Los Angeles Master Chorale
Philippe Couture - April 16, 2019

The Los Angeles Master Chorale ensemble: Power and beauty

With a refined contemporary repertoire, the united voices of the daring Los Angeles Master Chorale vocal ensemble deliver both tales and emotions of biblical proportions.


This Californian treasure is as well-known for its technical precision as it is for its refined stage productions, be they bold or subtle. Even in classic concert format, the Los Angeles Master Chorale is enhanced by its use of relevant lighting effects and the thoughtful positioning of bodies within space.


A recent concert dedicated to the Songs of Ascent performed at the Walt Disney Center featured a soft blue light, which gradually radiated at the signers’ feet to symbolize that place of peace and well-being that follows the pain of mourning. Much more than a simple orchestra-accompanied vocal ensemble, the Los Angeles Master Chorale creates complete works of art.


Agility, contrast and intensity


Established in 1964 by Roger Wagner, the ensemble, which is now directed by Grant Gershon, achieves the sublime through a classic yet contemporary approach: always combining technique and emotion, and never depriving itself of the joys of mixed genres. A lover of contrasts, Grant Gershon even went so far as to present a combination of Western and Indian music in an interpretation of This Love Between Us.


The 21 vocalists — often showcased in vibrant solos — harmonize to sing of man’s power in the face of diversity or of his resistance to his own torment. Often drawing from the repertoire of biblical psalms, with an inclination towards the theme of mourning and a partiality to pieces pertaining to religious conflict, the ensemble does not shy away from hard-hitting scores.


Lagrime di San Pietro: the power of a Capella


In order to stage its carnal and vibrant interpretation of the Tears of Saint Peter — the book of madrigals by Roland de Lassus — the Los Angeles Master Chorale acquired the services of none other than Peter Sellars, a living legend of operatic stage direction. The result is a rogue but streamlined choir production where voices and bodies unite in one superbly-choreographed movement. As visually stunning as it is vocally sumptuous.  


Far from simply recounting Christ’s denial by the Apostle Peter, the concert dares a prolific reflection on the notions of guilt and accountability.




The spectacular official trailer for Lagrime di San Pietro.



In 2013, the Los Angeles Master Chorale presented Alleluia, by Randall Thompson, with 200 of its past and present members.



The Los Angeles Master Chorale often collaborates with film-makers, as can be seen in this short film by Arnaud Uyttenhove, entitled Lacrimosa.



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