The Renaissance Chorus
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The Renaissance Chorus

The Renaissance Chorus grew out of the confluence of a group of very gifted high school students and their maverick music teacher with the unceremonious termination of his job. In 1953, Harold Brown, a teacher at the High School of Music and Art, recruited a group of talented students to sing Renaissance music as an extra-curricular activity. Under his tutelage, singing Renaissance music and having fun in one another�s company was enough to keep these spirited teenagers coming to practice.

When the group eventually performed for the public at Carnegie Hall in defiance of an injunction from the school Principal, Harold Brown was fired from his position, thus bringing an abrupt end to the after school activity. Undaunted, the students followed their teacher to other practice venues and the singing continued. And so began the Renaissance Chorus of New York.

As the chorus moved out of the school setting, singers from all walks of life showed up at rehearsals, willing to enter the unfamiliar world of Renaissance music. Saturday morning rehearsals became a refuge from the vagaries of ordinary day-to-day living, a special time drawing us into the otherworldliness of sacred music. We grew accustomed to the liturgy of the Latin Mass. Over time, as our love for the music deepened, we honed our a cappella choral skills, lost our vibratos, perfected our pitches, practiced and practiced and practiced some more. After rehearsals, we carried on singing together in Washington Square, and in winter, over hot apple pie at Mother Hubbard's. As our skills and repertoire grew, we began to perform - in churches and concert halls. We cut records. We were passionate about sharing our kind of music with any and everybody. In the late seventies, with the failing health of Harold Brown, chorus membership fell off and we each went our separate ways. If no longer part of our Saturday mornings, Renaissance music continues to this day as some part of our individual lives, and many of us continue to sing in choral groups.

In 2005 we revived, with musicales and other events, to re-gather and expand our singer base. Under Lucy Cross, John-Mark Rozendaal, Alan Aurelia and Claude Lévy, and Uptown Groups under Marty Morell and Chris Whittaker, we scheduled, as "RenChorNY," popular concerts as well as collaborations, starting in 2009, with Juilliard and chamber groups (Tessera), continuing to work toward the preservation of the Harold Brown compositional legacy.

For details, pictures and more about the above activities, click on "Events" above.

Auditions may be arranged for those new to the area, or not currently active.

We are open to suggested repertoire and artist collaboration, and have received offers to present polyphony as part of Church Services. To suggest collaboration, or for more information, contact President Sigmund Rosen at or 212-740-4050.


What do you remember about the Renaissance Chorus? Were you an early member? Maybe you joined later, when Joel, or Steve, or Jennifer was leading it. Send us your story! See "Contact Us" on the Home page.

Click on a name:
Raymond H. Rosenstock: "Perhaps writing down some memories I have of Harold Brown will help clarify..."
Carol Ochs: "The first piece I sight sang at Renaissance Chorus was..."
Marc Estrin: "Here's a picture of me (as an achondroplastic, female dwarf) getting hooked..."
Laurie Sucher: "Here�s my take on it: Harold Brown is..."
Ruth Horowitz: "Harold was my mother�s younger brother..."
Marc Estrin: "Yes, there was Harold. But..."
Sig Rosen: "When auditioning in 1964..."
Ruth Horowitz: "I was auditioned by..."
Philip Corner: "I was a participant in the chorus from its formation..."
Sig Rosen: "My Memories. Since that amazing audition..."
Louis Lantz: "'You�ll like it here. There�s no...'"
Jon Konheim: "I joined the chorus in my freshman year..."
Dorothy Kohn Schwartzberg: "I joined the chorus when I was 14 or 15..."
Ellen Skorneck Isler: "The one memory very clear to me..."
Tsiporah (Judy Murray) Gottlieb: "I was in the Concert that was televised in 1966..."
Eliane Reinhold: "I met Harold when I was 16 ... and helped him found The Renaissance Chorus..."
Paul Erlich: "I knew Harold when I was living in Philadelphia..."
Yasoma Challenor: "The Music and Art High School Senior Orchestra room was a noisy place..."
Karen Christenfeld: "I have very happy memories..."
Jane Cohen: "While at Harvard Summer School in 1961 I met Virginia..."
Bob Mitchell: "I also continued my violin studies...with Mr. Harold Brown..."
Sylvia Reubens Hollister: "I was in the chorus from around 1958... "

And Much More! Click on these links: