One of two associate conductors of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Don Horisberger began singing with the ensemble in 1977. During his early years, he was appointed bass section leader and assistant to the German diction coach. In 1989, Margaret Hillis named him an assistant conductor, and he was elevated to associate conductor in 1998 under Duain Wolfe. A native of Plain City, Ohio, Horisberger earned a doctorate of music from Northwestern University.
What work(s) this season are you are most looking forward to performing?
Looking forward to assisting with chorus preparation of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe.
Currently I’m listening to:
John Eliot Gardiner’s “Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven.”
Who is/are your favorite composer(s)?
Bach for sure. As an organist, you can’t beat it, and the major choral works, especially B-Minor Mass and both Passions, are thrilling, whether I’m singing, conducting or hearing them.
Was there a specific moment or experience during which you first connected with choral singing?
I sang with the usual high school and college choirs, but the defining moment for me came when I sang the Mahler Eighth with Sir Georg Solti. It was as if everything up until then had been preparation, and I had finally experienced the real thing.
What is your most memorable CSC performance or experience?
Brahms’ German Requiem with Solti, Te Kanawa and Weikl. The performances here were glorious; when we did it at Carnegie Hall, they wouldn’t stop applauding, and the recording still holds up.
Do you play another instrument or perform in non-classical vocal style or setting?
My degrees are in organ, though I was always just as involved with choirs and conducting, studying with Margaret Hillis at Northwestern. If I had to decide which I enjoy more, I couldn’t.