Founded in May 1955, The Masterwork Chorus (= MWC) is a not-for-profit Morris County, New Jersey based organization. In October 1955 (two months after the first rehearsal), The Masterwork Chorus' first performance was L.v. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at Newark's Symphony Hall. The chorus' second concert was in January 1956, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mozart's birth, with a program which consisted of Mozart's Requiem and excerpts from The Magic Flute. David Randolph served as The Masterwork Chorus' first Music Director and Conductor until his retirement in 1992.
In December 1957, the chorus gave its first performance of Händel's Messiah in Morristown, New Jersey. Three years later, the chorus performed at Carnegie Hall for the first time, presenting J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), and the following year gave its first Messiah concert at Carnegie Hall. Since then, The Masterwork Chorus has performed Messiah several times each December at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, State Theater in New Brunswick and in churches, schools and theaters throughout the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas. The Masterwork Chorus, under the direction of David Randolph, was acknowledged in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most complete performances of Händel's Messiah.
The chorus has an extensive and varied repertoire. In addition to Messiah, The Masterwork Chorus has performed works by J.S. Bach, L.v. Beethoven, Leonard Bernstein, Johannes Brahms, Fauré, George Frideric Handel, Felix Mendelssohn, Mozart, Francis Poulenc, Thompson, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Verdi, Antonio Vivaldi, and others. In 1976, The Masterwork Chorus represented the State of New Jersey in a concert of works by New Jersey composers in the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. In recent years, the chorus has performed J. Brahms' Requiem, Verdi's Requiem, Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243); and Passion According to St. John (BWV 245), and Fauré's Requiem. Masterwork's repertoire extends beyond traditional classical works. For its Fortieth Anniversary Concert, The Masterwork Chorus performed great Opera Choruses and L.v. Beethoven's Ode to Joy with Opera Music Theatre International (OMTI) and the extraordinary Jerome Hines. Other performances include a concert presentation of Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance and a co-production with a contemporary gospel choir.
Following David Randolph's retirement in December 1992, David Briskin was appointed the chorus' Music Director. Following David Briskin's resignation effective December 31, 1999, Andrew Megill was appointed Music Director and Conductor effective January 1, 2000. Since joining Masterwork, Andrew Megill has taken the chorus to a new level. During Masterwork's Fiftieth Anniversary season (2004/2005), the chorus took on the challenge of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor (BWV 232). Megill has helped the chorus explore some newer compositions as well which have brought them critical acclaim. For example, in the Spring, 2006 the chorus performed works by Stephen Paulus and a little known, but richly complex piece by Paul Hindemith. The Masterwork Chorus was particularly honored to have Paulus join them for a rehearsal session of his work and shared his insight into the piece.
The singers in The Masterwork Chorus share the love of classical music, the desire to give high quality performances and the satisfaction that comes from learning and singing great choral masterpieces.