The San Francisco Bach Choir has been an important part of the Bay Area’s cultural life for the past seven decades. The oldest continuing community choir in the western United States, SFBC played a major role in establishing choral music as a serious art form in Northern California while introducing thousands to the great works of J.S. Bach. The choir has performed most of the major works of choral literature, including J.S. Bach masterpieces such as the Mass in B Minor, the St. John Passion, the St. Matthew Passion, and numerous motets and cantatas. The choir now focuses not only on the music of Bach, but on polychoral music from the rich German choral tradition spanning the late 16th to 18th centuries and has performed many works in this early antiphonal style. Under the leadership of new director Magen Solomon, the choir continues this tradition and launches a new era of musical discovery.
The San Francisco Bach Choir’s membership of approximately seventy singers allows us to perform works that vary choir composition both in size and in numbers of parts. Our repertoire often employs multiple choirs, arranged in antiphonal formation throughout the performance space and has included works for up to as many as 40 different parts. The chamber choir Concentus, is drawn from the full choir and performs works requiring a smaller ensemble of singers.
The San Francisco Bach Choir performs with many renowned vocal soloists and its own period orchestra and chamber consort.
The San Francisco Bach Choir includes many renowned vocalists and other artists in its performances. The concert pages list which artists will be present for a given concert.
The Bach Choir’s repertoire includes the great choral masterworks—especially those of J.S. Bach—along with lesser-known multi-choir works from the 16th and 17th centuries that became a vital part of the Bach Choir’s special niche during the tenure of late director David Babbitt. The choir’s repertoire has also included the works of later composers ranging from Johannes Brahms to Samuel Barber and Benjamin Britten.