The UCB Chamber Chorus is the university’s premiere concert choir. Known for offering the singers and audiences an engaging musical experience, each year the Chamber Chorus sings a cappella and accompanied music in many languages and from the last 800 years.
The Chamber Chorus’s approximately 35 singers are competitively selected from singer-musicians in the greater campus community: undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff. Some singers who are not directly affiliated with the University may also be admitted to ensemble. Singers in the chamber chorus are expected to have advanced musicianship skills and significant vocal/choral experience, and to be passionately devoted to chamber choir singing.
Sponsored by the Department of Music, the chorus performs a cappella and choral-instrumental works and is particularly acclaimed for its readings of early and contemporary music. In 2009, it performed George Frideric Handel’s L’Allegro with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the Mark Morris Dance Group. In 2010-2011, it performed Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel with the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio and James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words with the Berkeley Symphony under Joana Carneiro and works by Purcell under the direction of Matthew Oltman (emeritus director of Chanticleer). In 2012, the Chamber Chorus performed the Ralph Vaughan Williams' Mass in G at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and Alban Berg’s Wozzeck under Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen in Berkeley and in Los Angeles at Disney Hall. In March, 2014, the chorus was one of three prestigious USA Choirs to sing a concert of contemporary a cappella music at Carnegie Hall. In April, 2015, it performed J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor (BWV 232) in Hertz Hall and choruses from John Adams, Death of Klinghoffer in Zellerbach Hall. The Chamber Chorus has also appeared in concert tours to the East Coast, Canada, and Europe. Its performances have been featured in broadcasts of the Voice of America, Public Radio International, and Austrian Radio. Critics from the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Opera News alike have praised the chorus as “excellent,” “splendid,” “electric.” “The UC Chamber Chorus leaves no syllable unarticulated and no musical marvel unexplored” (San Francisco Examiner). Among Chamber Chorus recordings, its G.F. Handel's Susannah on the Harmonia Mundi label won a Grand Prix du Disque.
Marika Kuzma was Director of the UCB Chamber Chorus from 1994 to 2016.