David Chase leads the La Jolla Symphony Chorus with a Hallelujah!


David Chase, Ph.D. has been choral director of the La Jolla Symphony Chorus since 1973. He also serves as a lecturer in the UC San Diego Music Department and, in 2009, retired from Palomar College where he taught music for 35 years. Under his leadership, the 130-voice chorus performs a mix of musical styles for the LJSC subscription series in Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD.

Last year, Chase made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut during which the chorus performed Benjamin Britten’s “Spring Symphony.” He has led the chorus on numerous tours throughout the world, including a 2003 trip to the Kingdom of Bhutan, where La Jolla Symphony Chorus was the first western chorus invited to perform in that country. In fall 2013, Chase will celebrate his 40th year as choral director for LJSC.

What brought you to La Jolla?

My wife, Ann, and I felt the need to escape the Midwest, and there was an invitation for me to take a sort of “non-job” in choral music at UCSD — just a glorified graduate assistantship. We sold everything and moved across the country on the train. That non-job turned into the La Jolla Symphony Chorus.

Who or what inspires you?

Every individual in my family; each in a different way.

What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I would add a “Disney Hall” … and that level of creative support for the arts.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Ay! What an opportunity to see how the disparate parts of one’s life might interact! I suspect there would be huge differences of opinion but they’d find common ground. It would be my chance to resolve all my own inner conflicts!

• Tom Nee

, patron saint of LJSC (deceased)

• Robert Shaw

, choral great (deceased)

• Steve Schick

, present star of LJSC and elsewhere

• Alice Parker

, grand dame of traditional choral music

• John Cage

, composer and iconoclast

• My father


• Darren and Claire Chase

What are you reading?

Funnily, I’m re-reading “The Deptford Trilogy.” I was a big fan of Robertson Davies long ago and recently, when Steve Schick mentioned the term “Fifth Business” in a talk at UC, I couldn’t remember the details of that book. So I turned back the clock and enjoyed all three of the novels.

What is it you most dislike?

Filling out and filing institutional forms.

What is your most-prized possession?

Objects don’t do much for me, but I really prize our little house and garden as a symbol of having made something of our life.

What do you do for fun?

Mostly quiet times, beach-walks, movies and trips with Ann.

What is your philosophy of life?

“Put your pants on and go to work!”

What would be your dream vacation?

I’d like to go back to Provence with unlimited time and spending money. We’ve been to many more exotic places, and loved them, but the south of France keeps beckoning me back.