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 "music to grab the listener's attention through novelty and hold it through technical discipline" (Examiner.com). He has several awards to his name, including First Prize in the SFCM Art Song Composition Competition for his setting of My Papa's Waltz
, First Prize in the Vancouver Chamber Choir Composition Competition for his anthem Now Cheer Our Hearts
, and runner-up for the James Highsmith award for his orchestral work Sonora.
Recently he composed an Ave Maria
for a Notre-Dame solidarity concert, and conducted the performance with musicians from the San Francisco Symphony
, American Bach Soloists
, The Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys
, Frederica von Stade
, and Johann Vexo
. He is frequently commissioned by recitalists, chamber ensembles, and choirs, and his music has been performed by renowned artists including the Vancouver Chamber Choir
, The Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge
, Brian Thorsett
, Emil Miland
, John Churchwell, Friction Quartet
, Areon Flutes
, One Found Sound
, and numerous others. Eric's music is published by E.C. Schirmer
and Augsburg Fortress
Eric is in demand as a choral and orchestral conductor, having frequently prepared choruses for the San Francisco Symphony and the Berkeley Symphony. In 2019, Eric was appointed 10th Artistic Director of the GRAMMY Award-winning San Francisco Boys Chorus
. He is Assistant Director of the Conservatory Chorus at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music
, who recently performed Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex
and Symphony of Psalms
with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra of London. For three years, Eric was Assistant Conductor of the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra; highlights of this engagement included conducting a performance of Verdi's Requiem
in Ypres, Belgium with the Oost-Vlaams Symfonisch Orkest, as well as conducting Bach's Passion According to St. John,
Britten's War Requiem,
Dvorak's Stabat Mater,
Bernstein's Chichester Psalms,
and others. Eric is a sought after choral clinician and currently serves as Director of Music at The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
in San Francisco.
Eric is an organ recitalist and has performed on the Bay Area's most celebrated instruments. In the spring of 2021, he will assume the post as Organ Professor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Having served as an officer of the San Francisco American Guild of Organists Chapter, he remains an active member of both the AGO and the Association of Anglican Musicians (AAM). He has been a visiting artist at major universities and recently concluded a residency at Virginia Tech University where he offered a recital and vocal masterclass. Graduating with Departmental Distinction, Eric earned his Bachelor of Arts in 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 this, he graduated with Honorable Mentions in Harmony and Solfège. He then went on to earn a Master of Music with David Conte at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
For commissions, booking, or other inquiries, please contact Eric at ericchoatemusic [at] gmail.com.
October 4th: Eric performs a solo organ recital on the E.M. Skinner at Trinity-St. Peter's Church in San Francisco. Repertoire TBD.
February 21st, 2020: San Francisco Boys Chorus performed alongside Apollo5
February 9th, 2020: Eric performs a solo recital on the Second Sunday Organ Recital Series. Works by Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bach, and Choate. Location: St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Berkeley.
January 19th, 2020: Ellen Leslie and Eric Choate perform a recital of art song on the Candlelight Concert Series at St. Mary the Virgin.
December 20th, 2019: Eric conducts San Francisco Boys Chorus's annual Christmas concert. Location: St. Ignatius Church.
November 24, 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.
November 16, 2019: SFCM Conservatory Chorus performs Fauré's Requiem
November 10, 2019: Eric performs a solo organ recital on the Second Sunday Organ Series at Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco.
November 2, 2019: Eric conducts Duruflé's Requiem
with St. Mary's Parish Choir and Jonathan Dimmock, organist.
August 30, 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.
May 31, 2019: Ellen Leslie and Eric Choate perform an evening recital of French, English, and American Art Songs in a salon hosted by Davidson Bidwell-Waite and Edwin Waite.
May 12, 2019: Eric performs as organist for Vierne's Messe Solennelle with the Choir of Calvary Presbyterian Church, Michael Conley, director.
May 4, 2019: Jane Spencer Mills and Ian Scarfe perform art songs by Eric at Holy Innocent's Episcopal Church.
April 29, 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.
March 17, 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.
Feb. 23, 2019: Emil Miland, 'cello, Ellen Leslie, soprano, and Eric Choate, piano perform on St. Mary's Candlelight Concert Series.
Jan. 14, 2019: Ellen Leslie, soprano, and Eric Choate, piano, perform works by Severac and Choate on Boris Goldmund's The Monthly Salon.
Dec. 9, 2018: Eric Choate and Ragnar Bohlin conduct San Francisco Conservatory Chorus featuring music of the German Romantics.
Nov. 10, 2018: Brian Thorsett, tenor and Eric Choate, piano perform a new work by Eric, as well as Schumann's Dichterliebe
and Barber's Knoxville, Summer 1915.
on St. Mary's Candlelight Concert Series.
Nov. 1, 2018: Eric conducts Fauré's Messe de Requiem
on the Eve of All Souls' with St. Mary's Parish Choir and Jonathan Dimmock, organ.
Oct. 28, 2018: Michael Hendron, harmonium and Eric Choate, piano. Location: Grace Cathedral
May 10, 2018: Eric conducts his Three Hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas
along with other works by local composers with Mouthscape.
April 5, 2018: Sopra Duo CD release concert, including Eric's A Dream Within A Dream.
March 17 and 18, 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.
Feb. 25, 2018: Brian Thorsett performs on Noe Valley Chamber Music, and premieres a new work by Eric, Those Winter Sundays.
Feb. 25, 2018: Eric conducts works by local composers with Mouthscape at Hot Air Music Festival (San Francisco Conservatory of Music).
Feb. 10, 2018: Winnie Nip and Paul Dab perform selection from Eric's song cycle, Charmes.
Feb. 1 and 2, 2018: Eric serves as Chorus Master for Berkeley Symphony concert featuring Getty's Joan and the Bells.
Jan. 24, 2018: Mouthscape performs for the Centennial Concert of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Eric conducts works by Conrad Susa and Mari Valverde.
Nov. 2, 2017: Eric conducts Duruflé's Requiem
with the combined Parish Choir of St. Mary's and Lacuna Arts Chorale; Jonathan Dimmock, organist.
Oct. 28, 2017: St. Mark's Lutheran Church: Eric conducts Bach's Reformation Cantata
with combined choirs of St. Mark's and St. Mary's.
Oct. 7, 2017: Brian Thorsett, tenor performs on the Candlelight Concert Series, featuring Eric's song cycle for tenor, 'cello, and piano, …and fall.
July 22, 2017: Eric conducts offstage SF Symphony Chorus for Holst's The Planets.
July 16, 2017: Eric conducts combined Evensong with St. Mary's Parish Choir and the Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge.
Photo credit: Bill Hocker