Pacific Chorale, led by Artistic Director Robert Istad, concludes season with masterful choral works

The Grammy®-winning Pacific Chorale, led by Artistic Director Robert Istad and joined by frequent collaborator Pacific Symphony, caps its 2023-24 season with four deeply moving choral works that inspire hope, action and compassion on Saturday, June 1, 7:30 p.m., at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Leonard Bernstein’s spirited Chichester Psalms, an appeal for brotherhood and peace, is the centerpiece of the program, which also features the Chorale-commissioned world premiere of Frank Ticheli’s Listen to the Silence, an a cappella work embracing the quiet of nature.

Additionally, the season finale includes Sarah Kirkland Snider’s riveting Mass for the Endangered, which speaks to the plight of the planet’s wildlife, and Gustav Holst’s crystalline Psalm 148, for chorus, organ and orchestra.

Bernstein described Chichester Psalms as “the most accessible… tonal piece I’ve ever written.” Hopeful and life-affirming, the jazzy piece, he added, has “an old-fashioned sweetness.”

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Photo by Jamie Pham/Courtesy of Pacific Chorale

Artistic Director Robert Istad conducting Pacific Chorale with Pacific Symphony

Ticheli, recognized for his music’s “emotional depth (and) symbolism” (Colorado Public Radio), composed Listen to the Silence last summer during a composer residency at the MacDowell Colony, in Peterborough, N.H. The work is based on an original poem by the composer that, according to Ticheli, “portrays silence as an aspect of nature’s beauty, drawing attention to natural images that make little or no sound – the sky, moonlight, a colorful sunset, falling snow, breezes wafting through the trees…and the nearly total silence I experienced all day in my studio at MacDowell.” Over the years, Pacific Chorale has recorded and given numerous premieres and performances of Ticheli’s work. He notes his relationship with the choir “began near the dawn of the new millennium when I composed my first choral work for them, There Will Be Rest. Decades later, they continue to be a source of great personal joy and inspiration.”

Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Mass for the Endangered, a contemporary rumination with original text by Nathaniel Bellows, speaks to our delicate relationship to the planet’s wildlife. Snider said, “Mass for the Endangered embodies a prayer for endangered animals and the imperiled environments in which they live. It is a hymn for the voiceless and the discounted, a requiem for the not-yet-gone.” Written for chamber choir and 12 instruments, it was premiered in 2018 by Trinity Wall Street and has garnered tremendous critical acclaim. The Nation declared Mass for the Endangered “a gorgeous, moving piece. The New Yorker stated, “A passionate paean to nature…the work proclaims Snider’s technical command and unerring knack for breathtaking beauty.” NPR asserted, “Snider must be recognized as one of today’s most compelling composers for the human voice.”

Pacific Chorale’s 2023-24 Season is made possible, in part, by generous support from Platinum Season Sponsor Phillip N. and Mary A. Lyons.

The Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is located at 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.

Prior to the June 1 concert, at 4 p.m., the Chorale will host its spring Gala at the Westin South Coast Plaza. Pacific Chorale Artistic Director Emeritus John Alexander will be honored for his extraordinary lifetime achievements. Gala tickets ($300) are sold separately and do not include admission to the concert.

For concert tickets ($28-$147) and more information, visit, or call 714.662.2345.


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