Now entering its 18th season, the Children’s Chorus of Washington (CCW) has taken its place among the finest children’s choral ensembles in the country, and is recognized for its program and artistic excellence. CCW comprises five performing ensembles and its 150 young singers, ages 9-18, represent over 90 public and private schools in the greater Washington, DC area.
In response to requests from parents, Founder and Artistic Director Joan Gregoryk established this outstanding performance-based choral music education program for children from the greater Washington area in 1996. In Europe, the tradition of children’s choral music is centuries old. In the United States, the artistry embodied in the voices of children and the rich musical literature written for them has only been recently been recognized.
In May 2005, CCW premiered The Nightingale, an opera for young voices by the renowned composer Imant Raminsh. The Nightingale was jointly commissioned by CCW, the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus of Illinois, and the Portland (Ore.) Symphonic Girlchoir. An exciting new production was presented at the state of the art Harman Center for the Arts in May 2009.
The Chorus made its debut at the Kennedy Center in November 1996, with The Washington Chorus in a performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony. In 1997, at the invitation of Maestro Leonard Slatkin, National Symphony Music Director, the Chorus performed with the NSO and The Washington Chorus in the Washington and New York premieres of The Children’s Crusade by Gabriel Pierne, in concerts at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Other NSO performances include Mahler's Symphony No. 3, Britten’s War Requiem, Walton’s Henry V, and Orff's Carmina Burana, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. The Chorus appeared first in a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 ("Symphony of a Thousand") with the NSO and the major adult choral groups of the Washington D.C. area during its 10th Anniversy season and performed it again during its 15th Anniversary season, this time with Choral Arts Society, Spain's Orfeon Pamplones and one of Russia's oldest and most distinguished musical institutions, the Mariinski Orchestra (formerly the Kirov Orchestra) conducted by internationally known music director Valery Gergiev. CCW was also invited by the NSO to perform Bernstein's Symphony No. 3 "Kaddish", with Cathedral Choral Society, under the direction of John Axelrod.
The Chorus had also performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in performances of Carmina Burana and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, conducted by Yuri Temirkanov. The Chorus performed with Choral Arts Society of Washington in the Washington premiere of Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 5 as well asthe world premiere of Seven Songs for Planet Earth by Finnish composer Olli Kortekangas. Other collaborations and performances include Berlioz's Te Deum with the Cathedral Choral Society, and "The Essential Puccini", selections from the composer's operas Turandot and La Boheme, with The Washington Chorus. For its 2009 Spring concert CCW was joined by award-winning children's and folk music duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer and African-American music historians Kim and Reggie Harris for a concert celebrating the history of American music, from country to jazz, gospel and folk. CCW joined this past season The Washington Chorus in a performance of Mendelssohn's choral masterpiece Elijah at the Kennedy Center.
The Chorus has toured internationally to Italy for the 1999 Tuscany International Children’s Chorus Festival, which included a Gala Festival Concert in Florence and a performance participation in a Mass at St. Peter’s in Rome. In July 2002, the Chorus participated in the European Children’s Chorus Festival in Vienna, Salzburg and Prague, performing in such venues as St. Stephen’s in Vienna, University Church in Salzburg and Smetana Hall in Prague. In the summer of 2004, CCW toured England and Wales with performances at Ely Cathedral and St. David's Hall in Cardiff. During summer 2006, members of the Chorus toured Brazil and Argentina as part of the Melodia! Children's Music Festival, performing in such venue as Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. During the summer of 2008 the Chorus toured Italy, for its first International self-produced tour, singing at St Mark's Basilica in Venice and St Peter's Basilica in Rome among other grand venues. During the summer of 2010 the Chorus traveled to South Africa to participate in the Ilhombe South African Choral Festival. During its tour to China this summer 2013 the Chorus will perform at prestigious venues.