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

Ferris Chorale returns “home” for the holidays with rewarding Christmas program Sunday, December 14, 2014 by Lawrence A. Johnson

American Premiere of Ives' powerful requiem presented by Ferris Chorale February 27, 2013 by Dennis Polkow
Ferris Chorale marks new beginning with world premiere., December 10, 2012 by Lawrence A. Johnson
Ferris wraps its 40th Season ...grand tribute to its founder., April 28, 2012 by Lawrence A. Johnson
Ferris Chorale provides fine advocacy for Jackson “Requiem”, March 11, 2012 by Dennis Polkow


Past Reviews

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)

Critical Commentary

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 Schuman

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.
Eric Fenby

Here was great choral singing! Precision, style, com­municative urgency, fine ensemble -- all these are in the gift of the William Ferris Chorale.
William Mathias

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.
Chicago Tribune

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

Audio Clips

American Choral Premieres
World-premiere recordings of sacred and spiritual pieces by nine recent and contemporary composers. Sample clip: Four Motets, Op. 268 by Alan Hovhaness. [More info/order]

Toward the Unknown Region
Highlights of 35 magnificent seasons. [More info/order]


University Names Chorale Artist-in-Residence

Loyola University Chicago logoThe William Ferris Chorale has been named Artist-in-Residence at Loyola University Chicago. We are proud to be a part of the Loyola family!

Latest Recording

American Choral PremieresAmerican Choral Premieres
Sacred and spiritual works by nine contemporary composers including Paul French, Alan Hovhaness, Paul Nicholson, William Ferris and George Rochberg. Buy CD and more info button