Musae is a women's vocal ensemble based in San Francisco. The group takes its name from the original "ladies of song," the classic nine Muses of Greek mythology. Since its founding in 2004, Musae has performed diverse and accessible music throughout the Bay Area, and continues to stretch the boundaries of traditional repertoire for women's voices.
Musae functions as a musical collective in which each singer identifies as a leader and soloist contributing actively to the artistic process. The group's singers are trained in the choral tradition, but not bound by it. Each singer may sing a range of voice parts based on the aesthetic demands of the music, and the group performs largely without conductor.
Musae has established itself as an up-and-coming member of the Bay Area music community. The group has worked with acclaimed vocal ensembles Kitka and Chanticleer, performed at charity events, hosted a series of open houses, and produced a full schedule of sold-out concerts. Whether in Berkeley, Marin, on the Peninsula, or at home in San Francisco, Musae offers its audiences a new experience of women's voices with a repertoire including sacred chants, baroque masterpieces, choral standards, chamber pieces with string quartet, spirituals, folksongs, jazz, bossa nova, and popular music from five continents.
In 2005, Musae released its debut album, From Argentina to Appalachia, featuring music from North America, Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. Alegría y Placer: A Musae Christmas followed in 2007, showcasing local composer Conrad Susa's "Carols and Lullabies: Christmas in the Southwest" for women's ensemble, harp, marimba, vibraphone, and guitar. Musae celebrated its 5th Anniversary Season in 2009 with the release of Five, a collaboration with San Francisco-based bossa nova band Bossa Five-O. The group's third studio album features the bossa nova classics of Baden Powell, North American folk music, and Musae's 5th Anniversary Composition Competition winner "When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be" by Graham Meyer. In 2012, Musae participated in the New Music for Treble Voices Choral Festival, held every year in Palo Alto.
Now in its ninth season, Musae is beginning a new phase in its growth and is excited to welcome Ben Johns as the new artistic director! Ben is also the director of education for Chanticleer, the professional men's vocal ensemble from San Francisco. For the 2012-2013 season, in addition to the annual winter and spring concert offerings, Musae again performed at the New Music for Treble Voices Choral Festival and had a guest appearance at Chanticleer's 35th Anniversary Gala.