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About the San Francisco Girls Chorus
Established in 1978, and with an operating budget of $2.4 million, the mission of the San Francisco Girls Chorus is to create outstanding performances featuring the unique and compelling sound of young women’s voices through an exemplary program committed to education and visionary leadership in the development of this art form.
The vision of the San Francisco Girls Chorus is to produce performances of the highest artistic caliber; to provide music education for girls and young women from all backgrounds; to be a leader in the field through creativity and innovation; to give the girls and young women who participate in Chorus programs the skills, self-discipline and confidence to succeed in music and in life; to instill in the choristers a lifelong love of music; and to communicate this passion through involvement with the greater community. To this end, three years ago, the Board selected new musical and artistic leadership to bring a refreshed focus and vision to SFGC. Under the direction of Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa and Music Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, the SF Girls Chorus has achieved an incomparable sound that underscores the unique clarity and force of impeccably trained treble voices fused with expressiveness and drama. As a result, the Chorus vibrantly performs 1,000 years of choral masterworks from plainchant to the most challenging and nuanced contemporary works created expressly for them in programs that are as intelligently designed as they are enjoyable and revelatory to experience.
Hundreds of singers from 45 Bay Area cities ranging in age from 4 to 18 participate in the SFGC’s programs. The organization consists of a professional-level performance, recording, and touring ensemble; the four-level Chorus School training program; and a Preparatory Chorus for 4-7 year olds.
A leading voice on the Bay Area and national music scenes, the Chorus has produced award-winning concerts, recordings and tours, empowered young women in music and other fields, enhanced and expanded the field of music for treble voices and set the international standard for the highest level of performance and education.
Commissions of new work from the leading composers of our time, collaborations with renowned guest artists, and partnerships with other Bay Area and national arts organizations provide the young women of SFGC with matchless performance experiences among powerful adult role models. In addition to its annual engagements with the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Symphony, recent and current/upcoming artistic partnerships include the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial Festival of New Music at Lincoln Center in June 2016 in collaboration with The Knights orchestra, the newly-created SHIFT Festival of American orchestras in April 2017 in Washington, DC, featured appearances at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Carnegie Hall, and others. Many of these performances include works commissioned especially by and/or for SFGC.
Additionally, SFGC’s owns and operates the Kanbar Performing Arts Center, which has become a hub for small to mid-size arts organizations in the Bay Area. In addition to SFGC’s own rehearsal and performance programs, the Kanbar Center provides long-term leased office space to such organizations as Chanticleer, American Bach Soloists, Opera Parallèle, and the New Century Chamber Orchestra, as well as rehearsal space for groups including the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Merola summer opera program and the San Francisco Boys Chorus.
The SFGC also offers an Educational Engagement Program that takes the choral music experience to under-served and low-income students throughout the Bay Area. Creating Choral Music is in its ninth year at elementary schools in San Francisco and Oakland.