Choirs to perform with California Symphony May 4

Apr. 30, 2012 -- Singers from SF State will have the chance to be a part of one of classical music's most famous pieces when two of the University's choral groups perform Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the California Symphony in early May.

A photo of the SF State Chamber Singers.

The SF State Chamber Singers

The University Chorus and Chamber Singers will lend their voices to the symphony's iconic finale, the "Ode to Joy." Performances will be held May 4 in Livermore and May 5 and 6 in Walnut Creek.

The groups were invited to perform with the California Symphony by Donato Cabrera, the resident conductor of the San Francisco Symphony who will also be conducting the Walnut Creek-based California Symphony's Beethoven performance. Cabrera worked with SF State Associate Professor and choral conductor David Xiques and the SF State women's chorus last year, which Cabrera said went so well he asked Xiques if SF State could also provide a choir for Beethoven's Ninth.

"They get to sing with a great conductor and a great orchestra and get to sing one of the most impressive choral and orchestral pieces in the repertoire," Xiques said. "It's very high-level, virtuosic and challenging singing." About 100 SF State singers -- 70 in University Chorus and 35 in Chamber Singers -- plus about 30 community members will participate.

Cabrera echoed Xiques comments about the opportunity the performances present the students. "The experience these wonderful young singers will have learning and performing one of the great monuments of the Western European arts canon will stay with them for the rest of their lives," Cabrera said.

At the last rehearsal, the students will work with Vance George, conductor emeritus of the San Francisco Symphony and from whose edition of Symphony No. 9 they will be singing. The performance is also a chance for Xiques to come full circle, since he also had the opportunity to perform Beethoven's Ninth as an undergraduate student.

In addition to the performances with the California Symphony, the SF State Chamber Singers spent four days during spring break performing at high schools and community colleges in Southern California.

"We have such enthusiastic students," he said. "They are given such high expectations every semester, and they rise to meet those expectations."

To learn more about SF State's arts programs and for a listing of upcoming performances, visit and To learn more about the California Symphony, visit

-- Jonathan Morales