover new ways of presenting choral performances, to sing in many languages, to commission international composers, to collaborate with the world's finest musicians and ensembles. The Vancouver Chamber Choir wants to make important music, and it wants to enrich the lives of the people who hear it.