Now in its nineteenth season, the 325-member San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) has helped to establish girls’ choral music as an art form in the United States. Chorissima and Virtuose, the organization’s concert and touring ensembles, have represented the city of San Francisco and the United States on seven international tours, and perform throughout California as members of the California Arts Council’s Touring Program. Praised for its “stunning musical standard” (San Francisco Chronicle), the SFGC commissions music by American composers and has introduced American audiences to many outstanding Eastern European composers. The Chorus has researched and revived masterworks written for girls’ voices by prominent Italian composers of the 18th century.

The Chorus has performed and recorded with San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Kronos Quartet, Women’s Philharmonic, and other Bay Area ensembles. SFGC has been San Francisco Opera’s resource for trained girl singers for solo and ensemble roles since 1978. Solo recordings by the Girls Chorus include the recent releases A San Francisco Christmas and I Never Saw Another Butterfly, and annual performance highlight tapes. The Chorus also performed on San Francisco Symphony’s 1993 Grammy Award-winning recording of Carmina Burana. SFGC has been featured on Chorus America’s nationally syndicated radio program “The First Art” since 1995. An SFGC series of choral works is published by Alliance Music Publications.

The Girls Chorus’ Music Education Program has been called “a model in the country for training girls’ voices” (California Arts Council). A faculty of 24 teaches singing, music theory, and performance skills to 325 young musicians from 160 schools in 47 Bay Area cities. SFGC’s Chorus School, a four-level music training and performance program for apprentice singers ages seven through sixteen, has choruses based in San Francisco and in Oakland. Auditions for the Chorus School program are held three times per year. Need-based scholarships provide tuition and fee assistance to 27% of SFGC’s students.

SFGC’s auxiliary programs include the Opera Arts Training Program, a summer workshop for gifted singers ages 12-17; Conducting and Music Theory Apprenticeships; and the Alumnae Chorus, conducted by an SFGC alumna, with singers drawn from the 200-member Alumnae Association.
The San Francisco Girls Chorus is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. For booking or audition information, or to receive a performance schedule, call 415/673-1511. SFGC is represented by California Artists Management for regional touring.


Sharon J. Paul
is Artistic Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and conductor of Chorissima and Virtuose, the organization’s concert and touring ensembles. Under Dr. Paul’s leadership during the past five years, the San Francisco Girls Chorus has premiered major works by American composers, and has represented the United States at the 1994 World Conference of the International Society for Music Education, the 1996 Spoleto Festival in Italy, and 1997 Taipei-San Francisco Sister City Celebration in Taiwan. Prior to her appointment as Artistic Director, Dr. Paul was Director of Choral Activities at California State University, Chico, where she was honored with Outstanding Teacher and Professional Promise awards. She has been a consultant to Singapore’s Ministry of Education in the area of choral music education, and has served on the Music Grants and Policy Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts.


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Last update on September 2001.

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