| In 1966, the Master Institute Chorus, conducted by Allan Miller, was run as an adult education course, with Clara Longstreth as assistant conductor and Elizabeth Rodgers as accompanist. On Miller's departure in 1968, Clara Longstreth became conductor.
When the Master Institute dissolved in 1971, Clara, Elizabeth and an informal group of singers decided to regroup under the name New Amsterdam Singers. From 1972-1978 NAS was in association with the Bloomingdale House of Music. In 1978 it became fully independent under the management of its own elected Board of Directors.
Today NAS is a chorus of 70 skilled singers whose concert performances in New York City and abroad have won critical acclaim. The group is known for the variety and interest of its repertoire, ranging from the 15th century to the present day. The chorus specializes in a cappella and double chorus repertoire and regularly performs 20th century, contemporary and commissioned works. It continues to rehearse on the Upper West Side, performing three subscription concerts and giving a number of other performances around the greater metropolitan area each season.
All subscription concerts are performed in Manhattan at such locations as Merkin Hall, St. Peter's Church at Citicorp, St. Ignatius Episcopal Church and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. The chorus has also performed at most of the city's major halls, including Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall, and in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Washington, D.C., Westchester and New Jersey.
A Selective Chronology
2010: Christmas at the White House
NAS was invited to sing at the White House to entertain visitors at the annual holiday open house in December. A group of 30 singers made the trip.
2009: Six Chansons
NAS commissioned dance piece Six Chanson, by Samuel Pott to music by Debussy and Ravel. Performed with Nimbus Dance Works at Riverside Church and Grace Church Van Vorst in Jersey City.
2008: Masters on the Movies
NAS performance at Merkin Hall: Michael Dellaira's Masters on the Movies, Stage Direction by Grethe Holby.
2008: Why I Wake Early
NAS Co-commissioned with the Chatham Chorale, Ronald Perera's Why I Wake Early on poems of Mary Oliver. Performed with the Lark Quartet.
2006: "Adventures in Programming"
NAS Chamber Chorus served as demonstration choir in a lecture-demonstration for Clara Longstreth's "interest session" on "Adventures in Programming" for the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division Convention.
2005: Mozart's Requiem
NAS along with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony performed Mozart's Requiem at Avery Fisher Hall.
2002: Island of Hope
NAS recorded Island of Hope for Albany Records including Ronald Perera's The Golden Door and Paul Alan Levi's Acts of Love. Both works were commissioned by NAS.
2000: Kurt Weill Centenary
In celebration of Kurt Weill's centenary, NAS sang a staged, costumed performance of the folk opera Down in the Valley. Isaiah Scheffer was stage director and Clara Longstreth conducted thirty-two singers from NAS and the Mannes College Orchestra at Symphony Space as part of the "Wall-to-Wall Weill" day.
1999: Voices of Light
NAS joined Anonymous Four and the Concordia Orchestra under Marin Alsop for Voices of Light at Avery Fisher Hall. The new score by Richard Einhorn was written to accompany Carl Dreyer's classic film The Passion of Joan of Arc.
1998: Thirtieth Anniversary
NAS celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a concert, "Our Town, Our Time," devoted to the music of 20th century New York City Composers.
1997: José Limon Dance Company
NAS joined the José Limon Dance Company and Riverside Choir for four performances of Kodaly's Missa Brevis at Riverside Church.
1997: Specimen Days
NAS won critical acclaim performing the New York City premiere of Charles Fussel's Specimen Days. The concert also raised funds for Classical Action: Performing Arts Against Aids and honored caregivers and those who have died.
1997: Tour of Turkey
The NAS tour group gave three concerts in Turkey on its seventh biennial overseas tour. On previous European tours, NAS sang to packed audiences at four music festivals in the South of France (1995), competed at the renowned International Eisteddfod in Wales (1993), and visited Portugal (1991), Poland (1989), Spain (1987) and Greece (1985).
1994: NAS Commission
NAS gave the world premiere performance of Journeys and Secrets, a work commissioned by the chorus from Paul Alan Levi, at its May concert of contemporary American music in Merkin Hall.
1992-1993: Silver Jubilee
The Chorus' 25th anniversary season was celebrated with a gala Mozart concert in December and its first compact disk recording.
1990: Frank Martin Centenary
An all Frank Martin program, including the beautiful Mass for double chorus, celebrated the centenary of the composer's birth at St. Ignatius Episcopal Church.
1990: Ellis Island
NAS, augmented by the Schubert Singers, provided the official chorus for the reopening celebration of Ellis Island and the inaugural ceremonies of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, presided over by Vice President Quayle.
1988: St. Peter's Church
NAS produced and performed a staged production of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas.
1986: Alice Tully Hall
NAS was guest chorus in Clarion Concerts' performance of the American Premiere of Mayr's Requiem in C Minor under the direction of Newell Jenkins.
1984: Avery Fisher Hall
NAS, joined by the Choir of St. Patrick's Cathedral, performed Mahler's Resurrection Symphony under Leonard Bernstein with the New York Philharmonic.
1980: Symphony Space
NAS organized and produced the first West Side Choral Festival with three other choruses (Cappella Nova, the New Calliope Singers and Canticum Novum).
1976: Carnegie Hall
NAS joined the Symphony of the New World under Everett Lee in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.