The Princeton High School Choir (= PHSC) has an unusually rich tradition of choral excellence that is unique among American high schools. The choir has performed extensively in North America and Europe, touring as representatives of Princeton, New Jersey, one of America’s most distinguished communities. One of five performing ensembles, the 84 members of the choir are selected after careful audition of nearly two hundred voices in the high school’s choral program.
The PHSC toured most recently to Barcelona and Catalonia (2011), Sweden (2007), Prague and Dresden (2005), Budapest and Vienna (2003), Russia and Germany (2001), performing in St. Petersburg, Novgorod, and Berlin, including a performance of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) in Berlin’s Schauspielhaus. In 1999, the choir toured the Bach cities of Eisenach, Weimar, and the Thomaskirche, Leipzig, where they sang for the Sunday morning mass. The choir was invited to perform for the 850th anniversary of the city of Moscow in 1997, and additional performances on this trip were in St. Petersburg and Yaroslavl. The choir toured England and France in 1995, performing at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Église de la St. Trinité in Paris, Chartres Cathedral, and in Princeton’s sister city of Colmar, France. Prior tours took the choir to Italy (1992), France (1989 and 1992), and Vienna (1973 and 1984).
The PHSC has collaborated with many notable composers and conductors. In 1963, Gian Carlo Menotti invited the choir to perform at his Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy. Menotti chose the choir again in 1978 to premiere his opera The Egg at the Spoleto Festival, USA in Charleston. Maurice Duruflé conducted the choir in a performance of his Requiem in 1971, and Zoltán Kodály conducted the choir in 1963 for the International Association of Choral Directors in Budapest. Other collaborations have included Vincent Persichetti, singing his Mass for Mixed Voices; Peter Maxwell Davies, premiering his Veni Sancte Spiritus; Roger Sessions, premiering his Mass; and Frank Lewin, premiering and recording his Mass for the Dead in memory of Robert F. Kennedy. Other performances have included ACDA Regional and National Conventions, the White House, and the Washington National Cathedral.
The PHSC has received numerous awards and honors, including first prize at the 1994 Festival of Gold in Washington, D.C., second prize at the 1984 International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna, and the “Best in Class” designation at the 1981 convention of the American Choral Directors’ Association in New Orleans.