About the Vancouver Chamber Choir
The Vancouver Chamber Choir is Canada's outstanding
professional vocal ensemble. Based on the Pacific Coast in
British Columbia, conductor Jon Washburn and his twenty singers
are noted for their diverse repertoire and performing excellence.
The ACDA Choral Journal has declared the Vancouver Chamber Choir to be "as fine
a vocal chamber group as any in the world today." In 1998,
the Vancouver Chamber Choir and Jon Washburn won the Margaret Hillis Award for
Choral Excellence for their outstanding contribution to the
choral art. Mr. Washburn and the Choir were honoured with
two awards at the 2000 Chorus America Conference, including
the prestigious Louis Botto award, given in recognition of
Washburn's innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in the development
of a professional choral ensemble of exceptional quality.
The Choir impresses audiences with the depth
and range of its repertoire and interpretive skills. Their
concerts might encompass a range of music, from chant to folksong,
traditional to avant-garde, a cappella to orchestra, to jazz
trio. Jon Washburn is noted for devising innovative and fascinating
programmes, and unearthing hidden choral treasures. The singers,
who delight in acquiring foreign language skills, have thus
sung in over 40 languages. A leading advocate of Canadian
music and composers, the Choir has commissioned and premiered
nearly 300 new choral works in the last 45 years.
The Vancouver Chamber Choir has been performing at home and
across Canada since its formation in 1971 by conductor Jon
Washburn. The ensemble has gained international distinction
through tours to the United States, China, Hong Kong, Finland,
Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
In 1994, they sang in South Korea and Japan, where they were
awarded gold medals and the overall Grand Prize in the 11th
Takarazuka International Chamber Chorus Competition. During
the summer of 1997, the Choir completed a highly successful
tour of Germany, France, and the Czech Republic. In March
1999, they were featured guests at the National Convention
of the American Choral Directors Association, where they
performed to an audience of 6,000 of their peers.
During the 2002-2003 concert season, the Choir performed in
Latin America's most prestigious festival, Festival Cervantino
in Guanajuato, Mexico, and in the 2002 Taipei International
Choral Festival. In 2004, the Choir received an invitation
to participate in the Tokyo International Performing Arts
In 2009 the choir returned to Taiwan and Japan for a concert tour which included a private performance for Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan, a joint performance with the Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus and a sold-out performance at the National Theatre and Concert Hall in Taipei.
In addition to touring and a busy season
of concerts, broadcasts, and recording in Vancouver, the Choir
offers an annual array of educational programmes: the National
Conductors' Symposium for advanced choral conductors, Interplay
workshops for choral composers, Focus! for college and university
music students, OnSite for elementary and secondary schools, the biennial Young
Composers' Competition, and various on-tour residencies and
The Vancouver Chamber Choir sings frequently
with distinguished artists and ensembles such as The King's
Singers and Chanticleer, the Stockholm and Moscow Chamber
Choirs; conductors Eric Ericson, Frieder Bernius, Tõnu Kaljuste
and Andrew Litton; singers Ben Heppner, Maureen Forrester,
and Ian Partridge; guitarist Paco Peña; the Canadian Brass,
Ancient Cultures, and the Turtle Island String Quartet; and
many others. They can be heard on CBC radio in Canada and
have been broadcast on National Public Radio's The First Art
in the United States. They have released over 40 recordings
and CDs, including several devoted to Canadian composers such
as R. Murray Schafer, Imant Raminsh, Stephen Chatman, Healey
Willan, and Jon Washburn.
The Vancouver Chamber Choir is a fully professional choir
of 20 experienced, well-trained singers. The key activities
of the Choir include a subscription series that is unique
in Vancouver, extensive touring in Canada and abroad, broadcasting
live concerts on the CBC, recording, commissioning and premiering
new choral compositions, and presenting four to five educational
programs throughout each season. The Choir demands a major
commitment of time and needs to be the singers' top priority.
The Vancouver Chamber Choir usually rehearses on Tuesday,
Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. A list of substitute singers
is maintained; these people may also be used to augment the
Choir if a larger group is needed.
Auditions are held periodically throughout the season. An
audition lasts approximately one half hour and singers will
be required to sing three or four pieces in different styles
and languages; there will also be an interview with Jon Washburn.
A formal résumé is welcomed. Singers are expected to provide
their own accompanist for the audition.
For more information or to book an audition please