Houston Chamber Choir Announces Soul-Stirring 2019-2020 Season, Illuminations  

HOUSTON, June 13, 2019– Houston Chamber Choir announces its 24th season, Illuminations, with a diverse and enthralling repertoire featuring world renowned special guests and guest artists, new partnerships and a world premiere. Some of the works explore deeper, existential matters, while other performances will lean toward lighter fare and tradition.

“Great choral music starts with great story telling,” says Robert Simpson, Houston Chamber Choir founder and artistic director. “And what vivid and compelling stories we have to tell this year! Their messages of joy, determination, hope and resilience radiate out from every concert of our season of Illuminations.”

New and existing patrons are invited to attend the Houston Chamber Choir’s 2019-2020 season kick-off celebration on Sept 8 at 5 p.m., at the Kirby offices of Greenwood King Properties located at 3201 Kirby Dr. Hosting this cocktail reception and a musical preview of the season is Houston Chamber Choir supporter Nancy Younger-Kruka of Greenwood King Properties. Light bites, delectable beverages, and complimentary valet parking provided. Tickets are just $25 and can be secured online or by calling 713-224-5566.

Houston Chamber Choir opens its ticketed season in September with the spellbinding presentation of The Diary of Anne Frank, Annelies by composer James Whitbourn, in partnership with the Holocaust Museum Houston at its newly reopened/expanded space. This promises to be one of the high points in the performing arts for Houston in 2019. In October, the Choir presents Jukebox Saturday Night, a free concert at Miller Outdoor Theatre that harkens back to American Bandstand and Rock ‘n’ Roll in the 1950s.

In November, local talent is the focus as five outstanding Houston composers present their music and insight, covering jazz, classical, folk and country. Christmas at the Villa: A Houston Tradition! is back again in December for four performances, a favorite holiday tradition in Houston, joined by The Treble Choir of Houston and bell choir Houston Bronze.

In January 2020 Houston Chamber Choir celebrates the 21st anniversary of its annual school choir  Invitational Choral Festival in Hear the Future, featuring Parker Elementary Advanced Chorus from Houston ISD, Salyards Middle School from Cypress Fairbanks ISD and Clements High School Concert Chorale from Fort Bend ISD.  The public is welcome to attend the free concert on Sunday January 26, 2020.  In addition to the Sunday concert, Houston Chamber Choir will hold its second annual invitational choral clinic on Saturday, January 25, 2020 for eight deserving Title I high schools in our area.  Leading the clinic will be Dr. Kristina Caswell MacMullen, Associate Professor of Choral Studies at the University of North Texas College of Music.

“Every January, the Choir and our community eagerly await Hear the Future, which is now in its 21st year,” says Houston Chamber Choir Managing Director Mariam Khalili. “This is a showcase of our finest local talent at the elementary, middle school and high school grade levels, with gifted directors and students in the greater Houston area together in one place for a celebratory weekend. We know our musical future is in capable hands after experiencing the stunningly beautiful music from these chorales.”

In February, the Houston Chamber Choir welcomes British composer Bob Chilcott to Houston for the world premiere of his newly revised Circlesong, a gripping work based on indigenous writings, while the March concert, Night Vision: Things Seen and Unseen, explores contemplation in a religious context.

The 24th season closes in May 2020 with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Anthracite Fields by composer Julia Wolfe, in conjunction with Bang on a Can All-Stars and Da Camera Houston. The work combines music, oral history, children’s rhymes, video and social commentary about the men and boys working in underground coal mines in the early 1900s.

Houston Chamber Choir 2019-20 Season Schedule


Sunday, Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m./Holocaust Museum Houston

Houston Chamber Choir joins the Holocaust Museum Houston to celebrate the reopening of the expanded museum by presenting the first major setting of the Diary of Anne Frank, Annelies, by English composer James Whitbourn. Hailed as a masterpiece, this work shines new light on a story of the triumph of the human heart over evil.

Patrons will have opportunities to tour the exciting new spaces that the Holocaust Museum Houston has long awaited to share with the community. Single tickets for this singular occasion will go on sale July 15 at the Holocaust Museum Houston website.  Tickets to Annelies are included in all season subscription packages available for purchase now at the Houston Chamber Choir website. 

Jukebox Saturday Night

Saturday, Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m./Miller Outdoor Theatre

Houston Chamber Choir’s second concert of the season pays tribute to American Bandstand and the carefree days of 1950’s Rock ‘n’ Roll. The era comes alive as the Chamber Choir sings classic hits by Elvis, Chubby Checker, Pat Boone, The Platters, Connie Francis and more.

Enjoy free hillside seating, or for complimentary assigned seating under the canopy, visit MillerOutdoorTheatre.com for details.

By Local

Saturday, Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m./South Main Baptist Church

Houston’s vibrant and active arts scene is enriched by a growing number of A-List composers. In our third concert of the season we celebrate their creativity with a program ranging from jazz and classical works to folk and country, all done with the polish and artistic commitment for which the Houston Chamber Choir is known. This evening showcase includes talks from each of the presenting composers throughout the concert, including Mark Buller, Daniel Knaggs, Pierre Jalbert, Rob Landes and David Ashley White.

Houston Chamber Choir’s Luminary Society will host an after-party immediately following the concert.  Full details will be announced to all ticketed patrons. Guests will enjoy light bites and beverages while mingling with Houston Chamber Choir Singers, Artistic Director Robert Simpson and the evening’s featured composers.  

Christmas at the Villa, A Houston Tradition!

Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m./Villa de Matel

The serene beauty of the Chapel of the Villa da Matel is a perfect setting for the enchanting array of traditional carols and new Christmas favorites presented each year by the Houston Chamber Choir. These annual Christmas concerts have become a Houston holiday tradition.

The Choir welcomes back The Treble Choir of Houston at Christ Church Cathedral, directed by Marianna Parnas-Simpson for our 2:30 p.m. performances. This year, the outstanding professional bell choir, Houston Bronze, is our special guest for the 5 p.m. performances.

In the giving spirit of the holidays, we invite patrons to bring items to donate to The Beacon, a nonprofit in downtown Houston that works to end homelessness and restore hope. Needed are disposable razors, new socks, toiletries, medical scrubs and new or gently used bath towels.

21st Annual Hear the Future Invitational Choral Festival

Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, 4 p.m./South Main Baptist Church

Each year Houston Chamber Choir invites three outstanding school choirs from the Greater Houston area to participate in our annual invitational choral festival. The featured choirs serve to acknowledge and encourage high standards for all school choirs. Now entering the festival’s 21st year, thousands of students from more than 40 of the area’s finest school choral programs have participated in Hear the Future.

This coming year we present the Parker Elementary Advanced Chorus from Houston ISD directed by Marianna Parnas-Simpson; Salyards Middle School from Cypress Fairbanks ISD directed by Amy Moore; and Clements High School Concert Chorale from Fort Bend ISD directed by Janet Menzie and Ryan Bogner. This free Sunday community concert gives audience members a chance to show their support and appreciation for the outstanding work being done by music educators and their talented singers.


Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, 4 p.m./South Main Baptist Church

Renowned British composer Bob Chilcott has asked the Houston Chamber Choir to present the world premiere of the revised version of his gripping work, Circlesong, a complete life cycle based on indigenous writings. Set for adult and youth choirs and percussion ensemble, each movement expresses a unique facet of the love and loss that was the Native American experience as our nation expanded westward. The performances will culminate in the world premiere recording of “Circlesong.”

Houston Chamber Choir’s Luminary Society will host an after-party immediately following the Sunday concert.  Full details will be announced to all ticketed patrons. Guests will enjoy light bites and beverages while mingling with Houston Chamber Choir Singers, Artistic Director Robert Simpson, and our special guest artists.

Night Vision: Things Seen and Unseen

Saturday, Mar. 28, 2020 at 7:30 p.m./Christ Church Cathedral

Wisdom and understanding are gifts of inner contemplation often enhanced by surrounding darkness.  We explore these gifts in a religious context with Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil,” considered by many to be his greatest work. The poignant reflection by Schiller in “The Night,” cast in a famously virtuosic setting by Strauss, enables us to experience the richness of evening in another yet still deeply personal way.

Houston Chamber Choir’s Luminary Society will again host an after-party immediately following the concert.

Anthracite Fields

Da Camera, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Houston Chamber Choir and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe

Friday, May 8, 2020 at 8 p.m./Cullen Theater at the Wortham Center

Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music, Julia Wolfe’s oratorio sheds light on the experiences of the men and boys who risked, and in many cases, lost their lives underground in the coal mines of Pennsylvania in the early part of the 20th century. Oral histories, interviews, children’s rhymes and an accompanying original video bring their stories vividly alive. Joining the sensational Bang on a Can All-Stars, Houston Chamber Choir is pleased to collaborate once again with Da Camera Houston to present this important work.   

About Houston Chamber Choir

The Houston Chamber Choir has established itself as one of the premier professional choirs in the United States, serving Houston through concerts and educational initiatives that enlighten, entertain, and educate people of all ages. Winner of Chorus America’s 2018 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, it has been described by The Tallis Scholars founder Peter Phillips as “one of this country’s leading ensembles.” The Choir also received The American Prize for best choral performance in the country and its Artistic Director Robert Simpson received the award in the conducting category in 2015. The Chamber Choir recently released their fifth CD, The Complete Choral Works of Maurice Duruflé, with organist Ken Cowan in April 2019.

Led by Artistic Director Robert Simpson, the Houston Chamber Choir is composed of 26 professional singers, most of whom have studied at the top music schools and conservatories in the United States including Julliard, New England Conservatory, University of Houston, and the University of Texas. These musicians are selected through rigorous auditions from the finest singers in our region and are compensated for all rehearsals and performances.

The Houston Chamber Choir, led by Artistic Director Robert Simpson, announces an exciting and enthralling season, Illuminations, for 2019-20. Photo credit: Jeff Grass Photography.