The Dale Warland Singers
Based in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the Dale Warland Singers (DWS) was recognized as one of the world's foremost a cappella choral ensembles. The 40-voice professional choir recently concluded its 31st and final season of concerts, tours, radio broadcasts, and critically acclaimed recordings.
Besides its pristine and peerless signature sound, the Dale Warland Singers is also renowned for rejuvenating the choral genre. It has commissioned and performed an astounding 270 works in 31 years -- more new choral music, in fact, than any other classical music organization in the country.
In total, more than 150 notable composers have worked with DWS, including Grammy-winners Dominick Argento and Libby Larsen, Stephen Paulus, Carol Barnett, Aaron Jay Kernis, George Shearing, Dave Brubeck, Peter Schickele, Alice Parker, Kirke Mechem, Mary Ellen Childs, Augusta Read Thomas, Janika Vandervelde, Bernard Rands, Emma Lou Diemer, Brent Michael Davids, Frank Ferko and Eric Whitacre. In their final season alone, DWS premiered 16 new works by 14 American composers -- eight of whom live in the Twin Cities. The Dale Warland Singers' annual Choral Ventures™ Program, created in 1987, has awarded over $162,000 in commissions to 60 talented emerging composers from all over the USA.
In 1992, the Dale Warland Singers became the first-ever recipient of ASCAP's Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence. The group's extraordinary efforts on behalf of composers and new music resulted in ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming in 1992, 1993, 1996, and 1999.
In addition to offering an annual subscription season in the Twin Cities, the Dale Warland Singers toured throughout the United States and abroad. In 1990, DWS traveled to Stockholm and Helsinki to represent North America at the Second World Symposium on Choral Music. Most recently, in 2002, DWS made its debut at The Ravinia Festival (Chicago), and performed at the American Society of Harpists National Conference and the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music, both held in the Twin Cities. In 2003, the Singers performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during a tour of the western United States. Its Spring 2004 concerts in Ohio, Florida and West Virginia received rave reviews.
DWS collaborated with many other Twin Cities arts organizations including the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies and the James Sewell Ballet. The choir worked under the batons of the late Robert Shaw, Leonard Slatkin, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Neville Mariner, Edo de Waart, Hugh Wolff, Bobby McFerrin, David Zinman, Roger Norrington and James Conlon, to name a few.
The ensemble also appeared on Garrison Keillor's original A Prairie Home Companion show and performed regularly on American Public Media's Saint Paul Sunday. Its annual Echoes of Christmas and Cathedral Classics broadcasts reach listeners nationwide.