BCCO has had only three music directors in 50 years: founder Eugene Jones (1966-1988), Arlene Sagan (1988-2011), and our current music director, Ming Luke (2011-present). Each of our music directors has brought a unique personal perspective and a deep commitment to BCCO’s mission.
Rehearsing the Bolshoi Orchestra - A few years ago, I was invited to rehearse the Bolshoi Orchestra, an amazing opportunity to experience the rich musical heritage of Russia.
On singing Russian music with BCCO at this time in history - Music Director Ming Luke talks about the challenges and importance of singing Russian choral works in our current season.
On Dvorák and the Stabat Mater - Reflections on learning Dvorak's Stabat Mater, and how it relates to other Dvorak symphonic choral works.
Preparing to conduct Britten’s War Requiem - Performances are just a week away; some reflections on conducting Britten’s masterwork.
When BCCO performed Carmina Burana - It was the kind of magical event that can happen in a live performance and it’s the kind of magic that happens in our wonderful chorus.
Our Soloists for Britten’s War Requiem - About our soloists: Carrie Hennessey, Brian Thorsett, and Efraín Solis.
The Power of Music in our Human Experience - As we’ve talked about, Britten’s War Requiem is difficult music, and not just because of the notes, but also the subject.
Welcome to BCCO’s 50th anniversary season! - The BCCO 50th Anniversary season is about to begin!
Collaborating with the San Francisco Girls Chorus - Why a girl's chorus instead of the traditional boy's choir for Britten's Requiem? Here are some thoughts.
My first semester and the origin of “Tenor Power!” - My first semester and the origin of "Tenor Power!"
Arlene Sagan on teaching Tritones - Benjamin Britten's War Requiem is not the first piece that has challenged us with tritones!
The Voice Jury - A tale from my student days.
The Power of a Musical Ensemble - Realizing the power of a musical ensemble during a tour, while at Westminster Choir College, led me to want to explore being a conductor.
Dewey Livingston on Eugene Jones and the doves - Dewey Livingston tells of a magical music moment with Eugene Jones.
Jeff Mertens on Singing with the Trees - BCCO trombone player Jeff Mertens tells of a magical moment with former music director Eugene Jones.
A Long Time Ago in Berkeley - Once upon a time, I sang Messiah with Eugene Jones.
Ming Luke on 50th Anniversary Repertoire - Video recording of Ming talking to chorus at November 30 rehearsal about the 50th anniversary repertoire and how it reflects the history and spirit of BCCO.
Happy Holidays, BCCO! - Some thoughts from Ming to ponder over the holidays, before our first anniversary concerts.
Conducting Symphonic Choral Masterworks: how do you keep track of everything? - One of the chorus members asked me how I keep track of everything when I'm conducting symphonic choral masterworks. Here's the basics!
Is She That Conductor? - Is Arlene Sagan the same conductor who transported me that December of 1981?
Eugene Jones: our first music director - Gene Jones founded the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra in 1966. Gene loved Handel's Messiah, and the group's first concerts were December performances of this oratorio.
1981 Brochure for BCCO - Here is a brochure put out by BCCO in 1981
A Tribute to Gene Jones - Gene Jones: the spirit of BCCO
Ming’s Musings: On New Compositions, Kurt Erickson - Here I discuss my love of working on new compositions, such as the Kurt Erickson piece, “I Think I Shall Praise Him,” commissioned for BCCO’s 50th anniversary.
My philosophy of choral singing - A bit about my philosophy of choral singing, on what it means to sing as a chorus, in community
Finlandia, 50 years ago - Finlandia,by Jean Sibelius, was often performed as an audience sing-along under Arlene Sagan. It also has an unexpected connection to BCCO's anniversary.
Ming’s Musings: Rehearsals - Ming muses on the rehearsal process as he leaves the chorus in the hands of guest conductors during his trip to China with the San Francisco Ballet.
Eugene Jones Honored - On Saturday, October 17, 2015, Eugene Jones was awarded a Heritage Keeper Award by the Friends of Negro Spirituals.
Memories - Singing with BCCO under Eugene Jones remained one of the highlights of my life, a memory with a glow about it that I yearned to get back to.
Welcoming Ming to BCCO - Song lyrics to the tune of If I Were a Bell to welcome Ming to BCCO
Ming’s Musings: rehearsing Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms - At a rehearsal break, Music Director Ming Luke talks about rehearsing Bernstein's Chichester Psalms.
Arlene the Piano Teacher - Arlene, who embodied a Mary Poppins personality but was dressed in sagging pants and an oversized, rumpled shirt, would draw my daughter away to the musical world of Beethoven and Mozart.
BCCO Embodies Music for Everyone - BCCO Music Director Ming Luke reflects on BCCO's commitment to music for everyone.
Verdi’s Requiem as singer and conductor - BCCO Music Director Ming Luke reflects on singing and conducting Verdi's Requiem.
My First Rehearsal with BCCO - Music Director Ming Luke remembers his first rehearsal with BCCO.
Arlene Sagan as Richard Nixon - Arlene stops the choir in the middle of a Bach fugue.
Joseph Liebling - While Joe Liebling has never, with the exception of the year he was guest conductor, held a formal post with BCCO, he has had a profound influence on our music-making for many years.
Ode to Joe - Ode to Joe , with lyrics by Mary Rogier, celebrates the special relationship between Maestro Joe Liebling and the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra.
Aspire to the Stars: the Gifts of Arlene Sagan - Arlene always encouraged us to "aspire to the stars," the inspiration for this video's title.
Arlene’s House - Arlene Sagan is rightly praised for her true musical brilliance, knowledge, and insight. Yet I’ve admired how she shares her sheer delight in music and encourages people who are just now entering the world of sublime musical works which she inhabits full time.