The History

The Chorale was founded in 1947 under the name of the Los Angeles Concert Chorale. Its first major appearance was in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Auditorium under the direction of its founder, Roger Wagner. Thereafter, the Chorale was engaged for regular performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra until 1964 when the Los Angeles Master Chorale was founded by Roger Wagner to perform as a resident company in the newly built Music Center. He served as its director until 1995 when he was named Music Director Laureate.

In 1949, the Roger Wagner Chorale was signed under contract to Capitol Records and has recorded over twenty long-playing records for this company. The Chorale was awarded the "Grammy" for its album Virtuoso! by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and named Best Performance in the field of Operatic and Choral Music on all labels for the year 1958.

In 1953 the group was invited to sing in London by the County Council of London as part of the Coronation Festivities program. A 24-voice group sang in London's Royal Festival Hall, at Paris' Salle Gaveau, and in both Amsterdam and The Hague. The Chorale broadcast on BBC, Radio Paris, and Dutch radio. The London Musical Times quoted, "There can be few if any small choirs in this country which can come anywhere near to this choir's quality in matters of balance, dynamic range, rhythmic precision and accurate intonation."

In 1959 the Roger Wagner Chorale completed a tour of nineteen countries in South and Central America and Mexico under the President's Special Program. Since 1955 it has toured every state in the Union and Canada. The Chorale continues to concertize, tour and record. Foreign tours include: South and Central America, Mexico, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, and countries of the Far East. To date the group has performed on 19 tours to Japan and in 1997 the Chorale joined a celebratory concert in Los Angeles for the 50th anniversary of Radio Korea.

On disc, the Chorale can be heard on more than 80 albums under the Capitol, Seraphim, Delos and Toshiba labels, and currently records on its own label, Chariot Records. Since 1992, the Chorale has been directed by Roger Wagner's daughter, Jeannine Wagner.

The memorable Roger Wagner Chorale

"...the finest chorus I have ever conducted."
"Thank you for doing such a magnificent job for choral music in our great country."

Eugene Ormandy

"...Roger Wagner, the great chorus master and genuine musician
and to his excellent chorus."
Bruno Walter

"I shall always remember your great art and the wonderful chorus you have is second to none in the world."
Leopold Stokowski

"The best choir ever, not to mention the most beautiful!...I have been singing your praises everywhere here."
Sir William Walton

"Roger Wagner deserves all my admiration for his dedicated work...a notable achievement in technique and sound as well as perfect interpretation."
Hector Villa-Lobos

"Buenos Aires has never heard such an impeccable choral group."
El Mundo - Buenos Aires, Argentina

"If experience and human respect had not put us on guard a long time ago against making absolute statements, we would say in a loud voice and to the four winds after having heard the famous Roger Wagner Chorale that it is the best in the world."
El Nacional - Caracas, Venezuela

"...marked collective individuality whose precision and tuning are faultless."
Accion Montevideo, Paraguay

Created and maintained by Marcello Zini. Click to email