Monday, May 30, 2016

FIRST LOOK: our 2016-17 season!

The Chicago Bar Association presents
The Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra—Thirty-First Season
David Katz, founding music director and conductor
The Chicago Bar Association Chorus—Eleventh Season
Janet Eckhardt, chorus accompanist

Announcing our 2016-17 Season of Classical Concerts
All performances at St James Episcopal Cathedral unless otherwise noted.

During 2016-17, three candidates audition for the post of Director of the CBA Chorus. Each will prepare music for the chorus to perform with the orchestra, as well as conducting the CBA Chorus in shorter choral selections. Audiences will be invited to share their impressions of each candidate as we seek to select the perfect person to lead the CBA Chorus into its second decade.

Friday, September 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm
featuring soloists and small ensembles from the CBASO and CBA Chorus

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at 7:30 pm
David Katz, founding music director, CBASO
Stephen Blackwelder,  chorus director candidate
Director, DePaul Community Chorus, Music Director, Waukegan Symphony

Stephen Blackwelder, chorus director candidate
Handel—Coronation Anthem: Zadok the Priest
Faure—Cantique de Jean Racine
selections by the CBA Chorus
Mahler—Symphony No. 1

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 7:30 pm
David Katz, founding music director, CBASO
Christopher Windle, chorus director candidate
Assistant Choirmaster, Church of the Atonement, Chicago Concert Choir Director / Adjunct, Benedictine University
Christopher Windle, chorus director candidate

John Vishneski, III, clarinet soloist
Mozart—Clarinet Concerto—John Vishneski, III, clarinet soloist
selections by the CBA chorus
Mozart—Missa Brevis in D, K. 194—    featuring winners of The American Prize Chicago Oratorio Award

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 7:30 pm
David Katz, founding music director, CBASO
Christopher Owen, choral director candidate
Director of Choral Activities, Assistant Professor of Music Education, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago
Christopher Owen, chorus director candidate

Tchaikovsky—Symphony No. 4 in F minor
selections by the CBA Chorus
Vaughan Williams—Benedicte

Tickets online at

Friday, May 13, 2016


David Katz, left, founding music director of the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and chief judge of The American Prize national nonprofit comptitions in the performing arts, welcomed soloists soprano Penelope Shumate, and baritone Stephen Lancaster, winners of The American Prize Chicago Oratorio Award, for the performance he conducted of the Brahms German Requiem with the CBASO and the Chicago Bar Association Chorus at Saint James Cathedral this week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ANNOUNCING: award-winning soloists for the Brahms "German Requiem" in May

The American Prize is pleased to announce the WINNERS of the 2016 Chicago Oratorio Award. The following two artists will appear under Maestro David Katz's baton in concert with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Midwest's acclaimed all-attorney ensemble, in May 2016, performing the Brahms German Requiem, at St James Episcopal Cathedral, Chicago. 
The WINNERS are:

Penelope Shumate
Penelope Shumate has been described as having a “voice with power” and a “welcome fire” on stage. Her singing was described by the New York Concert Review as “the embodiment of light.” The New York Times praised her recent performance as the Soprano Soloist in Messiah for her Avery Fisher Hall debut at Lincoln Center, stating she “sang the soprano solos with appealing bell-like clarity and surpassing sweetness.” 

For her return to Avery Fisher Hall, she performed as a soloist in Carmina Burana; a work that also marked her Carnegie Hall debut and return engagements. Additional Carnegie Hall soloist appearances include performances in Messiah, St. Nicolai Mass, Coronation Mass, the Verdi and Mozart Requiem, as well as the New York City premier of Paul Mealor’s Stabat Mater. Also in New York City, she performed the title role in Naughty Marietta in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.

Her upcoming return engagements include her appearance in Messiah at Carnegie Hall presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York, as well as performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Rapides Symphony Orchestra. She also debuts with the Heartland Festival Orchestra in Carmina Burana.

She has appeared with opera companies and orchestras across America including Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Roanoke, Lake George Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Ash Lawn Opera, Annapolis Opera, Baltimore Concert Opera, Opera on the James, Duluth Festival Opera, Jacksonville Lyric Opera, Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Berkshire Choral Festival, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, MidAmerica Productions, Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra, and Kennett Symphony Orchestra.

In 2015, Penelope was recognized by The American Prize for "Excellence in Oratorio Performance." She has been a vocal award winner with the Gerda Lissner Foundation, Marie E. Crump Vocal Arts Competition, MacAllister Awards, New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera Vocal Competition, Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition, Octave Artist Management Excellence in Arts, James Parkinson Opera Competition, Kennett Symphony Orchestra Vocal Competition, and the Altamura/Caruso International Vocal Competition. In addition to her active performance career, she serves as Assistant Professor of Voice at Western Illinois University.


Stephen Lancaster
Described as “a fine storyteller” (American Record Guide), “varied in tone and alive to feeling” (Fanfare Magazine), baritone Stephen Lancaster engages audiences through diverse repertoire in concert, recital, and opera. He has been featured in venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall, Centro Cultural de Belém, Petit Palau de la Música Catalana, and Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall.

Recent concert credits include the Fauré & Duruflé Requiem at Carnegie Hall with Distinguished Concerts International New York, Carmina Burana with Lisbon Summer Fest, Warren Symphony, and Oakland Symphony Orchestra at the Max M. Fisher Music Center; Rachmaninoff’s The Bells and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with Holland Symphony; Brahms’ Requiem with Chorosynthesis in Seattle and Duruflé’s Requiem with Macalester College in St. Paul. He has performed numerous roles with Eugene Opera, Arbor Opera Theater, and Opera Notre Dame, and will create the role of Jaques in As You Like It by Roger Steptoe this season.

A passionate recitalist, Lancaster has performed Lieder programs in Paris, Frankfurt, and the Eure-et-Loire Festival, and for the Brooklyn Art Song Society in New York. He recently released a recording of French art songs with pianist Martin Katz, Le Menu des Mélodies (Centaur Records), and his recital on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series was broadcast live by classical radio station WFMT. Born and raised in Canada, he holds degrees in vocal performance from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Michigan.


The American Prize has selected soloists to perform with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony and Chorus the last five years, in repertoire ranging from the Bruckner Te Deum and Beethoven Choral Fantasy, to a complete evening of opera excerpts and another featuring the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein.  

To purchase tickets, please follow this link.

Monday, March 21, 2016

CELEBRATE the CBASO and the CBA Chorus April 15th!

Join us as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and the 10th birthday of the CBA Chorus and honor Rebecca Patterson, CBA Chorus Director, upon her retirement.
Email for reservations and more information.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

BRAHMS REQUIEM: selecting soloists by recorded audition. DEADLINE APPROACHING MARCH 15th.

THE AMERICAN PRIZE—CHICAGO ORATORIO AWARD: selecting Brahms Requiem soloists.

Deadline to apply: March 15, 2016

As in the past, soloists for the CBASO & Chorus performance of the Brahms Requiem this spring will be selected through The American Prize nonprofit competitions in the performing arts. These annual competitions, founded by CBASO music director David Katz in 2009, have gained a national following, with contestants applying from every state in the union except Alaska.

If you know any excellent professional or pre-professional (college/university) singers who might be interested in being considered as soloists for the Brahms, complete information about the Chicago Oratorio Award may be found on the website:

And you can follow the progress of the competitions by liking The American Prize Facebook page:
Two $750 prizes will be awarded as performance fees to soloists selected to appear under Maestro David Katz's baton in concert with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, in May 2016, performing the Brahms German Requiem, at St James Episcopal Cathedral, Chicago.

For more information about this additional opportunity, which is limited to applicants in the professional and college/university divisions of The American Prize contest, please download the opera/operetta or art song/oratorio application (link above.) There is no live competition. The American Prize judges recorded performances only.