The work of composer Eric Choate has 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 Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge
, Brian Thorsett
, Emil Miland
, Friction Quartet
, Areon Flutes
, One Found Sound
, and numerous sacred choral ensembles. Eric's music is published by E.C. Schirmer
and Augsburg Fortress
Eric is in demand as a choral and orchestral conductor, having served in a guest Chorus Master capacity for the San Francisco Symphony (Beethoven's Symphony no. 9
and Holst's The Planets
) and the Berkeley Symphony (Getty's Joan and the Bells
and Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine
). He is Assistant Director of the Conservatory Chorus at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, which recently involved a collaboration with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra for performances of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex
and Symphony of Psalms.
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 such works as Dvorak's Stabat Mater,
Bach's Passion according to St. John,
and Britten's War Requiem.
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 a recitalist and often works collaboratively with other artists for performances and auditions, provides vocal coaching, and prepares weekly musical offerings in liturgical contexts. 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.
August 30, 7 o'clock: Brian Thorsett, tenor, and Eric Choate, piano, perform an evening of works including David Conte's Elegy for Matthew,
Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915,
and Choate's …and fall.
Location: Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA.
November 10, 4 o'clock: Eric performs a solo organ recital on the Second Sunday Organ Series at Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco. Repertoire TBD.
May 31, 2019: Ellen Leslie and Eric Choate perform an evening recital of French, English, and American Art Songs in an intimate salon setting. Contact Eric for details.
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 performed Eric''s newly composed Ave Maria
at a Notre-Dame solidarity concert at Grace Cathedral.
March 17, 2019: Eric conducted combined choirs from Calvary Presbyterian Church and SF Conservatory in a performance of David Conte's September Sun
and played organ for Arvo Pärt's Passio.
Feb. 23, 2019: Emil Miland, 'cello, Ellen Leslie, soprano, and Eric Choate, piano performed on St. Mary's Candlelight Concert Series.
Jan. 14, 2019: Ellen Leslie, soprano, and Eric Choate, piano, performed works by Severac and Choate on Boris Goldmund's The Monthly Salon.
Dec. 9, 2018: Eric Choate and Ragnar Bohlin conducted San Francisco Conservatory Chorus featuring music of the German Romantics.
Nov. 10, 2018: Brian Thorsett, tenor and Eric Choate, piano performed 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 Conducte 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 was 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 performed selection from Eric's song cycle, Charmes.
Feb. 1 and 2, 2018: Eric served 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: The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin: 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