History

  • January 1984: The Washington Men’s Camerata is founded by Brad Spencer, Jeff Skeer, Ned Goldberg, Audi Peal and John Polanin (Spencer, Skeer and Goldberg still sing with the group).
  • December 1984: The Camerata performs its first concert, under the direction of Ron Freeman, at the National Cathedral School’s Hearst Hall.
  • December 1985: Under music director Michael Lindstrom, the Camerata performs at the White House.
  • June 1986: Under its third music director, Jack Jacobs, the Camerata performs for the first time at the Smithsonian Institution.
  • June 1990: Under its fourth music director Thomas Beveridge, the Camerata takes its first road trip, performing in the British and Irish Festival in Norfolk, VA and Bethlehem, PA.
  • March 1992: The Camerata sings in Boston at the Harvard Festival of Men’s Choruses.
  • December 1992: The Camerata makes its first broadcast performances on the National Gallery of Art Concert Series. (The Camerata performed at the National Gallery eight more times during the next ten years.)
  • March 1993: The Camerata is one of eight volunteer choruses in the nation to be awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • December 1993: The Camerata releases its first CD (Masters In This Hall) on Gothic.
  • 1994: The Camerata celebrates its tenth anniversary, hires Jeanette Van Winkle as its first arts management professional and makes its first annual performance at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater.
  • September 1995: The Camerata performs its Russian sacred repertoire for the Metropolitan of Moscow and All of Russia upon his first visit to the U.S.
  • March 1997: The Camerata releases its second CD (Over the Sea to Skye) on Gothic.
  • June 1997: The Camerata performs with the National Symphony Orchestra, under guest conductor Christopher Hogwood in the NSO’s Mozart Festival at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater.
  • December 1998: The Camerata performs on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
  • June 1998: The Camerata establishes (with the cooperation of Yale and Georgetown Universities) a national repository library of men’s choral music, to preserve and share music that might otherwise be lost.
  • December 1998: The Camerata appears in a “Headliner Concert” at the American Choral Directors Association convention in Providence, RI, and also holds a master class with the renowned professional vocal ensemble Chanticleer.
  • March 1999: The Camerata releases its third CD (The Spirit of Freedom) on Gothic.
  • September 1999: The Camerata welcomes new music director Frank Albinder.
  • March 2000: Camerata receives the first of eight consecutive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of its National Repository Library of Men’s Choral Music
  • Spring 2000: The Camerata performs songs of Schubert with the Mark Morris Dance Group at George Mason’s Center for the Arts and performed with the United States Army Chorus at the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Seminar at Rutgers University.
  • June 2000: The Camerata appears at the 2000 Chorus America National Conference in Baltimore in a seminar on male choral singing directed jointly by Frank Albinder and Alice Parker.
  • October 2000: The Camerata hosts the acclaimed male professional vocal ensemble Cantus in a concert at the Church of the Epiphany in downtown Washington, DC.
  • December 2001: Camerata releases fourth CD “Sing We Noel” (first recording under the direction of the Grammy award winning recording team including Music Director Frank Albinder, producer Steve Barnett and Recording Engineer Preston Smith).
  • July 2002: Camerata makes first appearence with the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolftrap, performing Vienese Opera Choruses under the direction of David Allen Miller.
  • May 2002: Camerata hosts the acclaimed Harvard Glee Club in a concert at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater.
  • September 2002: Camerata performs at the Clarice Smith Center for the Arts in a concert tribute to Langston Hughes, sponsored by the Washington Performing Arts Society.
  • November 2002: Camerata performs in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall as guests of the National Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Marvin Hamlisch, in a tribute to Richard Rodgers.
  • December 2002: Camerata performs at the National Gallery of Art as part of the Gallery’s festival of American Music.
  • January 2003: Camerata recordings of patriotic music featured as part of the PBS television series “Freedom: A History of US” and on two CD releases on the SONY label.
  • February 2003: Camerata web page offers men’s choruses throughout the world online accessibility to holdings in its its National Library of Men’s Choral Music.
  • March 2004: Camerata performs US premiere of Bohuslav Martinu’s last work, The Prophecy of Isaiah.
  • September 2004: Music Director Frank Albinder was appointed the American Choral Directors Association’s National Chair of Repertoire and Standards for Male Choirs.
  • May 2005: Camerata becomes charter member of the Male Chorus Commissioning Consortium, joining 12 other groups in commissioning a new work each year.  Initial commissions were composed by Lee Hoiby, Steven Sametz and Gavin Bryars.
  • March 2006: Camerata performs world premiere of Joel Hoffman’s Sonnet 22, for male chorus and two harps.
  • May 2006: Camerata releases Brothers, Sing On! Choral Classics for Men’s Voices on the Gothic Records label.
  • June 2007: Camerata performs US premiere of Bob Chilcott’s Five Ways to Kill a Man.
  • June 2007: The National Repository Library (now called The Demetrius Project) moves to permanent facilities at Joe’s Movement Emporium/World Arts Focus in Mt. Rainier, MD.  The entire collection is now under one roof for the first time.
  • March 2008: Camerata hosts National Seminar for Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses, featuring 13 groups and more than 1000 singers and conductors. Frank Albinder is elected president of IMC.
  • March 2009: Camerata releases 6th professional recording: When I Was a Young Man: More Classics for Men’s Chorus on the Gothic label.
  • March 2011: Camerata performs Masonic Music of Mozart with Symphony Orchestra of Arlington at Alexendria’s George Washington Masonic Temple.
  • December 2011: Camerata gives live studio broadcast Christmas performance on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.
  • May 2013: Camerata sells out its annual Kennedy Center Terrace Theater concert with “The Great American Songbook.”
  • March 2014: Camerata performs at National Seminar for Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses at Rutger’s University.
  • June 2014: Camerata launches 30th Anniversary celebration with “Singers’ Choice” concert at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater.
  • November 2014: Camerata to perform with National Symphony Orchestra and pianist Garrick Olsson in the NSO’s first subscription performance of Buson’s Piano Concerto.
  • March 2015: Camerata performs 30th Anniversary Commission by James Q. Mulholland – “If Love Should Count You Worthy.”
  • April 2015: Camerata performs on the Music at Good Shepherd Series in Reston, VA
  • May 2015: Camerata performs at The Arts Club of Washington, DC on its “Evenings with Extraordinary Artists” Series.
  • June 2015: Camerata performs two 30th Anniversary Commissions at its annual Kennedy Center Terrace Theater concert: “Kogarashi – The Winter Wind” by Eric Banks and a new arrangement of “Yerushalayim shel zahav” (“Jerusalem of Gold”) arranged by Alice Parker.
  • October 2015: Camerata performs Wagner’s “Rienzi” with National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus at Strathmore Hall in Rockville, MD.
  • December 2016: Camerata exceeds $10,000 anonymous challenge grant with new donor contributions and increases in donor gifts.