The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, a chorus of 120 which includes a 20-voice professional core, is renowned for its versatility, singing oratorio, opera, Broadway, folk and symphonic repertoire. Founded in 1908, the MCP holds the distinction of being Pittsburgh’s oldest continuously performing arts organization.
The Choir, in its 104th season and sixth under the direction of Betsy Burleigh, is known for its mastery of the great choral classics. In 2009 the chorus sang a critically acclaimed performance of Rachmaninoff’s a cappella masterwork, the Vespers at St Paul’s Cathedral. Most recently they sang the Bach’s majestic Mass in B Minor to a sold out audience at East Liberty Presbyterian Church. In 2008, the Choir performed the epic oratorio Elijah under the baton of its Director Emeritus and Grammy Award winning Robert Page
Flexible in size as well as in style, the 32-voice Mendelssohn Chamber Singers presented an invited performance on the Library of Congress concert series in Washington D.C.
As the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's chorus of choice, the Mendelssohn has performed under the baton of some of the world's greatest conductors, including Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Michael Tilson Thomas, Claudio Abbado, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, André Previn, Sir Neville Marriner, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Helmuth Rilling, Ingo Metzmacher, Richard Hickox, Zdenek Mácal and Manfred Honeck. Performances of the Choir with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are heard locally over WQED-FM (89.3) and distributed nationally by PRI.
The Choir has numerous commissions and premieres to its credit, including works by Ned Rorem, Nancy Galbraith and Derek Bermel. A leader and collaborator in the regional arts community, the Mendelssohn's artistic partners have included the Pittsburgh Opera, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the River City Brass Band, the Children's Festival Chorus, the Duquesne University Tamburitzans and, most recently, the Senator John Heinz History Center as guest performers in the opening gala for the Vatican Splendor exhibit.
A prime component of the Mendelssohn's educational outreach is the Junior Mendelssohn Choir, a training and performance project serving select high school students from throughout the greater Pittsburgh region. Students receive personalized vocal training and exposure to some of the great works of the choral repertoire as a way to supplement their high school choral experience.
The members of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh share a remarkable commitment to the art of making great choral music and collectively contribute an estimated 30,000 hours of service per season. The MCP is a Steinway Artist, the only chorus holding that designation.