Founded in 1982 by Artistic Director Freddie Coleman, the Seattle Choral Company has, over the course of 30 years, become one of the region’s most accomplished and respected choral organizations. Maestro Coleman’s finely-tuned yet spirited interpretations of the masterworks of classical choral music have been acclaimed by critics and audiences, including Berlioz’ Te Deum, Prokofieff’s Alexander Nevsky, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Haydn’s Creation, Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Bach’s St. John Passion, and many more. After a recent performance at Benaroya Hall featuring Johannes Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, The Gathering Note wrote that the performance “was anchored by deep emotions, a strong sense of purpose, and an excellent advocate in Freddie Coleman and the Seattle Choral Company.”
Freddie Coleman has also championed America’s finest contemporary choral composers, offering area listeners their first live hearing of such works as Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum, Philip Glass’ Itaipu, Hawley’s Songs of Kabir, Roxanna Panufnik’s Westminster Mass, and Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. In 2001, the SCC commissioned a new choral work, Seattle, by New York composer William Hawley, as part of the city of Seattle’s sesquicentennial celebrations. Additionally, the Company has commissioned and premiered new works from gifted Seattle composers, such as Donald Skirvin and Bern Herbolsheimer. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer recently applauded this commitment, stating “it’s not surprising that Coleman…would devote an entire program to contemporary music. He has long been an advocate for living composers.”
In the 1980s the Seattle Choral Company toured to Australia and the former Soviet Union. (Their work as cultural ambassadors was recognized with a commendation from the Washington State legislature.) The many albums it has recorded, including The Moon Is Silently Singing, When the Morning Stars Sang Together, Carmina Burana, and Unearthed, have been highly praised and received extensive radio exposure. The Company has recorded soundtracks for Public Television (Death: the Trip of a Lifetime) and NBC (Crime and Punishment and Noah’s Ark), and its recordings have been used in at least a dozen Hollywood movie trailers.
The Seattle Choral Company has become a valued collaborator with other performing arts organizations in the region. It has appeared on stage with the Pacific Northwest Ballet many times, including several mountings of Kent Stowell’s staging of Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Hail to the Conquering Hero, featuring choruses by Handel. In 2010, the SCC appeared with the Seattle Youth Symphony in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) at Benaroya Hall. The SCC has appeared with the Seattle Symphony on many occasions, including Those Glorious MGM Movie Musicals, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Holiday Pops with Doc Severinsen, Holiday Pops with Marvin Hamlisch, New Year’s Eve with the Seattle Symphony, and most recently The Matrix Live In Concert. In 2010, they appeared at the Paramount Theater in the touring production of Video Games Live, and later that year, members of the Company sang in both the Seattle and Portland productions of Star Wars In Concert. In this coming season, the SCC begins a new partnership with the Northwest Sinfonietta, and was recently named artist-in-residence at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral.