Founded in 1920, the Cornell University Chorus is Cornell's premier treble voice ensemble. Under the direction of Professor Scott Tucker from 1995 to 2012, the ensemble has gained a reputation as one of the nation's outstanding women's choirs. Comprising fifty women from a variety of backgrounds, the Chorus performs a repertoire spanning eight centuries and ten languages, including masses, motets, spirituals, folk, and a variety of other classical and contemporary pieces. Since 2001, the Chorus has made a special point of commissioning new works from women composers with the goal of expanding the contemporary repertoire for treble voices.
Raised to distinction by Professor Thomas Sokol, the group's director from 1957 to 1987, the Chorus performs annually during Convocation, First-Year Family Weekend, Senior Week, Commencement, and Reunions Weekend, and has created an off-campus presence through events such as weekend choral festivals, community service, and off-campus retreats. In addition, the Chorus also boasts extensive experience in professional settings, working under the direction of Nadia Boulanger, Eugene Ormandy, Erich Leinsdorf, Michael Tilson Thomas, Julius Rudel, and Karel Husa on the stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Philadelphia Academy of Music, and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The Chorus has also been featured on two nationwide broadcasts: a special half hour on CBS radio, and an appearance on PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour as part of an artistic feature on former director Susan Davenny Wyner. The Chorus has had the privilege to collaborate with renowned world musician Samite of Uganda, participate in a production of Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light with Anonymous 4, and perform several major works with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, including most recently Bach's Mass in B Minor and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, the Chorus also periodically joins with the Cornell University Glee Club for the performance of major works, including Verdi's Requiem, Bernstein's Mass, and Brahms's Requiem.
In the past several years, the Chorus has added to its achievements numerous successful tours to New England, the Midwest, the Southeastern United States, California and Canada. In addition to these extended trips, the Chorus also travels to other universities for competitions and festivals. In the past, the women have performed at Harvard for the Centennial Celebration of the Radcliffe Choral Society as well as joint concerts with the Toronto Women's Chorus, the Penn State Glee Club, and the Wellesley Chorus. The Chorus has also completed a number of international tours, including a trip to Taiwan in 1998, Italy in 2005, and joint tours with the Glee Club to Venezuela in 2001, China in 2008 and Mexico & Guatemala in 2016.