Orchestra Seattle is a 60-member semiprofessional orchestra. The membership includes professional musicians, music teachers, and highly skilled amateurs who choose to work together under the direction of the late George Shangrow. Membership is by audition and performers join in the commitment to maintaining excellence in artistic performance and to participate in the unique contribution that Orchestra Seattle, together with the Seattle Chamber Singers, brings to audiences in the Seattle area.
During its twenty-four year history, the orchestra has made an extended sojourn through the heart of the orchestral literature and has sought to promote new music by Northwest composers. In collaboration with conductor George Shangrow and the Seattle Chamber Singers, Orchestra Seattle has attained special recognition for their interpretations of the music of Handel and Bach.
The Seattle Chamber Singers is a 55-voice chorus with membership by audition. Founded in 1969, the Chamber Singers began as a madrigal group, and in the early years performed Renaissance and Baroque music with original instruments of the era as well as new music by Seattle composers, several of whom were group members. Interest in expanding the repertoire led to a gradual increase in the size of the chorus to meet the requirements of the oratorio literature.
Over the last thirty-four years, the Chamber Singers have introduced rarely heard choral masterpieces to Seattle audiences such as Handel's Israel in Egypt, Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers, and Haydn's The Seasons. The Seattle Chamber Singers have championed new choral music by Seattle composers Robert Kechley, Huntley Beyer, and Carol Sams. With the leadership of George Shangrow, the Chamber Singers have focused on the music of J.S. Bach through presentations of his great choral works, including cantatas, motets and oratorios. Praised by critics for their vibrant sound and spirited, disciplined singing, the Chamber Singers have also delighted in performing classics of the choral literature such as Handel's Messiah, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and Brahms' German Requiem.