Founded in 1934 by James McLain, the Choral Ensembles of American University have flourished under the outstanding leadership of many of the region’s most celebrated directors including Paul Calloway, Norman Scribner, Vito Mason, Paul Hill, Sondra Proctor, and Elise Eisenhower. Under the direction of Daniel Abraham since 2000, the American University Choral program continues to prosper and sustain its tradition of excellence in music performance in the liberal arts setting.
The American University Chamber Singers is a highly select ensemble open to music majors and students studying music within American University’s broad tradition of outstanding liberal arts education. The 28-member group, chosen by audition, is known for its wide repertoire of music featuring different musical styles and periods including choral-orchestral literature with a particular emphasis on early music, a cappella works as well as Renaissance motets, Romantic anthems and part songs, folk arrangements, spirituals, and highly challenging contemporary composition.
Recent programs have included Bach’s Magnificat and his motets Jesu, meine Freude and Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Brahms’ Liebeslieder, Op. 52, Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Vaughan Williams’ Flos Campi and Serenade To Music, Robert Convery’s Songs of Children, the U.S. premiere of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach’s Wohl dem, der den Herren fürchtet, as well as works by Gesualdo, Tallis, Tavener, Schickele, William Schuman, Libby Larsen, Ysaye Barnwell, and many others.
Recent notable engagements include their appearance as the invited select ensemble for the 2006 Washington, D.C. Choral Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, performances for both the 25th and 30th Anniversary of Mothers Against Drunk Driving “Celebration of Life” at the Ronald Reagan Center, and performances with the National Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to domestic touring, the AU Chamber Singers have a long tradition of cultural diplomacy through international performance including concert tours to South America and Mexico and most recently to Hungary and Romania (2009) and Spain and Portugal (2011).
Located in Washington, D.C., American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and more than 150 countries. American University provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world. AU actively promotes international understanding through its curricular offerings, faculty research, and the regular presence of world leaders on campus.