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Dr. Robert Istad became the Artistic Director of Pacific Chorale in the 2017-2018 50th Season, after serving as our Assistant Conductor since 2004.

He has conducted Pacific Chorale and Pacific Symphony Orchestra in performance, and has prepared choruses for a number of America’s finest conductors and orchestras, including:

Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carl St.Clair and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Esa–Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, as well as conductors Vasilly Sinaisky, Sir Andrew Davis, Bramwell Tovey, Thomas Wilkins, John Williams, Eugene Kohn, Steven Mercurio, Richard Kaufman, Eric Whitacre, William Lacey, Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop, George Fenton, Case Scaglione, Robert Moody, John Alexander, William Dehning, and David Lockington.

Istad also serves as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Fullerton where he conducts the University Singers and Women’s Choir in addition to teaching courses in conducting, advanced interpretation and literature. He and his singers were featured at the 2013 ACDA National Conference in Dallas, Texas and the 2012 ACDA Western Division Conference in Reno, Nevada. Istad’s University Singers also performed for the 2013 National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conference in Charleston, SC. Istad and the CSUF University Singers have performed all over the world, including a 2015 residency and performances in Paris, France, engagements at the 2012 Ottobeuren Festival of Music in Germany, the 2012 Eingen Festival of music in Germany, a 2010 performance for UNESCO in Pisa, Italy, and in 2008 at the world-famous Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary.

Istad received his Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, his Master of Music degree in choral conducting from California State University, Fullerton and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral music at the University of Southern California. He studied conducting with Dr. William Dehning, John Alexander and Dr. Jon Hurty.

Istad is President of the California Choral Directors Association, and is in demand as an adjudicator, guest conductor, speaker and clinician throughout the nation.