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Portland State University Chamber Choir

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The Portland State Chamber Choir has undertaken activities and garnered honors far beyond those of a typical metropolitan university chorus. The group has been called "amongst the finest choirs" in the world by the Classics Today website and has recorded albums for the Naxos, Albany, and Clarion labels, as well as its own imprint. The Portland State Chamber Choir was founded in 1975. It is the elite group among several choirs fielded by Portland State University, a public institution in Portland, Oregon, with nearly 30,000 students. The choir has toured the U.S. and appeared several times in foreign countries, becoming the first American choir to win the Seghizzi International Competition for Choral Singing in Italy (2013) and Indonesia's Bali International Choral Festival (2017). Closer to home, the Portland State Chamber Choir often performs at concerts of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra and attracts nationally known figures to its concerts; in 2020, prominent choral composer Eric Whitacre conducted the choir in a concert of his music at Portland State's sizable Viking Pavilion. The choir often appears at national choral conferences and competitions and has won more than 30 awards in all. As of 2020, the choir's conductor was Ethan Sperry. The wide attention gained by the choir's recordings is especially noteworthy. The group's catalog dates back to a 1997 self-titled recording released on the Albany label. The group has also recorded for Clarion. The Portland State Chamber Choir has recorded music by major contemporary composers, including Margaret Garwood, Veljo Tormis, and, on multiple occasions, Ēriks Ešenvalds. The choir's Into Unknown Worlds album (2013) was the first by a student group to reach Stereophile magazine's "Recordings to Die For" list, and its 2017 Ešenvalds album The Doors of Heaven was the first by a university choir to reach the number one position on Billboard's classical sales chart. In 2020, the choir released Translations, a new album of music by Ešenvalds, and planned to head for New Zealand to represent the U.S. at the World Symposium on Choral Music.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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