Chicago Master Singers (CMS), an Illinois not-for-profit organization, was established in 1979 as The New Oratorio Singers. Under the guidance of founding Music Director Thomas Wikman, the chorus’ goal was to perform choral/orchestral masterworks for audiences in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
Over the years, CMS has refined and expanded its artistic mission to include the presentation of great choral repertoire at the highest artistic level for the cultural enrichment of its members and the communities it serves. From 1989 to 2020, the chorus was under the artistic direction of Alan Heatherington. During this time, CMS expanded its annual performances from three to six, grew to a membership of 140 singers, and diversified its venues to include performance sites throughout metropolitan Chicago. Divine Word Chapel at Techny Towers in Northbrook became a regular performance location. John C. Hughes became the ensemble's third Music Director in July 2020.
CMS has collaborated with professional orchestras in performing major works. In April 2004, CMS celebrated its 25th anniversary season with a performance of the magnificent Verdi Requiem in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center in Chicago. Spring 2008 found Chicago Master Singers performing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on the Lake Forest Symphony’s 50th anniversary concert program. CMS joined the Lake Forest Symphony again in spring 2011 on their program of Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2 (Lobgesang). Later in 2011, the combined choruses of CMS and Kol Zimrah performed with the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra in Stanley Black's Music of a People. In 2013, CMS partnered with the Lake Forest Symphony in performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection).
CMS also performs unaccompanied choral repertoire, including entirely a cappella concerts in advance of overseas performance tours. Members of CMS - as well as friends of the chorus - have an opportunity to participate in these tours as ambassadors of music.
Bach: Cantatas, St Matthew Passion
Barber: Agnus Dei
Beethoven: Mass in C, Opferlied
Bizet: Te Deum
Bloch: Sacred Service
Brahms: Requiem, Nänie, Schicksalslied
Bruckner: Masses, Te Deum
Duruflé: Requiem, Ubi Caritas
Dvorak: Mass, Te Deum, Stabat Mater
Elgar: Light of Life
Fauré: Cantique de Jean Racine, Requiem
Gjeilo: Ubi Caritas, Unicornis Captivatur
Handel: Coronation Anthems, Messiah
Holst: Psalms 86 and 148
Howells: Requiem, Magnificat
Lauridsen: Lux Aeterna, O Magnum Mysterium
Liszt: Missa Choralis
Mendelssohn: Psalms, Elijah, St. Paul
Mozart: Requiem, Coronation Mass, Vespers
Paulus: Alleluia, The Road Home
Pinkham: Christmas Cantata
Rutter: Cantate Domino, Gloria, Requiem
Schubert: Masses, Magnificat
Shaw/Bennett: Many Moods of Christmas
Stopford: Truro Canticles
Tavener: Song for Athene
Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs
Whitacre: Lux Aurumque