Founded in 1982 by Larry Bandfield, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale is one of the longest continually performing professional music organizations in New Mexico, as well as one of the most distinguished. The Chorale was a recipient of the 2006 Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and in 2016 was named the “Best Choral Group of Santa Fe” by the Santa Fe Reporter. Scott Cantrell of The Dallas Morning News characterized the Chorale as presenting “stunning singing…incredible power.”
Now entering his ninth season as Music Director, Joshua Habermann leads the 24-voice professional Chorale in repertoire spanning seven centuries, from medieval polyphony to contemporary works. The composition of the Chorale is truly national in scope and the ensemble is recognized among the finest American chamber choirs.
Throughout its history, the Chorale has maintained a commitment to give voice to music from Hispanic and Native American communities. Dedicated to advancing the composers of our time, the Chorale has commissioned twenty-two works by eighteen composers; three quarters of the composers commissioned have been American. In addition, another seven works have been given their world or American premieres by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. The ensemble performs at historical sites in Santa Fe such as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis and the Loretto Chapel, as well as other venues throughout the Southwest. A recent highlight was an invitational appearance at the 2015 American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Utah which was later broadcast by Minnesota Public Radio.
The Santa Fe Desert Chorale presents both summer and winter festivals of concerts featuring a wide range of literature from around the world. The 2017 Summer Festival Season will take place from July 19 through August 13, 2017. The 2017 Winter Festival Season, “Home for the Holidays,” is scheduled from December 16 to December 23, 2017 with performances in Albuquerque, Los Alamos and Santa Fe.
The Desert Chorale prides itself on its strong relationships within the community of Northern New Mexico, and enjoys collaborations with Creativity for Peace, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, New Mexico History Museum, NDI-NM, Performance Santa Fe, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Santa Fe Pro Musica, and The Santa Fe Opera among others. Community engagement is an integral part of the Desert Chorale’s mission.