photo © Hendrik Broekman

Walter Chapin

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The Oriana Consort
P.O. Box 381608
Cambridge MA 02238

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Walter Chapin, Director
Walter Chapin, the Oriana Consort's founder and Director, has degrees from Harvard and the New England Conservatory, and did graduate study at Boston University. He has directed amateur choral groups in the Boston suburbs, and has taught conducting and directed choruses at Boston University and at the high school level. As a pianist, he accompanies dancers at the José Mateo Ballet Theatre in Cambridge. In his other-than-musical life he is a computer information systems designer and programmer, husband, father, grandfather, and carpenter. Contact Walter at

Board of Directors
Melanie Armstrong, Beth Chapin, Walter Chapin, Carlyn Ekstrom, Caroline Kinney, Kathryn Low, Christopher Pitt, Lauren Syer


Olivia Adams, Laura Amweg, Melanie Armstrong, Nicole Beauregard, J. William Budding, Alex Conway, John T. Crawford, Katheryn Currie, Melanie Donnelly, Adrienne Fuller, Gary Gengo, Andrea Hart, Jana Hieber, Frank S. Li, Ashley Mac, Dennis O'Brien, Christopher Pitt, Margaret Ronna, Irl Smith, Lauren Syer, Valerie Thomforde, James Tresner, Matthew Wall, Lisa Wooldridge

The Oriana Consort Logo

The image in the Oriana Consort Logo is based upon the concluding flourish in the signature of Queen Elizabeth I of England, to whom Thomas Morley, in 1601, dedicated his madrigal collection The Triumphes of Oriana.

History of the Oriana Consort

The Oriana Consort gradually evolved from several amateur choral groups that Walter Chapin directed in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1994, the group adopted the name "Oriana Consort" and began to increase its membership. From about 2002 to 2006 the group further evolved toward its present form: an a cappella chorale of about thirty singers, auditioned to very high standards, who rehearse and perform primarily without accompaniment, tuning only to their own voices. The group’s size is intimate enough for madrigals and motets, yet large enough for demanding choral works such as Samuel Barber’s Agnus Dei, J.S. Bach’s double-chorus motets, Aaron Copland’s In the Beginning, Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, and Eric Whitacre’s eight-part Lux Aurumque.

The name "Oriana Consort" is actually a misnomer, for the group is not really a consort, but a chorale. It its founding year of 1994 it was an eight-voice ensemble that actually was a consort, in the Renaissance sense of voices and Renaissance-era instruments, and the name stuck.

Oriana prepares two or three programs each year and presents them in Cambridge, Boston, and suburbs in the Greater Boston area. The group’s eclectic repertory is drawn from the 15th through the 21st centuries -- the seven centuries during which polyphonic choral music spread throughout Europe and, eventually, the Americas -- hence the motto "choral music from seven centuries." Music of the Baroque or the early Classical era, accompanied by instrumentalists from greater Boston’s outstanding early music community, usually forms a part of Oriana's December programs.

Oriana has also performed on invitation: the group has participated four times in the Candlelight Concert Series of Old Ship Church in Hingham; twice in the "3rd Sundays @ 3" concert series sponsored by the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra; the Vanderkay Summer Concert Series of Blue Hill, Maine; the concert series at The Center for Arts in Natick; the Vox Humana series of Jamaica Plain; and the Lux Aeterna multi-chorus concert held in Boston in January of 2005 to benefit survivors of the tsunami in Southeast Asia.

In March of 2007 the Consort was one of four Boston-area chorales to participate in a master class presented by Peter Phillips, director of the world-renowned Tallis Scholars. Oriana has participated several times in the Fringe Concert Series of the Boston Early Music Festival.

In late July and early August of 2013 the Oriana Consort undertook a four-concert tour in Germany, presenting music in Frankfurt am Main, Dietzenbach, and Leipzig. In the Thomaskirche in Leipzig -- where J.S. Bach was Cantor from 1723 to 1750 -- the Consort surrounded Bach’s tomb to sing two of his motets, and was the choir for a Sunday service there, singing music of Bach, Mendelssohn, Barber, and Bernstein.

Oriana has premiered a number of significant choral works. The group did the premier performance in December 2012 of Ani Adonai (I, the Lord), a setting of the words of Isaiah, written by Boston-area composer Adam Jacob Simon and commissioned by the Consort. In the spring of 2014, the group did the East Coast premiere of The Waking, a setting of a Theodore Roethke poem by Abbie Betinis, a noted composer from the upper midwest. In December 2015, Oriana presented the Massachusetts premiere of The Longest Nights, a setting of seven winter poems by seven different poets by Timothy C. Takach, a composer also from the upper midwest. Oriana, together with one choir in each of forty-one other states of the USA, had the honor to participate in the joint commissioning of this work.

Walter Chapin

The Oriana Consort is a member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium.