our history

Since 1975, Madrigalia has distinguished itself as one of the finest chamber choirs in all of Rochester and western New York. The ensemble is known for its quality performances of unique repertoire spanning over six centuries.

At the beginning, rehearsals were held in members’ homes with the requisite food and drink, and were as much social as musical. Founding member Deb Stahl suggested the name “Madrigalia” and the rest, as they say, is history. Member Bob Dwelley, a doctoral candidate at Eastman School of Music and Director of Music at St. Bernard’s Seminary, was soon selected as the first Music Director. 

Madrigalia’s stature in the Rochester music community and beyond grew rapidly, with multiple performances and collaborations throughout western New York. Community collaborations were crucial to this development, and the ensemble’s long-standing association with Rochester’s public radio station WXXI-FM has produced several concert recordings and national broadcasts. 

In 2014, Cary Ratcliff was appointed Madrigalia's Artistic Director. Under his direction, the group has produced two recordings, collaborated with local and international artists, and premiered new works. For more information, visit our Staff page.

In 2016, Madriglia’s history was wonderfully captured in full length by the group’s historians, Lew Ward Baker and Bob Caruso. You can download the history here, in PDF.