About Eric Choate
Award-winning composer Eric Choate "commands a highly inventive approach to the interleaving of polyphonic voices" (Smoliar, The Rehearsal Studio), and his compositions have been lauded as being "rapturous," and "quietly majestic" (Textura.org). His works have been performed internationally by renowned artists including VOCES8, musicians of the San Francisco Symphony, American Bach Soloists, Frederica von Stade, Johann Vexo, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, Brian Thorsett, Emil Miland, John Churchwell, Friction Quartet, One Found Sound, and others. His music is published by E.C. Schirmer
and VOCES8 Publishing
, and recordings of his work have been released on Arsis Audio
and Ulysses Arts
Eric is in demand internationally as a choral and orchestral conductor. Recent engagements include the Göteborgs Symfoniska Kör & Vokalensemble in Gothenburg, Sweden, San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and Berkeley Symphony Chorus. From 2019-2022, Eric was the 10th Artistic Director of the GRAMMY Award-winning San Francisco Boys Chorus, who under his direction performed with the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Symphony, and Apollo5, as well as a tour of Austria and Czechia. Highlights of his engagement as Assistant Conductor of the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra include conducting performances of Verdi's Requiem
in Ypres, Belgium with the Oost-Vlaams Symfonisch Orkest, Bach's Passion According to St. John
, Britten's War Requiem
, Dvořák's Stabat Mater
, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms
, and Cherubini's Requiem
Eric is professor of Choral and Organ music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and performs solo recitals across America and in Europe. In the summer of 2023, he was awarded a grant to study improvisation in the French style with Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin in Paris. He possesses an Associate Certificate from the American Guild of Organists and currently serves as Director of Music at The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
Graduating with Departmental Distinction, Eric earned his Bachelor of Arts in Theory and Composition from St. Olaf College, where he studied with Timothy Mahr and Justin Merritt. He was awarded a fellowship to study harmony and counterpoint at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, from which he graduated with Honorable Mentions in Harmony and Solfege. He holds a Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied with David Conte. Eric lives in San Francisco with his wife, acclaimed soprano Ellen Leslie
13 August, 2023, 4:00 p.m.: Eric performs continuo with American Bach Soloists Academy Final Concert. Location: SFCM.
2 December, 2023, 7:30 p.m.: Eric directs SFCM Conservatory Chorus featuring Randall Thompson's Frostiana
and works by Conrad Susa.
21 January, 2024, 5:00 p.m.: Eric performs an organ recital at St. Paul's Church, Healdsburg.
July, 2024: Eric performs an organ recital at St-Sulpice, Paris.
9-11 June, 2023: Eric plays organ for Mendelssohn's Elijah
with Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra
. Location: Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley.
4 June, 2023: Eric performs organ works along with violinist Anne Akiko Meyers at Mercury Soul
28 May, 2023: Eric conducts McKay's Suite on 16th-Century Hymn Tunes
with Academy Orchestra.
6 May, 2023: SFCM Conservatory Chorus performs works by Britten, Stravinsky, and Mendelssohn.
30 April, 2023: Eric conducts Barber's Adagio
, McKay's Suite on 16th-Century Hymn Tunes
, and Arvo Pärt's Berliner Messe
with St. Mary's Chamber Orchestra & Schola.
2 April, 2023: Eric performs an organ recital on the E.M. Skinner at Trinity+St. Peter's Church, San Francisco.
17 March, 2023: Eric performs an organ recital of Brahms' complete op. 122 at Cal Lutheran, Thousand Oaks, CA.
12 February, 2023: Caritas Chamber Choir
, directed by Benedict Preece, performs Eric's Keep Watch, Dear Lord
7-8 January, 2023: Eric plays continuo for performances of Mozart's Mass in C-minor
and Schubert's Mass in G
with Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra
. Location: Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley.
17 December, 2022: Eric guest conducts and plays organ on a Christmas concert with Caritas Chamber Choir
, which also featured his carol arrangement of Un Flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle
6 November, 2022: Eric condcuts Mozart's Requiem
with St. Mary's Parish Choir & St. Dominic's Schola Cantorum.
22-23 October, 2022: Caritas Chamber Choir
, directed by Benedict Preece, performs Eric's Beloved, Let Us Love
25 September, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.: Eric performs Bach on St. Mark's Taylor & Boody for the AGO San Francisco Chapter.
24 September, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.: SFCM Conservatory Orchestra performs Mahler's Third Symphony, for which Eric is Chorusmaster.
18 September, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.: The Legacy of Vaughan Williams: a recital by Brian Thorsett, tenor and Kevin Korth, piano, featuring works by Choate, Venables, Conte, Adams, and Stillwell. Location: The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
21 August, 2022: Eric conducts the Göteborgs Symfonikers Vokalensemble
at Ulricehamns Kyrka with works including Bach's Lobet den Herrn
, Ravel's Trois Chansons
, Peterson's Cantate Domino
, and works by Swedish composers.
27-28 July, 2022: Durham University Chamber Choir, directed by Adam Whitmore, performs Eric's Keep Watch, Dear Lord
at Holy Trinity, Guildford, and Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge.
6 June, 2022: The Göteborgs Symfoniska Kör
performs for Swedish National Day.
20 March, 2022, 4:00 p.m.: Eric conducts San Francisco Boys Chorus in an all Fauré concert with guest artist, Joy-Leliani Garbutt, organ.
17-88 December, 2021: Eric conducts Bach's Cantata 147
and Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols
with the San Francisco Boys Chorus
4 December, 2021: Conservatory Chorus concert, freaturing Vivaldi's Gloria
and Vaughan Williams' Frantasia on Christmas Carols
. Location: San Francsico Conservatory of Music.
13 November, 2021: A Call to Remembrance: Eric's Keep Watch, Dear Lord
is featured in this service, in the company of Purcell's Funeral Music of Queen Mary
and Todd Jolly's Funeral Sentences.
Location: St. John's Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, CA.
5 November, 2021: The Choir of Brown University
, under the direction of Fred Jodry, gives the premiere of Eric's setting of This is What You Shall Do
27 October, 2021: Eric performs works by Frank Tours and Eric Choate with Brian Thorsett, tenor and John Irrera, violin. Location: Concert Hall of San Jose State University.
26 October, 2021: Eric performs works by Frank Tours and Eric Choate with Brian Thorsett, tenor and John Irrera, violin. Location: Capistrano Concert Hall, California State University, Sacramento.
24 October, 2021: Eric conducts a concert of works by David Conte and Byron Adams, featuring Ellen Leslie, soprano. Location: The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
10 October, 2021: St. Mary's Parish Choir premieres Eric's Choral Compline
. Location: Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
3 October, 2021: Solo organ recital at Trinity-St. Peter's Church in San Francisco
19 September, 2021: Eric conducts Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings
and Holst's St. Paul's Suite
with St. Mary's Chamber Orchestra. Location: Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
18 September, 2021: Choir of Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento performs Eric's Beloved, Let us Love
for the installation of The Very Rev. Matthew Woodward. Location: Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento
21 March, 2021: VOCES8
sings Eric's Keep Watch, Dear Lord
as part of Singing London
21 February 21, 2020: San Francisco Boys Chorus performs with Apollo5
9 February, 2020: Eric performs organ recital on the Second Sunday Organ Recital Series. Works by Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bach, and Choate. Location: St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Berkeley.
19 January, 2020: Ellen Leslie and Eric Choate perform a recital of art song on the Candlelight Concert Series at St. Mary the Virgin.
20 December, 2019: Eric conducts Britten's A Ceremony of Carols
with the San Francisco Boys Chorus. Location: St. Ignatius Church.
3 & 6 December, 2019: Eric serves as chorusmaster for San Francisco Symphony's performance of It's a Wonderful Life
with live orchestral accompaniment.
24 November, 2019: The Senior Choir of First Congregational Church (Northfield Minnesota) performs Eric's newly commissioned anthem, A Choral Benediction
, to honor Theo Wee's 50 years of music ministry.
16 November, 2019: SFCM Conservatory Chorus performs Fauré's Requiem
10 November, 2019: Eric performs a solo organ recital on the Second Sunday Organ Series at Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco.
30 August, 2019: Brian Thorsett, tenor, Alan weinstein, cello, and Eric Choate, piano, perform an evening of works including Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915,
and Choate's …and fall.
29 April, 2019: Combined forces from San Francisco Symphony, American Bach Soloists, Grace Cathedral's Choir of Men and Boys, Frederica von Stade, and Johann Vexo perform Eric's newly composed Ave Maria
at a Notre-Dame solidarity concert at Grace Cathedral.
17 March, 2019: Eric conducts combined choirs from Calvary Presbyterian Church and SF Conservatory in a performance of David Conte's September Sun
and plays organ for Arvo Pärt's Passio.
23 February, 2019: Emil Miland, 'cello, Ellen Leslie, soprano, and Eric Choate, piano perform on St. Mary's Candlelight Concert Series.
10 November, 2018: Brian Thorsett, tenor and Eric Choate, piano perform a new work by Eric, Schumann's Dichterliebe
and Barber's Knoxville, Summer 1915.
on St. Mary's Candlelight Concert Series.
10 May, 2018: Eric conducts his Three Hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas
along with other works by local composers with Mouthscape.
5 April, 2018: Sopra Duo CD release concert, including Eric's A Dream Within A Dream.
17-18 March, 2018: Eric serves as Assistant Chorus Master for the California Symphony's performance of Mozart's Requiem,
and Pärt's Te Deum.
Donato Cabrera and Ragnar Bohlin, conducting.
25 February, 2018: Brian Thorsett performs on Noe Valley Chamber Music, and premieres a new work by Eric, Those Winter Sundays.
25 February, 2018: Eric conducts works by local composers with Mouthscape at Hot Air Music Festival (San Francisco Conservatory of Music).
25 February, 2018: Winnie Nip and Paul Dab perform selection from Eric's song cycle, Charmes.
1-2 February, 2018: Eric serves as Chorus Master for Berkeley Symphony concert featuring Getty's Joan and the Bells.
24 January, 2018: Mouthscape performs for the Centennial Concert of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Eric conducts works by Conrad Susa and Mari Valverde.
28 October, 2017: St. Mark's Lutheran Church: Eric conducts Bach's Reformation Cantata
with combined choirs of St. Mark's and St. Mary's.
7 October, 2017: Brian Thorsett, tenor performs on the Candlelight Concert Series, featuring Eric's song cycle for tenor, 'cello, and piano, …and fall.
22 July, 2017: Eric conducts offstage SF Symphony Chorus for Holst's The Planets.
16 July, 2017: Eric conducts combined Evensong with St. Mary's Parish Choir and the Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge.
Photo credit: Bill Hocker