Brooklyn Youth Chorus — WQXR’s 2016–17 artists-in-residence, now celebrating its 25th anniversary — is a collective of young singers and vocal ensembles re-envisioning choral music performance through artistic innovation, collaboration, and distinctively beautiful sound. With an incredibly versatile range and repertoire, Brooklyn Youth Chorus combines intensive voice training and music study with exceptional performance experiences. The chorus has appeared with acclaimed orchestras and conductors, including the New York Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and under the batons of Alan Gilbert, Gustavo Dudamel, James Levine, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Additionally, the chorus has performed with major recording artists such as Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Grizzly Bear, and John Legend. The chorus received a 2005 Grammy Award for the recording of John Adams’s On the Transmigration of Souls with the New York Philharmonic.
Silent Voices, Brooklyn Youth Chorus’s 25th anniversary project that premieres at BAM for the winter–spring season in May 2017, harnesses the power of young people to be instruments of change, giving voice to those silenced or marginalized by social, cultural, or religious circumstances. The chorus has appeared at important contemporary music festivals including the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, Ecstatic Music Festival, MusicNOW, 21c Liederabend, and the Prototype Festival. It has also toured throughout the United States and Europe, including on recent trips to Arizona, Chicago, Minneapolis, Amsterdam, London, and Washington, D.C.
Founded in 1992 by artistic director Dianne Berkun Menaker, Brooklyn Youth Chorus’s program encompasses more than 650 students in its core after-school and public school outreach programs. Classes take place at their Cobble Hill headquarters and neighborhood locations in Bedford-Stuyvesant, East Flatbush, Red Hook, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Dianne Berkun Menaker is the founder and artistic director of Brooklyn Youth Chorus, which, under her leadership, has become one of the most highly regarded ensembles in the country and has stretched the artistic boundaries for the youth chorus. Ms. Berkun Menaker has prepared choruses for performances with acclaimed conductors including Alan Gilbert, Marin Alsop, James Levine, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, and Gustavo Dudamel. Most notably, she prepared the chorus for its 2002 New York Philharmonic debut in John Adams’s On the Transmigration of Souls, for the recording of which the chorus won a Grammy Award in 2005. Ms. Berkun Menaker is the creator of the chorus’s Cross-Choral Training program, a holistic and experiential approach to developing singers in a group setting encompassing both voice and musicianship pedagogy.
Learn more about Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Dianne Berkun Menaker, director