Santa Fe Desert Chorale
Founded in 1982 by Lawrence “Larry” Bandfield, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale is one of the longest continually performing professional music organizations in New Mexico, as well as one of the most distinguished. In his review of the “American Voices” program, Scott Cantrell of The Dallas Morning News wrote “The variety certainly displayed the ensemble’s impressive versatility. Habermann consistently got vivid performances, introspective music elegantly colored and shaped, extrovert fare delivered with great pizzazz. Individual singers got lots of solo exposure.”
Now in his ninth season, Artistic Director Joshua Habermann leads the Chorale in repertoire spanning seven centuries, from early polyphony to contemporary works. The composition of the Chorale is truly national in scope and the ensemble is recognized among the finest American chamber choirs. A recent highlight was an invitational appearance at the 2015 American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Utah, which was later broadcast by Minnesota Public Radio. In 2017-2018 the Chorale can be heard in Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Los Angeles, and Oklahoma City as well as in regular winter and summer seasons in New Mexico. Now in its 35th year, the Desert Chorale summer festival season is a centerpiece of the cultural life of Santa Fe, and among the nation’s most significant choral events.
Throughout its history, the Chorale has maintained a commitment to give voice to music from Hispanic and Native American communities. Dedicated to advancing the composers of our time, the Chorale has commissioned twenty-two works by eighteen composers; three quarters of the composers commissioned have been American. In addition, another seven works have been given their world or American premieres by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. The ensemble performs at historical sites in Santa Fe such as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and Loretto Chapel, as well as other venues throughout the Southwest.
The Desert Chorale prides itself on its strong relationships within the community of Northern New Mexico, and enjoys collaborations with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, New Mexico History Museum, NDI-NM, Performance Santa Fe, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus, Santa Fe Pro Musica, and The Santa Fe Opera, among others. Community engagement and fostering the next generation of singers and arts administrators are integral parts of the Desert Chorale’s mission.