About this Artist
As one of the nation’s premiere collegiate choral ensembles, California State University, Fullerton’s University Singers have epitomized excellence for more than 50 years. Under the baton of Dr. Robert Istad, the University Singers are internationally acclaimed for their exquisite musicianship and have performed with renowned orchestras in prestigious venues at home and abroad, touring more than a dozen countries since 2007. Continuing to build upon this remarkable legacy, Istad and the University Singers regularly collaborate with professional orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pacific Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. They have earned praise for their professionalism and expressive musicality from conductors Carl St.Clair, John Mauceri, John Williams, Eugene Kohn, Sir Neville Marriner, James Conlon, and Keith Lockhart, among others.
Whether performing under the batons of John Williams or Gustavo Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl, backing the vocals of Andrea Bocelli, or featured at Carnegie Hall, Chartres Cathedral, or Cal State Fullerton’s own Meng Concert Hall, the University Singers never fail to deliver the unmistakable sound synonymous with their reputation. In 2017, they recorded an album with Sony Classical under the baton of John Williams in a recording of music he composed for Steven Spielberg. Also in 2017, Istad and the University Singers released a commercial recording with Yarlung Records entitled “Nostos: The Homecoming of Music”– eleven vocal works sung and recorded in one take, without sheet music or editing. Not content to merely excel in the classical realm, the University Singers have also performed with Juanes, M83, Beck, Beach House, and Sean Lennon and can be seen in the PBS production “The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses.”
GRAMMY® award winning conductor ROBERT ISTAD, who “fashions fluent and sumptuous readings” (Voice of OC) with his “phenomenal” artistry (Los Angeles Times), is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Fullerton. He conducts the University Singers and manages a large graduate conducting program, in addition to teaching courses on conducting and performance practice. Istad was appointed Pacific Chorale’s Artistic Director in 2017. Under his leadership, the chorus continues to expand its reputation for excellence for delivering fresh, thought-provoking interpretations of beloved masterworks, rarely performed gems and newly commissioned pieces. His artistic impact can be heard on two recent recordings featuring Pacific Chorale: the Grammy Award-winning “Mahler’s
Eighth Symphony” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel on Deutsche Grammophon (2021), for which he prepared the chorus, and “All Things Common: The Music of Tarik O’Regan,” which he conducted, on Yarlung Records (2020). Istad has also prepared choruses for such renowned conductors as Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Williams, John Mauceri, Keith Lockhart, Nicholas McGegan, Vasilly Sinaisky, Sir Andrew Davis, Bramwell Tovey, Carl St.Clair, Eugene Kohn, Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop, George Fenton, and Robert Moody. He regularly conducts and collaborates with Pacific Symphony, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, Sony Classical Records, Yarlung Records, Berkshire Choral International, and Long Beach Symphony Orchestra. An esteemed educator, Istad was recognized as CSUF’s 2016 Outstanding Professor of the Year. Istad, who is on the Executive Board of Directors of Chorus America and serves as Dean of Chorus America’s Conducting Academy, is in demand as guest conductor, lecturer, and clinician.