Mission: The mission of the Pacific Mozart Ensemble is:
1. To create and present rich, distinctive and engagingly diverse vocal-music experiences for the communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
2. To cultivate emerging and seasoned professional and semi-professional singers from all backgrounds through innovative programming across the full spectrum of musical genres, collaborations with other performing artists and performances of new compositions.
3. To be an experienced vocal-music resource for organizations and artists internationally, nationally and in the Bay Area.
Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area
Programs: Founded in 1980 by Artistic Director Richard Grant, the Pacific Mozart Ensemble (PME) delivers passionate, expert and engaging choral performances of music from Brahms to Brubeck to the Beach Boys. During its time, PME has grown to fill an important role in the cultural life of the San Francisco Bay Area, presenting courageous and innovative programs of many works that have never been performed in concert settings. In 2005, the group’s 25th anniversary season, PME named Dr. Lynne Morrow, one of the Bay Area’s leading musical figures, as the group’s Music Director.
PME is perhaps best known for its collaborations with contemporary composers and artists, including John Adams, Dave Brubeck, David Lang, Meredith Monk, The American Bach Soloists, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, The Oakland East Bay Symphony, and many others. PME was nominated for a “Best Choral Performance” Grammy® Award in 2006 for the Harmonia Mundi recording of Bernstein’s Mass with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester under the direction of Kent Nagano.
PME made its Carnegie Hall debut in November 2005, representing choral music for Meredith Monk’s 40th Anniversary Celebration; selections of those performances were broadcast on WNYC radio. In 2006, members of PME appeared in local concerts by “indie” rocker Sufjan Stevens and avant garde composer and musician John Zorn.
PME was a featured performer at the 2007 Green Center Festival at Sonoma State University, presenting its multimedia concert program “A Story of Freedom: An Evening of Spirituals.” In 2008, PME made guest appearances with Sweet Honey in the Rock, and with the Napa Valley Symphony. PME received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to record the choral music of Dave Brubeck. The ensemble has made three European tours and numerous recordings.
PME annually presents a season of three concert programs in various locations around the Bay Area; these concerts often include collaborations with other music institutions. The 2009-10 season includes the West Coast premiere of David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Music. PME closes each season with its highly popular A Cappella Jazz & Pop concerts, which showcase members of the choir in small and large groups performing sophisticated, original arrangements of a wide variety of musical styles.
Pacific Mozart Ensemble provides Bay Area audiences with an amazing variety of innovative an enjoyable choral experiences. The concerts span many genres, from avant garde to classical to spirituals to jazz and pop. It is a pleasure to come to a concert not quite knowing what to expect and be delighted with a new experience every time. It is clear that this group of people love to sing together. They beam at the audience in welcome and want to chat at intermission. Bay Area audiences are lucky to have an organization dedicated to bringing the broader world of vocal music to them.