Arts, Culture, and Humanities

MasterVoices Inc. (Formerly The Collegiate Chorale)

The Art of Musical Storytelling

aka MasterVoices Inc.   |   New York, NY   |


Master Voices is a New York City-based performing arts organization that celebrates singing and the art of musical storytelling. We produce programs in many genres and formats — collaborating with leading vocalists, conductors and theater artists to produce stirring musical experiences that delight, educate and inspire.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Jennifer Collins

Artistic Director

Mr. Ted Sperling

Main address

1441Broadway Suite 3024

New York, NY 10018 USA

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Formerly known as

Collegiate Chorale Inc.



Cause area (NTEE code) info

Singing Choral (A6B)

Performing Arts (A60)

Opera (A6A)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

MasterVoices envisions a world where all lives are touched by the choral experience -- whether through listening or participation. Why Choral Singing? -- it bridges social divides and poses fewer barriers to participation than other art forms. -- it lets people contribute to an artistic product greater than themselves, take part in the transcendent act of creation, and make a joyful noise! -- it embodies the camaraderie, and the spirit of volunteerism, at the root of civic engagement.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

MasterVoices Core Programming

The primary facet of MasterVoices’ work is a concert season of three to four productions each year, most often at prestigious New York venues such as Carnegie Hall, City Center, and Lincoln Center, but increasingly using less-traditional concert spaces such as Rockefeller Park and The Great Hall at Cooper Union. In recent years our concert aesthetic has become increasingly theatrical and collaborative, occupying the space between full productions and presentational concerts in order to create a new style of concert theater that involves set design, costumes, choreography, and character development. With each concert, we seek new ways to engage audiences through the art of musical storytelling. The second facet of our work is the pursuit of a more inclusive and diverse choral repertory that centers historically marginalized communities. In 2015 we launched BRIDGES, is a two-year community oratorio project for which we commission a female or ALAANA composer to be “in residence” with a specific New York community over the course of a year, ultimately creating a piece that involves local groups and speaks to issues that are of pressing social concern to them. The inaugural project, NAAMAH’S ARK, was created by composer Marisa Michelson with residents of Lawrence, Long Island – an ethnically and socio-economically diverse community that had suffered and pulled together during Hurricane Sandy. The piece, based on the story of Noah’s Ark as told by his wife, was ultimately performed in Lawrence and again at NYC’s historic Ansche Chesed Synagogue. As a testament to its impact, we have been asked to adapt the piece with local communities in Lower Manhattan this summer – another area severely affected by Sandy. That performance will take place outdoors as part of LMCC’s River to River Festival in June 2018. The third facet of our work is to nurture the next generation of singers. Our flagship education program, SIDE-BY-SIDE, now in its fourteenth year, offers high school students from the greater metropolitan area the opportunity to sing “side by side” with our experienced chorus members. The program provides mentoring, musical training, master classes, and unprecedented concert performance opportunities at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and New York City Center, among others. Students attend regular rehearsals, paired with an adult mentor in the chorus who guides them in performance practice, musicianship, and rehearsal and performance etiquette; they are also given a dozen free “friends and family” tickets for each performance. Over 100 program alumni are now pursuing undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees in a music-related field, and an average of 20 continue to sing with the chorus on a regular basis.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

OPERA America

Chorus America

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

MasterVoices, Inc. (“Organization”) is a producing and performing organization, whose highly theatrical concerts of classical, opera, and musical theater works celebrate the joy of choral singing, the art of musical storytelling, and the power of the human voice. Its historic volunteer Chorus, founded in 1941 by legendary choral conductor Robert Shaw (and then known as The Collegiate Chorale), has 125+ members from all walks of life who range in age from 16 to 80. The Chorus performs alongside world-class soloists in venues ranging from prestigious concert halls to local auditoriums, manifesting its mission to make music that is of the highest quality and accessible to all.

Under the Artistic Direction of Tony Award-winner Ted Sperling since 2015, annual programs reach nearly include: • CONCERTS: A season of professionally presented concerts, featuring the Chorus alongside A-list orchestras, soloists, and collaborative artists from fashion, dance, visual art, and theater. Concerts range from popular favorites such as Carmen and Pirates of Penzance to hidden gems, newly commissioned works, and genre-defying hybrids. Organization regularly presents at Carnegie Hall, New York City Center, and Jazz @ Lincoln Center, while increasingly performing in less traditional venues such as the Intrepid Museum, Ansche Chesed Synagogue, and The Great Hall at Cooper Union. Each year over 3,000 free tickets are distributed to students, seniors, and underserved audiences. • EDUCATION: For 25 years, Organization’s Side-By-Side Program has mentored aspiring singers from diverse high schools across the region. Each year, 20+ students learn and work side-by-side with a Chorus member, ultimately performing in concerts at Carnegie Hall and other venues throughout the season. Dozens have gone on to professional study; many now enjoy professional careers in music. • COMMUNITY OUTREACH: Launched in 2016, Organization’s Bridges Program engages entire communities in the process of making music. Each project takes nearly 2 years to develop; once a community is selected, a specially commissioned composer-in-residence works with community members to create an original piece shaped by their stories, abilities, and perspectives. The piece is performed for local audiences, followed by a reprise in a Manhattan venue.

MasterVoices was founded in 1941 by legendary conductor Robert Shaw, known as the “dean of American choral singing.” Shaw believed choral singing was a manifestation of democracy – distinct voices coming together to create a stronger whole. He founded the group (then called The Collegiate Chorale) as the first interracial, interfaith volunteer chorus in America. Under the Artistic Direction of Tony Award-winner Ted Sperling since 2013, and led by a professional staff and board, the spirit of inclusion and the power of the human voice remain at the heart of our work. From our acclaimed 130+ member chorus to the array of world-class soloists who perform with us each year, our concerts are known for their vitality and scale. We perform a wide range of repertoire, from choral classics and operas to musical theater and world premiere commissions. In keeping with our history, artists of color continue to figure prominently as soloists, composers, and collaborators.

MasterVoices gauges its success through a variety of channels including: -- Critical Press -- Audience Surveys -- Artist Retention -- Student surveys -- Board, Donor and Staff Retention

MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale) was founded in 1941 by Robert Shaw, and is currently under the artistic direction of Ted Sperling. For 78 years, the organization has presented varied programming, with emphasis in three areas: choral masterpieces, operas in concert, and musical theater. Choral classics performed by MasterVoices have included Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions, Brahms’ Requiem, Britten’s War Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Verdi’s Requiem. The company has presented several important premieres, including the U.S. premieres of Dvorak’s Dmitri and Handel’s Jupiter in Argos, and the NY premieres of Respighi’s La Fiamma, Glass’s The Juniper Tree, and Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath. Other rarely heard operas in concert have included Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans, Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon, and Joplin’s Treemonisha. Throughout its history, MasterVoices has specialized in presenting rarely heard works of musical theater and standard works with a fresh approach, including Bernstein’s A White House Cantata, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Weill’s The Firebrand of Florence, Knickerbocker Holiday, and the world premiere of a concert version of The Road of Promise. MasterVoices has performed in prominent NYC concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, New York City Center, and Geffen Hall, under the batons of many esteemed conductors, including Serge Koussevitzky, Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, and Alan Gilbert. The company has also attracted many world-class soloists, including Bryn Terfel, René Pape, Stephanie Blythe, Deborah Voigt, Eric Owens, Thomas Hampson, Kelli O’Hara, Paulo Szot and Victoria Clark. MasterVoices has been hired to perform with many top orchestras over the years, including the NBC Symphony, The New York Philharmonic and The Israel Philharmonic, and has been invited to appear abroad, in Israel and at the Verbier and Salzburg festivals. MasterVoices considers education and outreach to be important aspects of its work. Its Side-by-Side program offers gifted high school students the opportunity to rehearse and perform with guidance from singing members and professional artists in New York and abroad. Additionally, MasterVoices gives complimentary tickets to hundreds of high school students and seniors from New York each season, and invites young soloists to perform at top venues as a part of the Faith Geier Artist Initiative. In June 2016, MasterVoices launched “Bridges: Connecting Communities Through Music”, a new outreach program that provides people in a NYC community the opportunity to make music with MasterVoices, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds. MasterVoices aims to continue its programs and expand their reach and purpose as the times and needs of the community dictate.


MasterVoices Inc. (Formerly The Collegiate Chorale)

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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MasterVoices Inc. (Formerly The Collegiate Chorale)

Board of directors
as of 1/30/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair



Board co-chair


Columbia University



















Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes


Choral, Robert Shaw, Choir, Chorus, Opera, Theater, Voices, Singing, Community