In the News and Reviews
Choral music is an acquired taste, but if you like it, it doesn’t get much better than the William Ferris Chorale. -- Vanity Fair
Over its 40 year history the Ferris Chorale has thrilled audiences in its hometown Chicago, across the country and around the world. Our concert tours have taken us to prestigious international music festivals (Aldeburgh Festival, Spoleto Festival), regional venues (Washington, DC, Green Bay, WI, St. Louis, MO, Cincinnati, OH) and our internationally broadcast recordings have brought the joy of our music making to hundreds of thousands of listeners. Here is what some of them had to say.
Most Recent Reviews
ChicagoClassicalReview.com Sunday, December 14, 2014 by Lawrence A. Johnson
Ferris Chorale Presents the American Premiere of Grayston Ives’ Powerful Requiem
“Twoyears in the making, the William Ferris Chorale’s “Sacred & Profane: Music of Grayston Ives” was a concert program devoted entirely to compositions and arrangements of the British singer and choral director, including the American premiere of his Requiem…. Under Paul French, the William Ferris Chorale rose to the nuanced demands of the work exquisitely, no small feat given that this is a work written for a full-time chorus in a country where choral singing is a way of life….At fifty minutes, this is a major work, quite eclectic and effective in its use of styles. Some of it has a touch of jazz harmony and pop rhythms… in contemporary music and the British choral tradition.” -- Dennis Polkow, Chicago Classical Review, February 27, 2013 Full Review
Britten's A Boy was Born Concert Performance
“Music director Paul French led the Ferris singers in a well prepared and committed account of this extraordinarily challenging music … Of the rest of the program, most intriguing Saturday was Conrad Susa’s Three Mystical Carols. Written for choir and organ in 1969, the American composer’s music is largely tonal spiced by a mild astringent edge. The beautiful centerpiece, This Endrys Night, is especially inspired, and under French’s skillful direction the Ferris Singers gave a rich and expressive performance.” -- Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review, December 12, 2010 Full Review
Fauré’s Requiem Concert Performance
"The Ferris Chorale sounded ravishing in four a cappella songs by Eric Whitacre, including two set to poetry by e. e. cummings and Federico Garcia Lorca. [Paul] French, director of the chorale since 2005, has refined and honed the ensemble, emphasizing both purity of sound and expressive depth." -- Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Classical Review, March 14, 2010
The Sealed Angel Concert Performance
“The Sealed Angel makes a virtue of its polystylism. In the Ferris Chorale’s technically secure and musically sensitive performance, conducted by music director Paul French, the piece proved eclectic indeed in its fusion of austere modal archaism and tonal diatonic harmony. But so skillfully interwoven are the various sources that the music felt very much of a piece." -- John Von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, March 23, 2009 Full review (PDF)
American Choral Premieres Recording
"The fact is, there's much to enjoy here -- and, from personal experience I can say that this program rewards repeated listening. The choir, the Chicago-based William Ferris Chorale, is a leader in promoting contemporary music...." -- David Vernier, Classics Today, June 12, 2009
Full review (PDF)
American Choral Premieres
"William Ferris was a fine composer ..., and his Lyrica Sacra is one of the highlights of this disc, as is Paul French’s Who am I? Winners all, this disc will transport you. Enthusiastically recommended! -- Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition, 2009 Full review (PDF)
What a splendid chorus the Chorale is. How lustily they sang. It is really first class!
Sir William Walton
What is the William Ferris Chorale? Probably the best chorus you'll ever hear. They are capable of amazing rhythmic precision and an almost frighteningly wide range of dynamic control. Ferris has shaped it into a Superchorus!
Spoleto Festival News Syndicate
The magnificent William Ferris Chorale covered itself -- and Samuel Barber -- in glory.
Byron Belt, Newhouse News Service
I was absolutely captivated by your magnificent performances.
William Ferris has created an instrument of rare capacity and quality. I was close enough to Frederick Delius to know he would have loved tonight's performance.
Here was great choral singing! Precision, style, communicative urgency, fine ensemble -- all these are in the gift of the William Ferris Chorale.
The William Ferris Chorale is one of Chicago's important cultural assets.
Chicago Sun Times
The Ferris Chorale is one of the finest choruses of its kind in the nation.
The Chorale concert was really a triumph and I am proud an honored to have been there and to have witnessed so much love for Ben and his music, as well as skill, hard work and achievement.
Sir Peter Pears