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A new professional chamber choir will debut this month

Ragnar Bohlin, founder and Artistic Director of Cappella SF
Ragnar Bohlin, founder and Artistic Director of Cappella SF
courtesy of Cappella SF

Ragnar Bohlin, Director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season, has now founded a professional chamber choir of 24 singers. Bohlin has long had an interest in a cappella music; and this new ensemble, called Cappella SF, will provide him with an opportunity for the ongoing investigation of a repertoire he has described as “transformative and magical.” To this one should also add the observation that the repertoire continues to grow at a healthy pace, allowing the debut concert of Cappella SF to include a world premiere, “A Spiritual for peace” by the Swedish composer Fredrik Sixten. Other contemporary composers to be included on the program will be Eric Whitacre (“Leonardo dreams of his flying machine”), David Conte (“O Sun”), Anders Hilborg (“Mouyayuom”), and Mason Bates, whose 2008 “Book of Matthew” was premiered by Chanticleer.

The program will begin with one of the earliest secular part-songs of the Renaissance, “Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen,” by the Dutch composer Heinrich Isaac. This will be sung in Isaac’s original setting, followed by variations by Michael Praetorius and Johann Sebastian Bach, who appropriated it for his BWV 97 cantata, In allen meinen Taten (in all my deeds). The nineteenth century will be represented by "Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen?“ (why is light given to the weary), the first of Johannes Brahms’ two Opus 74 motets, which features a six-voice fugue on a text from the book of Job.

Cappella SF will make its debut on Saturday, February 22, at 7:30 p.m. The venue will be St. Mary’s Cathedral at 1111 Gough Street, just below the intersection with Geary Boulevard. All tickets will be $35. They may be purchased online through a Web page managed by Eventbrite. A festive reception will follow the performance.