Founded in 1980 by Artistic Director Richard Grant, the Pacific Mozart Ensemble (PME) delivers passionate, expert and engaging choral performances of music from Brahms to Brubeck to the Beach Boys. During its time, PME has grown to fill an important role in the cultural life of the San Francisco Bay Area, presenting courageous and innovative programs of many works that have never been performed in concert settings. In 2005, the group’s 25th anniversary season, PME named Dr. Lynne Morrow, one of the Bay Area’s leading musical figures, as the group’s Music Director.
PME is perhaps best known for its collaborations with contemporary composers and artists, including John Adams, Dave Brubeck, David Lang, Meredith Monk, The American Bach Soloists, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, The Oakland East Bay Symphony, and many others. PME was nominated for a “Best Choral Performance” Grammy® Award in 2006 for the Harmonia Mundi recording of Bernstein’s Mass with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester under the direction of Kent Nagano.
PME made its Carnegie Hall debut in November 2005, representing choral music for Meredith Monk’s 40th Anniversary Celebration; selections of those performances were broadcast on WNYC radio. In 2006, members of PME appeared in local concerts by “indie” rocker Sufjan Stevens and avant garde composer and musician John Zorn.
PME was a featured performer at the 2007 Green Center Festival at Sonoma State University, presenting its multimedia concert program “A Story of Freedom: An Evening of Spirituals.” In 2008, PME made guest appearances with Sweet Honey in the Rock, and with the Napa Valley Symphony. PME received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to record the choral music of Dave Brubeck. The ensemble has made three European tours and numerous recordings.
PME annually presents a season of three concert programs in various locations around the Bay Area; these concerts often include collaborations with other music institutions. The 2011-12 season includes a second recording with Dave Brubeck entitled American Poets, available in Spring 2012; a collaboration with Persian-American composer Omid Zoufonoun featuring instrumentalists from the Shams Ensemble; and its highly popular A Cappella Jazz & Pop concert, which showcases members of the choir in small and large groups performing sophisticated, original arrangements of a wide variety of musical styles.
PME's Board members (2012-2013 fiscal year) are: Steven Bicknese, President; Larry Moore, Vice-President; Antonia Van Becker, Lindy Miller-Castro, Dale Engle, Members at Large.