Chicago Master Singers (CMS), an Illinois not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1979 as The New Oratorio Singers. Under the guidance of founding director Thomas Wikman, the chorus’ goal was to perform concerts in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago and bring great music to audiences outside the cultural center of the city.
Over the years, CMS has refined and expanded its artistic mission to include the presentation of great choral works 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, and 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 Symphony No. 2 (Lobgesang). 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 a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection).
Members of CMS, as well as friends of the chorus, have an opportunity to participate in performance tours every two to three years as ambassadors of music. Our tour destinations can be seen here.
Bach: Matthew Passion and John Passion
Beethoven: Mass in C, 9th Symphony,
Opferlied, Elegischer Gesang
Bizet: Te Deum
Bloch: Sacred Service
Brahms: Nänie, Requiem
Bruckner: Masses 1, 2, 3; Te Deum
Dvorak: Mass, Te Deum, Stabat Mater
Elgar: Light of Life
Fauré: Cantique de Jean Racine, Requiem
Handel: Coronation Anthems
Holst: Psalms 86 and 148
Lauridsen: Lux Aeterna
Mendelssohn: Lobgesang, Elijah, St. Paul
Mozart: Requiem, “Coronation” Mass,
Pinkham: Christmas Cantata
Rutter: Gloria and Requiem
Schubert: Magnificat, Masses in A-flat and
Shaw/Bennett: Many Moods of Christmas
Stanford: Stabat Mater
Vaughan Williams: 5 Mystical Songs