We are the official choral unit of the Houston Symphony

Each season the volunteer chorus prepares and presents great choral-orchestral masterworks under the baton of conductors of international acclaim. Recent seasons have included performances with Houston Symphony Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada and Houston Symphony Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke, as well as Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Krajewski, David Zinman, Christopher Warren Green, Nicholas Kraemer and Stephen Stubbs. Under Director Emeritus Charles Hausmann, the chorus made several concert tours in Europe and Mexico. Under the direction of Betsy Cook Weber, appointed in Fall 2014, singers helped the Prague Symphony Orchestra close its 2016-17 subscription season in Smetana Hall and performed a nationally-broadcast concert at the Litomysl Festival, Czech Republic.

Betsy Cook Weber, Director
Anna Diemer, Chorus Manager

The Houston Symphony Chorus will perform the following concerts in the 2017-18 season with the Symphony:

We’ve completed these concerts this season:

For questions about the Houston Symphony Chorus, please contact Anna Diemer, Chorus Manager at anna.diemer@houstonsymphony.org.

The Houston Symphony Chorus, the official choral unit of the Houston Symphony, is led by Dr. Betsy Cook Weber. It is a chorus of volunteer singer-musicians who are committed to rehearsing and performing the choral-orchestral repertory at the highest level of choral artistry. In addition to presenting an annual schedule of concerts in Jones Hall with the Houston Symphony, the Chorus has toured Europe several times and performs regularly in Mexico City with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Mineriá.

The group, originally known as the Houston Chorale, was founded in 1946 by Alfred Urbach, then principal cellist of the Houston Symphony. The Chorale made its debut with the Houston Symphony in 1949 with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. This inaugurated what was to be a lasting relationship, one that has produced hundreds of memorable performances of the great choral masterworks led by some of the world’s leading conductors. In 1986, the Chorale was renamed the Houston Symphony Chorus.

 

Betsy Cook Weber biography
Dr. Betsy Cook Weber is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. She teaches a full load of coursework, oversees the large and varied choral area at the Moores School, and is also highly active internationally as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and lecturer. Learn more.
Dr. Charles S. Hausmann — HSC’s Director Emeritus — has prepared and conducted the Chorus for more than 700 concerts. Serving as director of the Chorus from 1986 to 2014, he has collaborated with many of the world’s great conductors, including Hans Graf, Christoph Eschenbach, Claus Peter Flor and Robert Shaw. His extensive repertoire list includes most of the major choral/orchestral masterworks. Learn more.

 

Sing with the Houston Symphony Chorus

Our next auditions will be held on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 from 5 to 8 p.m. Please use this link to sign up for an audition time.

Click here to see our 2017-18 Rehearsal and Performance schedule. Please peruse it carefully before you decide which concert series you will be available to sing. We are very eager to hear you and to get started on the wonderful season that lies ahead! Your audition will take place in two rooms. You will vocalize and sing the optional Messiah chorus in one room and will sight sing in another. The audition process is described below.

Audition Form (required)

Please complete this online form thoughtfully and carefully before your audition. Your e-signature at the end of this form represents your commitment to sing in whichever series you are cast.

Vocalising (required)

  • We would like you to vocalise yourself. This allows you to put yourself in the best possible light. Please sing two vocalises: one that shows your upper range and one that shows your lower range. You may use piano or not as you choose.
  • If you prefer, a pianist will be in place to run you through vocalises that we have selected.

Sight-singing (required)

  • You will be asked to sight-sing an exercise that is about 16 measures long.
  • You will be given the exercise, the tonality, and the beginning pitch in your octave.
  • Sopranos, altos, and tenors will read in treble clef; basses will read in bass clef.
  • We would like for you to sing the exercise out loud so that we can observe your process. We are not looking for perfection, so don’t worry if your rendition isn’t perfect. We expect mistakes, starts and stops.
  • You may use solfege, numbers, or a neutral syllable.
  • The difficulty level is comparable to exercises found in Melodia, Volume 3, which is available for purchase and can also be downloaded from the internet.

Messiah chorus (optional)

  • You should prepare ONE of the four Messiah choruses listed below if you would like to be considered for Messiah performances or for any other program for which reduced forces will be used, including the chamber ensemble. Do not prepare your own audition selection. Only one of the four Messiah choruses will be accepted.
  • You should prepare ONE of the four Messiah choruses listed below if you simply want to enhance your audition. For example, you may feel that your sight-singing is not the best, in which case singing the Messiah chorus would help demonstrate that you have a strong ear and work ethic.
  • HSC traditionally shortens certain notes and adheres to very specific marks of phrasing and articulation. Please don’t worry about adhering to these marks. In terms of the audition, they are not important to us.
  • Below, you will find links to both the musical scores and MIDI file recordings that will be used in the audition. You will sing your selected chorus with the MIDI file recording below. While we know that this is not the most musical or artistic way to sing these passages, we feel that it will help you know exactly how the accompaniment will sound before the audition.

Sound File Links

Handel: His Yoke is Easy




Handel: Let Us Break Their Bonds




Handel: All We Like Sheep




Handel: Hallelujah




Musical Score Links

Handel: His Yoke Is Easy

Handel: Let Us Break Their Bonds Asunder

Handel: All We Like Sheep

Handel: Hallelujah Chorus

Since the Chorus Endowment was established in 1997, all proceeds have helped enrich the choral experience at the Houston Symphony. With your generous support, the Chorus Endowment has helped fund exciting new commissions, underwriting workshops and free community performances.

Please join us in giving to the Chorus Endowment. Here is how you can donate:

For more information, please contact Tiffany Bourgeois at (713)337-8559 or at tiffany.bourgeois@houstonsymphony.org.

For current Houston Symphony Chorus members: Click the Chorus Portal link to log in and access chorus resources.

Go to Chorus Portal