Founded by Suzie Rahl in 1982, the Choir has established itself as a leading force in international choral activities and the commissioning and performance of new music. The Choir's annual concert schedule regularly features over 50 performances, divided among the fifteen various choirs that comprise the organization. The Choir’s flagship performance group, Ensemble, tours internationally and competes in festivals and competitions throughout the world, frequently winning top honors and awards at competitions and music festivals in Europe, Asia, and North America. Recent prestigious awards include a first prize for Contemporary Music and second prize for children’s choir at the 2010 Kathaumixw Choral Festival in British Columbia; the distinction of being the only choir to win three gold medals at Grand Prix St. Petersburg (Russia) Choral Festival in 2008; and two gold medals at the 2006 Hong Kong International Children's Choral Festival, among others.
The Choir has made several recordings featuring new and traditional music, including “Imagine a World of Children Singing” (2004); “Freed From Words,” compositions by Mark Winges sung by Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir and San Francisco Chamber Singers (2002); soundtrack for the film, “American Gun”, Fantasy Studios (2001); and “Voices Over the Ocean,” joint project with Max-Reger Musikschule, Meiningen, Germany (2000), among others. The Choir is currently working on a recording project that will feature works commissioned by PEBCC throughout its thirty year history.
Artistic leadership is provided by founding Artistic Director Robert Geary, a major presence on the local arts scene with an international reputation as a choral conductor, youth choir specialist, and champion of new choral music. Geary oversees a choral instruction team that includes eight conductors and six accompanists, who are experienced educators with impressive artistic credentials, selected for their ability to inspire children.
In addition to ongoing training and performance activities, the Choir’s other major program is The Golden Gate International Choral Festival, a vibrant triennial festival that convenes choirs from around the world. The Festival showcases top American and international children's and youth choirs gathering for an unforgettable week of rehearsals, public performances, friendly competition, and cultural exchange. Since its founding, the event has brought nearly 4,000 young musicians in 70 choirs from 22 countries together performing for more than 50,000 audience members from throughout Northern California. The July 2012 festival took place in Berkeley, CA and represented our largest festival ever, with 640 young musicians in 20 choirs visiting from 12 countries on four continents. Participating choirs perform individually, compete, and sing in a 640-voice combined mega-chorus in the course of a week of public concerts and workshops in venues throughout the Bay Area.