The Smith College Chamber Singers
The Smith College Chamber Singers were founded in 1947 by the legendary music director, Iva Dee Hyatt. Smith’s premier choir, the Chamber Singers are open to Smithies of all grade levels who are also involved in the Glee Club or Chorus. Their repertoire consists not only of works from Renaissance, baroque and classical music but also folk songs, arrangements of popular music, and works by American composers.
Since their inception, the Chamber Singers have won praise and support both at home and abroad. In 1951, they were the first group from a women’s college to tour Europe. They were also the first women ever allowed to perform in Canterbury Cathedral and St. Paul’s Cathedral in England and Chartres Cathedral in France. In 1952, they gave a private concert for Pope Pius XII. Two years later, the Chamber Singers were the first college group to perform in such cities as Athens and Istanbul and also in the former country of Yugoslavia at a U.S. State Department reception for Marshal Tito. The Chamber Singers marked their place in choral music history in 1958 by becoming the first American choral group to capture first prize in competition at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales against 22 choirs from both sides of the Iron Curtain. More recently, in 2006, the Chamber Singers also had the honor of being invited to perform at the first annual conference of the National Collegiate Choral Organization in San Antonio, Texas, as well as domestic tours to Hawaii and Seattle, and international tours to England, French Canada, Geneva, Italy, and Spain.
Jonathan Hirsh, Director
Director Jonathan Hirsh graduated from Amherst College in 1986 and received his MM and DMA in Conducting from the University of Michigan. He has taught at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., at Amherst College, the University of Michigan, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and at Tufts University.
As Senior Lecturer and Director of Choral and Orchestral Activities at Smith College, Hirsh conducts the Orchestra, Glee Club and Chamber Singers. A frequent guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, Jonathan Hirsh’s repertoire and activities include choral works, oratorio, opera and symphonic works. Under Hirsh’s baton, the Smith Orchestra made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2005 performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Smith choral ensembles and the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club.