History of the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum
Harvard’s premier mixed choir, the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, was founded in the fall of 1971 to coincide with the coeducational merger of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges.
The repertoire of the Collegium draws on a diverse spectrum of a cappella and orchestral selections, including both sacred and secular works of composers such as Palestrina, Byrd, Dufay, Tallis, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Ravel, Britten, Barber, and more.
In addition to its independent performances, the Collegium regularly collaborates with notable performing groups both within and outside the Harvard community, including the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra and the Handel and Haydn Period Orchestra of Boston.
The group garnered critical acclaim under its first conductor, F. John Adams, and in 1978, direction of the group passed to Jameson Marvin, who led the chorus to even greater heights.
Currently, the Collegium flourishes under the direction of Andrew Clark. In addition to historical masterpieces such as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Handel’s Israel in Egypt, the Collegium has brought the works of modern and contemporary composers, including John Adams, Steven Stucky, Julian Wachner, to performance spaces both in Boston and abroad.
Nine international tours to Europe (1976), the Mediterranean (1981), Canada (1986), Mexico (1991), Great Britain (1995), Italy and Greece (1999), France and the Iberian Peninsula (2003), Australia and New Zealand (2007), and Germany and Austria (2011) and multiple performances at the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association have garnered the ensemble the highest critical acclaim.
The Collegium additionally contains the Collegium Underground, a subset pop-a capella group. Underground is led by student directors and managers, and offers members the chance to sing more contemporary music.