Dale Warland Singers
About Dale Warland Singers
The Dale Warland Singers were among the preeminent small-to-medium-sized choirs in the U.S. during their three decades of existence. The Singers specialized in contemporary music, commissioning and performing a large variety of new choral works.
The Dale Warland Singers were formed in 1974 by Dale Warland, the son of farmers who had established a choir of his own at Minnesota's St. Olaf College. Teaching at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, he was asked in 1972 by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to assemble a 40-voice choir for a program of contemporary music. Warland had already wanted to form a high-quality professional choir, and when the concert succeeded, the new Dale Warland Singers became an ongoing operation. The choir's size remained unchanged over its existence. Warland auditioned singers himself, with back turned, valuing vocal beauty and warmth over adherence to a homogeneous sound ideal. Over the choir's history, 355 singers passed through its ranks. Singers were paid beginning in 1982. The Singers toured widely in the U.S. and occasionally abroad, representing the U.S. in the Second World Symposium on Choral Music in Helsinki in 1990. On the radio, they were heard, among other outlets, on the Minnesota-based program A Prairie Home Companion.
The Singers were especially noted for their commitment to contemporary music. Warland managed an extensive commissioning program, which drew new works -- 270 in all -- from some 150 composers, including Aaron Jay Kernis, Libby Larsen, and Dominick Argento. The Singers did much to promote a new school of American choral music that emphasized sensuous beauty but not Romantic nostalgia. Composers-in-residence included Eric Whitacre, Stephen Paulus, and Carol Barnett.
The Singers made more than 20 albums on a variety of labels including, Gothic and American Choral Catalog; these included several Christmas albums and a release for children. Their 2003 release, Walden Pond, earned a Grammy Award nomination. The choir's last release was Lux Aurumque, including the Whitacre motet by that title. In 2004, the Dale Warland Singers disbanded upon their director's retirement; the choir had no endowment and was never on a solid financial footing, and its board of directors decided not to continue operations. In 2018, Gothic released Seasons, the first volume in its "Dale Warland Singers Live Series." The second volume, Hodie!, was released in 2019. ~ James Manheim
HOMETOWNFort Dodge, IA
BORNApril 14, 1932