The Masterworks Chorale is critically recognized as one of Northern California's finest choral ensembles. Founded in 1964 by Artistic Director Emeritus Galen Marshall, the Chorale performs masterworks of sacred and secular choral literature from the Baroque period to today. Richard Garrin was Music Director from 1997-2002. Dr. Bryan Baker has been Artistic Director of the Chorale since the Fall of 2002.
Each season, the Chorale performs 3 to 4 pairs of concerts featuring instrumental ensembles comprised of the Bay Area's leading professional musicians. In addition, Masterworks is joined by professional vocal soloists whose credits include appearances with leading symphony orchestras and opera companies throughout North America and Europe.
Among the Chorale's guest appearances are performances with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Jose Symphony, the Festival of Masses, and the Cabrillo Festival. Internationally, Masterworks has received critical acclaim during seven European tours, a tour of the People's Republic of China, a performance at Avery Fisher Hall and their 1989 debut at Carnegie Hall, featuring the Verdi Requiem.
The 25th Anniversary of the Chorale featured the World Premier of Alexander C. Post's Sea of Light, commissioned by the choir for the anniversary celebration. Capping their 30th Anniversary season celebration was Masterworks' Central European tour, including performances in Brno, Krakow, Budapest, and Prague, accompanied by the Brno Concert Orchestra and the Budapest Concert Orchestra. A recording of the Prague concert, recorded live on July 8, 1994, at the Rudolfinum's Dvorak Hall was aired on the radio series, The First Art, heard on over 200 stations throughout North America. Featured on the recording is the Beethoven Choral Fantasy with guest accompanist Jon Nakamatsu, who in 1997 won the acclaimed Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. For the 40th Anniversary season finale, Jon Nakamatsu and founder Galen Marshall returned to perform the Beethoven Choral Fantasy again with the Chorale.