The Long Beach Camerata Singers was founded in 1966 by Frank Allen as the Vocal Arts Ensemble and served as the resident chorus for the Long Beach Bach Festival, which he founded in 1973. In 1983 Dr. David Wilson, a professor of choral music at USC, succeeded Frank Allen and led the choir for over twenty years, expanding the Camerata Singers’ repertoire and changing its name. Under his baton, the chorus first toured Europe in 1999. In 2005, CSULB choral director Dr. Jonathan Talberg was appointed artistic director. He added a core of professional singers to the ranks and led a second European tour in 2006. From 2009 to 2017 Dr. Robert Istad, director of choral studies at CSU Fullerton, led the choir as its artistic director, expanding the auditioned ensemble to 90 voices and raising the group to the professional level for which it is known today. The 2017-18 season marks the introduction of the choir’s newest artistic director, Dr. James K. Bass, professor of choral studies at UCLA and Associate Conductor of the professional chamber choir Seraphic Fire.
Currently, in its 52nd season, the Long Beach Camerata Singers offers a fall concert, a December performance of Messiah, and a June concert of song classics, as well as producing and headlining the new ChoralFest Long Beach, an expansion of the venerable Long Beach Bach Festival. As part of its fiftieth season in 2015, the choir began an artistic partnership with the Long Beach Symphony as its official chorus, commissioned a major work from Long Beach composer, Jenni Brandon, and performed at Carnegie Hall. Camerata has also performed with other arts organizations, including Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, the Long Beach Opera and the South Bay Children’s Chorale. The chorus’s education program, the Camerata Kinder Konzerts, provides interactive learning experiences focused on the vocal arts.