Founded in 1921 as the Cornell Women's Glee Club, the Cornell University Chorus' tradition of excellence has been formed by high standards of musical achievement and versatility from all corners of the university. The Chorus, under the skillful direction of Professor Scott Tucker since 1995, has a repertoire spanning eight centuries and ten languages, including masses, motets, spirituals, folk songs, and a variety of other classical and contemporary pieces. Aside from its constantly changing and increasing selection of women's music, the Chorus also performs major works with the Cornell University Glee Club, such as L.v. Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, George Frideric Handel's Messiah, and J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor (BWV 232).
Raised to distinction by Professor Thomas Sokol, the group's director from 1957 to 1987, the Chorus performs annually during Convocation, Family Weekend, Senior Week, Commencement, and Reunions Weekend, and has fostered group unity through events such as weekend choral festivals and off-campus retreats. In addition to the concerts on campus, the Chorus also boasts extensive experience in professional settings, working under the baton of Nadia Boulanger, Eugene Ormandy, Erich Leinsdorf, Michael Tilson Thomas, Julius Rudel, and Karel Husa on the stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Philadelphia Academy of Music, and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The Chorus has also been featured on two nationwide broadcasts: a special half hour on CBS radio, and an appearance on PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour as part of an artistic feature on former director Susan Davenny-Wyner. The Chorus has had the privilege to collaborate with world musician Samite of Uganda, participate in a production of Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light with Anonymous 4, and perform several major works with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, including most recently J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor (BWV 232) and L.v. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra.
In the past several years, the Chorus has expanded its achievements with successful tours to New England, the Midwest, the Southeastern United States, California and Canada. In addition to these extended trips, the Chorus also travels to other universities for competitions and festivals. In the past, the women have performed at Harvard for the Centennial Celebration of the Radcliffe Choral Society as well as joint concerts with the Toronto Women's Chorus, the Penn State Glee Club, and the Wellesley Chorus. And finally, perhaps the greatest recent accomplishment of the Chorus has been to begin touring internationally, with a trip to Taiwan in 1998, a joint tour with the Cornell University Glee Club to Venezuela in the summer of 2001, and a tour to Italy in 2005. The Chorus and Cornell University Glee Club are planned a joint tour to China for the spring of 2008.