The mission of the San Francisco Girls Chorus is to create outstanding performances featuring the unique and compelling sound of young women’s voices through an exemplary music education program.
The vision of the San Francisco Girls Chorus is to produce performances of the highest artistic caliber; to provide music education for girls and young women from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds; to be a leader in the field through creativity and innovation; to give the girls and young women who participate in Chorus programs the skills, self-discipline and confidence to succeed in music and in life; and to instill in the choristers a lifelong love of music; and to communicate this passion through involvement with the greater community.
About the San Francisco Girls Chorus and Chorus School
Established in 1978, and with an operating budget of $2.4 million, the mission of the San Francisco Girls Chorus is to create outstanding performances featuring the unique and compelling sound of young women’s voices through an exemplary program committed to education and visionary leadership in the development of this art form.
Under the direction of Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, the San Francisco Girls Chorus has achieved an incomparable sound that underscores the unique clarity and force of impeccably trained treble voices fused with expressiveness and drama. As a result, the Chorus vibrantly performs 1,000 years of choral masterworks from plainchant to the most challenging and nuanced contemporary works created expressly for them in programs that are as intelligently designed as they are enjoyable and revelatory to experience.
Each year, hundreds of singers from 45 Bay Area cities ranging in age from 4 - 18 participate in the SFGC’s programs. The organization consists of a professional-level performance, recording, and touring ensemble and a six-level Chorus School training program. A leading voice on the Bay Area and national music scenes, the Chorus has produced award-winning concerts, recordings and tours, empowered young women in music and other fields, enhanced and expanded the field of music for treble voices and set the international standard for the highest level of performance and education.
Commissions of new works from the leading composers of our time, collaborations with renowned guest artists, and partnerships with other Bay Area and national arts organizations provide the young women of SFGC with matchless performance experiences among powerful adult role models. In addition to its annual engagements with the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Symphony, recent and current/upcoming artistic partnerships include the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial Festival of New Music at Lincoln Center in June 2016 in collaboration with The Knights orchestra, the SHIFT Festival of American orchestras in April 2017 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and Carnegie Hall in February 2018 with the Philip Glass Ensemble, for a sold-out performance that was broadcast around the world by Medici TV.
SFGC's commitment to artistic excellence has been recognized through many awards and honors, including five GRAMMY Awards; four ASCAP/Chorus America Awards for Adventurous Programming; and, in 2002, becoming the first youth chorus to receive Chorus America's prestigious Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence.
SFGC was founded in 1978 by Elizabeth Appling, who served as Artistic Director until her retirement in 1992. Other Artistic Directors during SFGC's illustrious 40-year history include Sharon J. Paul (1992 - 2000), Susan McMane (2001 - 2012), and Lisa Bielawa (2013 - 2018).
SFGC owns and operates the Kanbar Performing Arts Center, which has become a hub for small to mid-size arts organizations in the Bay Area. In addition to SFGC’s own rehearsal and performance programs, the Kanbar Center provides long-term leased office space to such organizations as American Bach Soloists, Opera Parallèle, Jewish LearningWorks, and the Chinese-American International School, as well as rehearsal space for groups including New Century Chamber Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Merola summer opera program, and the San Francisco Boys Chorus.