Past Performances

Connexion Française: Fête

Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 8:00 PM
Boston's Basilica: Our Lady of Perpetual Help
1545 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

Our season opener has as its centerpiece the stunning Mass in G by Francis Poulenc. Composed in 1937 this landmark work for unaccompanied eight-voice choir is one of the twentieth century’s most challenging choral works. 

2016-2017 Concerts

Art is how we decorate space; music is how we decorate time. For our 16th season, Boston Choral Ensemble does both. Over four programs, we presented Music You Can See.

Obrecht Saint Donatian Mass

Friday, October 14, 2016
First Church, Cambridge
Saturday, October 15, 2016
First Lutheran Church, Boston

Our five concerts this season celebrate the relationship between seeing and hearing. First, we explore the renaissance masterpiece Missa De Sancto Donatiano (1487) by Jacob Obrecht (with our first performance coinciding exactly with the 529th anniversary of the premiere). The Mass will be introduced by renowned Obrecht scholar M. Jennifer Bloxam (Williams College), who will explore through visuals the cultural history of the premiere and via animated graphics the composition of the mass. We pair the music of Obrecht with music by Einojuhani Rautavaara, the notable Finnish composer, who died on July 27, 2016, at the age of 87.

Secret Angels

Saturday, December 17, 2016
Old South Church, Boston

Our holiday concert takes the theme of Secret Angels who are seen and not seen. With music by John Tavener, Adrian Peacock, Francis Poulenc and others, the concert is loosely based on the traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols. It includes carols for choir and congregation using the fine organ in Old South Church, and an international selection of sacred and secular carols to get you into the holiday spirit!

Kaleidoscope: Changes in Pattern and Color

Saturday, March 25, 2017
First Church, Cambridge

Our third concert, in spring 2017, is titled Kaleidoscope (Changes in Pattern and Color). We’re adding another sense to this experience with the world’s first 'scratch and sniff' choral concert, and ‘son et lumiere’ performance of color-themed works brought to life with computer-aided projections. The music will include pieces by Stroope, Stanford, Britten and Cage.


Thursday, May 11 & 18, 2017
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Charles Hayden Planetarium
Museum of Science, Boston

We're pleased that our fourth concert returns to the Charles Hayden Planetarium at Boston’s Museum of Science for a visual and aural feast entitled Cosmos. Our music by Ēriks Ešenvalds, Randall Stroope, Ola Gjeilo, and others will be made visible by a series of projections on the planetarium’s dome. The concert will include the world premiere of a new work by Stacy Garrop, winner of our commission competition.

2015-2016 Concerts

What Sweeter Music - 15th Anniversary Concert & Reception

Friday, October 30, 2015
First Church, Cambridge

Our new season marks the fifteenth anniversary for the Ensemble. Our first concert is a celebration of this anniversary at which we will sing pieces from the Ensemble’s repertoire from the last 15 years. We will be joined by the two previous artistic directors, founder Thomas Cunningham and successor Miguel Felipe, for this concert at First Church in Cambridge. There will be a special reception after the concert, continuing the celebration!

Third Boston Byzantine Music Festival

Friday, November 13, 2015
First Church, Cambridge

Boston Choral Ensemble presents this concert as part of the Third Boston Byzantine Music Festival. We will sing Byzantine-inspired music by Arvo Pärt, John Tavener and Ivan Moody.

Sing Nowell!

Saturday, December 19, 2015
Old South Church, Boston

Loosely based on the traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols, includes carols for choir and congregation using the fine organ in Old South Church, and many arrangements of secular carols to get you into the holiday spirit!

A Voice From Heaven: SCSM Conference at Boston University

Friday, February 12, 2016 at 8:00 PM
Marsh Chapel, Boston University
This concert is part of the annual conference of the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music, and includes two of the best choral works composed in the last one hundred years: the sublime Requiem(1936/1980) by Herbert Howells and the Pulitzer prize-winning Little Match Girl Passion (2008) by David Lang.

Serenade to Music - Settings of William Shakespeare

Friday, May 13, 2016
First Church, Cambridge
Our final concert celebrates the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare in a concert of texts by Shakespeare set by composers such as Frank Martin, Jaakko Mäntyjävri and Ralph Vaughan Williams. This concert will also include the world premiere of a new work by Gregory Brown, winner of our 2015 Commission Competition.


2014-2015 Concerts

Dark, Dark Night

November 1 & 2, 2014
Marsh Chapel, Boston University & Cathedral of the Holy Cross

For our first cycle we celebrate the two Christian festivals that occur on our actual concert dates: first, All Saints day (November 1), and second, All Souls Day (November 2). We broaden our understanding of these days beyond the Christian concept and invite you to come and remember the saints who have enriched your life and the souls who have gone before you, without whom you would not exist. We sing music to soothe your soul and help you through the dark, dark night of death. Our program includes a piece for All Saints by the celebrated renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo, and the extraordinary Funeral Ikos by John Tavener, a piece that uses vivid imagery from the Greek Order for the Burial of Dead Priests set to music of unearthly beauty. Finally, we sing the Requiem, Op. 9 by Maurice Duruflé in the version for choir and organ. Based on the plainchant for the Mass for the Dead, Durufle’s music is powerful and evocative and has been a popular piece with choirs and audiences since its composition in 1947.

Still, Still Night

December 20, 2014
Old South Church, Copley Square

Our annual holiday concert celebrates the release of our new CD of Christmas music, entitled Still, still night. Loosely based on the traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols, this concert follows the Christian story which we develop to a more inclusive celebration of birth and motherhood. This candlelight concert also includes carols for choir and congregation using the fine organ in Old South Church, and many arrangements of secular carols to get you into the holiday spirit!

Cold, Cold Night

March 20 & 27, 2014
The Oberon Theater, Cambridge

Hans Christian Anderson's story of "The Little Match Girl" is a modern passion setting that describes the cold, cold night in which a poor girl freezes to death. David Lang’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning setting for choir and percussion instruments has received extraordinary popular and critical acclaim. Using only the most minimal musical material Lang has created a piece that is not only contemporary and relevant, but also profound. This concert also features the world premiere of the short opera Riding on a Train at Rush Hour by Samuel Beebe, winner of our 2014 competition for a new work. This piece is the first in a series of 10-minute operas for choir that we are commissioning in the next few years.

Long, Long Night

June 6 & 7, 2014
First Church, Cambridge & Cathedral of the Holy Cross

The theme of our final cycle is the long, long night, not just in a literal understanding, but also in a metaphysical one that relates it to the span of human life. We celebrate precious life and the journey we travel, but we link to the themes of resurrection and rebirth from our other concerts and reflect that our journeys have meaning and truth. The music we sing includes Taverner’s five-voice motet Dum transisset Sabbatum (1575), which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and, to bring our season full circle, we sing his famous setting of Audivi vocem,which we heard in a setting by Thomas Tallis in our first cycle. John Taverner (1490-1545) was widely regarded as one of the most important composers of his era. A former organist of Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, he composed mostly vocal music and was both innovative and creative in his use of harmony and counterpoint. We juxtapose the music of the renaissance Taverner with the modern one, celebrating the life and work of John Tavener (1944-2013), who claims lineage to his illustrious predecessor. Tavener’s haunting and spare music has touched many with its beauty and grace. We reprise his Song for Athene (sung at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales), and we include music from his extraordinary cycleEx Maria Virgine for choir and organ. We will repeat this concert as part of the 2015 Boston Early Music Festival Fringe.

2013-2014 Concerts

raindrops footsteps

November 17, 2013
Amherst College, Amherst, MA
November 22 & 24, 2013
St. Paul Church, Cambridge & Gordon Chapel, Old South Church, Boston

The opening concerts of our 2013-14 season celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten with his famous Hymn to St. Cecilia, one of the greatest choral works of the twentieth century. We celebrate the extraordinary choral music of Arvo Pärt with a number of works, including his popular Magnificat and we are honored to be giving the US premieres of two works he composed in 2012. Our program includes the world premiere of raindrops footsteps by Rita Ueda, winner of our 2013 competition for a new work.

A Choral Holiday 2013

December 14, 2013
Old South Church, Boston

For the fourth annual Choral Holiday concert updates the traditional Lessons and Carols service with repertoire both old and new, including Paul Ayre’s reimagining of Handel’s “For unto us a child is born,” several works by Benjamin Britten to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth (including the ever-popular “Ceremony of Carols”), carols by Poston, Rutter, Tavener and others, and carols for congregation accompanied on the church’s world-famous organ. Selected seasonal readings complement the holiday program.

Path of Miracles

March 28 & 30, 2014
St. Paul Church, Cambridge & Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston

Our spring concert is dedicated to the New England premiere of English composer Joby Talbot’s masterpiece “Path of Miracles,” a four-movement work that describes the pilgrimage route to Santiago di Compostela in Spain. This remarkable work is a choral tour de force that is designed to wow all of your senses.

Cosmic Journey
May 30 & June 1, 2014

Our May concerts, entitled Seven Stars, will include seven different pieces dedicated to the stars, including works by Jonathan Dove, Ēriks Ešenvalds, & Arvo Pärt.

2012-2013 Concerts

Chansons Profanes

November 9 & 11, 2012
The Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall at the Longy School of Music

Celebrating anniversaries of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) and Jean Françaix (1912-97), this concert featured some little-known secular French works from the twentieth century that combined humor and virtuosity.

Click here to see a full list of events throughout the U.S. in honor of of the centennial of Jean Françaix.

A Choral Holiday

December 15, 2012
Old South Church, Copley Square, Boston

For the third annual Choral Holiday, we sang repertoire both old and new, including Thompson’s Stopping by woods on a snowy evening, Judith Weir’s My Guardian Angel, and Jan Sandström’s creative re-imagining of Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming. Audiences also enjoyed carols for congregation accompanied by the church’s world-famous organ and selected readings that complemented the program’s theme of snow and roses.


March 8 & 9, 2013
St. Paul's Church, Cambridge & Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston

The act of deploration, or lament, especially for the death of a loved one, has inspired composers to write some of the most powerfully moving music. This concert began with the famous Deploration on the death of Ockeghem by Josquin. In the first of two main sections we contrasted Tallis’s settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah for men’s voices with Tartini’s setting of the Stabat Mater dolorosa for women’s voices. In the second main section, we highlighted different approaches to text interpretation with settings of When David heard, from the renaissance and from the twentieth century. The concert concluded with the monumental 40-part motet Spem in alium by Tallis (1505-85).

Rose Songs

May 17 at 8:00 PM & May 19 at 3:00PM, 2013
Gordon Chapel, Old South Church, Copley Square

A spring bouquet, featuring Britten’s Five Flower Songs, and songs about roses by Lauridsen and others.

2011-2012 Concerts


November 18 at 8:00 PM & November 20 at 3:00PM, 2011
First Church, Cambridge & Mission Church, Boston

Victoria's Missa 'Ascendens Christus' in celebration of the 400th anniversary of his death and music by award-winning British composer Judith Weir.

Choral Holiday 2011

December 17 at 3:00PM, 2011
Old South Church, Copley Square

The Boston Choral Ensemble and Choirs of Marlborough High School present a concert of music to celebrate the holidays, including carols for congregation and organ.

Butterfly Dreams

March 9 at 8:00 PM & March 11 at 3:00PM, 2012
First Church, Cambridge & Old South Church, Boston

An exploration of the dream state with evocative music by Eric Whitacre (including Sleep and Leonardo dreams of his flying machine), Butterfly Dreams by John Tavener, Judith Weir's a blue true dream of sky and works by Dowland, Huub de Lange and others.


June 1 at 8:00 PM & June 3 at 3:00PM, 2012
First Church, Cambridge & Old South Church, Boston

Commissions for Chichester Cathedral including Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, works by Albright, Berkeley, Kelly and Walton, and the winner of our 2012 commission competition, Stephen Feigenbaum. With Balint Karosi, organ.

2010-2011 Concerts


November 19 at 8:00 PM & November 21 at 3:00PM, 2010
Old South Church, Boston

The Boston Choral Ensemble kicks off its 10th anniversary season with a unique retrospective concert led by conductor Christopher Nickelson. Instead of simply performing old Boston Choral Ensemble classics, we will revisit our past seasons and bring to light new and familiar works inspired by our first 9 years.

Choral Holiday 2010

December 18 at 2:00PM & 7:00PM, 2010
Old South Church, Copley Square & Winchester High School

For our 10th annual season, we expand our programming to include a 4th concert: our first annual Choral Holiday. The Choral Holiday is a light holiday program featuring guest choirs from Winchester High School.

The Door to Paradise

March 4 at 8:00PM & March 6 2:30PM, 2011
First Church, Cambridge & Old South Church, Boston

Inspired by the finest twentieth-century British choral music, we presented Door to Paradise, and thematic program that explores different perspectives on death and life after death. Howells' sublime Take him Earth for Cherishing serves as the centerpiece.


June 3 at 8:00PM & June 5 2:30PM, 2011
First Church, Cambridge & Old South Church, Boston

We concluded our 10th anniversary season with a Bang! To help us celebrate,we invited some of the region's finest percussionists for a program of music for percussion and chorus. The concert will include the premiere of A Depth We Cannot Sound from our 4th annual commission competition.