The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh
| The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, a largely volunteer choir of 115 voices including a 20-voice professional core, is renowned for its versatility, singing oratorio, opera, Broadway, folk and symphonic repertoire. Founded in 1908, the MCP holds the distinction of being Pittsburgh's oldest continuously performing arts organization.
The Choir is in its 101st season, the fourth under the direction of Music Director Betsy Burleigh. The Mendelssohn Choir's Centennial Celebration began with a performance of Felix Mendelssohn's epic oratorio Elijah in April 2008, conducted by Grammy Award-winning Robert Page, the Choir's Music Director Emeritus. Its celebration continued with a concert at the Library of Congress in February and concluded with Rachmaninoff's a cappella masterwork, the Vespers, sung at Pittsburgh's St. Paul Cathedral in May 2009.
As the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's chorus of choice, the Mendelssohn has performed under the baton of some of the world's greatest conductors, including Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Michael Tilson Thomas, Claudio Abbado, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, André Previn, Sir Neville Marriner, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Helmuth Rilling, Ingo Metzmacher, Richard Hickox, Zdenek Mácal and Sir Andrew Davis. Performances of the Choir with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are heard locally over WQED-FM (89.3) and distributed nationally by PRI.
The Choir has numerous commissions and premieres to its credit, including works by Ned Rorem, Nancy Galbraith and Derek Bermel. A leader and collaborator in the regional arts community, the Mendelssohn's artistic partners have included the Pittsburgh Opera, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the River City Brass Band, the Children's Festival Chorus and the Duquesne University Tamburitzans.
A prime component of the Mendelssohn's educational outreach is the Junior Mendelssohn Choir, a training and performance project serving select high school students from throughout the greater Pittsburgh region. Students receive personalized vocal training and exposure to some of the great works of the choral repertoire as a way to supplement on their high school choral experience.
The members of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh share a remarkable commitment to the art of making great choral music and collectively contribute an estimated 30,000 hours of service per season. The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh is a Steinway Artist, the only chorus holding that designation.