We are the official choral unit of the Houston Symphony
The Houston Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Betsy Cook Weber since 2014, is the official choral unit of the Houston Symphony and consists of highly skilled and talented volunteer singers. Over the years, members of this historic ensemble have learned and performed the world’s great choral-orchestral masterworks under the batons of Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Hans Graf, Christoph Eschenbach, Robert Shaw, and Helmut Rilling, among many others.
In addition, the Chorus enjoys participating in the Houston Symphony’s popular programming under the batons of conductors such as Steven Reineke and Michael Krajewski. Recently, the ensemble sang the closing subscription concerts with the Prague Symphony Orchestra in the Czech Republic.
Singers are selected for specific programs for which they have indicated interest. A singer might choose to perform in all 45 concerts, as was the case in a recent season, or might elect to participate in a single series. The Houston Symphony Chorus holds auditions by appointment and welcomes inquiries from interested singers.
Betsy Cook Weber, Director
Anna Diemer, Chorus Manager
Hear the Houston Symphony Chorus during its 2019–20 season
- Schumann Festival II: Intimate Songs & Grand Choruses – February 13, 2020
- Adams’ El Niño – March 14 & 15, 2020
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in Concert – April 10 & 11, 2020
- Beethoven + López – May 15 & 17, 2020
- Game On! – May 21, 2020
- The Best of John Williams – Star Wars & More with Chorus! – May 22, 23 & 24, 2020
For questions about the Houston Symphony Chorus, please contact Anna Diemer, Chorus Manager at [email protected].
Special thanks to Trinity Downtown Lutheran Church for providing the Houston Symphony Chorus
with rehearsal space.
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.
Sing with the Houston Symphony Chorus
Our next auditions will be in May for the 2020-21 Season. We’ll announce the dates and times here once they are set.
Click on the map below to open Google Maps for directions to Trinity Downtown.
Click here to see our 2019-20 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.
- 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.
- 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) – other repertoire selections WILL NOT be accepted
- 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 recordings that will be used in the audition. You will sing your selected chorus with the 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
Musical Score Links
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:
- Give online now: Use this link to donate online and be sure to designate “Chorus Endowment” from the list of supported programs.
- By mail: Download our Chorus Endowment Form and mail your donation.
For more information, please contact Michael Arlen at (713)337-8529 or at [email protected].