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"Doreen Rao is a dynamo--a vivacious, energetic, dedicated choral director."
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Doreen Rao


"The chorus, excellently prepared by Doreen Rao, sang well throughout, especially in the detached, accented attacks on this agitated text"

Herman Trotter, Buffalo News
Brahms "Schicksalslied" Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
November 7, 2010, conducted by Leon Botstein

"The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus [prepared by Doreen Rao] gave the show its all -- and that all is tremendous. You should have heard the volume of 'Wells Fargo Wagon'"

Mary Kunz Goldman, Buffalo News
Concert version of "The Music Man" Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
May 29, 2010, conducted by Matthew Kraemer

“The Philharmonic Chorus [prepared by Doreen Rao] is to thank for the biggest thrills of the evening. The Honegger piece... set the stage for the beginning of Bach’s festive ‘Christmas Oratorio’. You could actually see the melody as it moved from one part of the chorus to another. With the brass and booming timpani, it made you want to jump out of your skin.”

Buffalo News, Mary Kunz Goldman, 12/19/2010
BPO Classical Christmas, JoAnn Falletta conductor

“A big draw was the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus [prepared by Doreen Rao], decked out in red and black and raring to go. This massive ensemble has been polishing its act and its sound was chiseled and powerful.”

Buffalo News, Mary Kunz Goldman 12/19/2010
BPO Classical Christmas, JoAnn Falletta conductor

“The Philharmonic Chorus’ [prepared by Doreen Rao] ever-growing skills are highlighted in a Robert Shaw medley that included the lovely French carol ‘Bring A Torch, Jeanette Isabella’.”

Buffalo News, Mary Kunz Goldman, 12/11/2010
BPO Holiday Pops, Matthew Kraemer conductor

"The Philharmonic Chorus [prepared by Doreen Rao] should be commended for its great job on A Musicological Journey Through 12 Days of Christmas.”

Buffalo News, Mary Kunz Goldman, 12/19/2009
BPO Holiday Pops, JoAnn Falletta conductor

“The Hallelujah Chorus had strength and presence.”

Buffalo News, Mary Kunz Goldman, 12/19/2009
BPO Holiday Pops, JoAnn Falletta conductor

"The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus [prepared by Doreen Rao] added depth and drama. It was amazing what dimension this huge ensemble added to the closing of ‘Old Man River’.”

Buffalo News, Mary Kunz Goldman, 3/1/2009
Salute to Jerome Kern, Marvin Hamlisch conductor

“The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, prepared by Doreen Rao, sang with fine balance and, in the predominantly mezzoforte dynamics, achieved impressive warmth and depth.”

Buffalo News, Herman Trotter, 11/6/2008
Faure Requiem, Maximiano Valdes conductor

“The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus [prepared by Doreen Rao] was featured in four ecstatic selections, opening with ‘Call to the Champions’, written for the 2002 Winter Olympics. This is music of wildly summoning, challenging character, sung with precision and great force. The result was exciting...”

Buffalo News, Herman Trotter, 8/4/2008
A Salute to John Williams, JoAnn Falletta conductor

“The chorus [prepared by Doreen Rao] was nothing short of heavenly, showcasing the ethereal sopranos in ‘Silent Night’, its powerful, erotic basses in ‘We Three Kings’ and every voice in the chorus on ‘O Holy Night’.”

Buffalo News, Anne Neville, 12/8/2007
BPO Holiday Pops, Robert Franz conductor

“The newly unveiled work by Bass ... was filled with the kinds of moments that make choral music fans smile.”

Buffalo News, Garaud MacTaggart, 3/26/2007
Randol Bass Passage Into Spirit, L. Brett Scott conductor

“Musically, the season opened with Valdes conducting the orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus [prepared by Doreen Rao] in Verdi’s Te Deum, with fine balance in the hushed, a cappella opening for the men’s voices. The suspense was broken by a shatteringly precise attack and wall of sound hurled at us by the full forces.”

Buffalo News, Herman Trotter, 9/22/2006
Verdi Te Deum, Maximiano Valdes conductor

“Bach needs champions to take up the cause of his music's enchanting beauty for each new generation of listeners. One such missionary is Doreen Rao”

John Terauds, The Toronto Star, 2006

“The highlight of the concert was Elgar's Serenade in E Minor, Op. 20. Rao's vocal approach paid off handsomely... the strings of the U of T Symphony sounded so much like singers that one could almost hear a text.”

Robert Everett-Green, The Globe and Mail

“England, written in 1918 while the young Sir Ernest [MacMillan] was in a German prisoner of war camp is bursting with forgivably sentimental patriotism...Rao directed an ebullient performance from orchestra, choir and soloists.”

Tamara Bernstein, The Globe and Mail
(MacMillan's England) "Sir Ernest Remembered"

“... an exhilarating sequence of choral and instrumental music... the response to their well-disciplined and full-hearted performance was overwhelming”

Ronald Hambleton, The Toronto Star
"U of T ensemble shows Mozart's Mass appeal" (Avery Fisher Hall, NY)

“The U of T Chamber Singers and Chamber Orchestra performed the Coronation Mass at Lincoln Center's comprehensive Mozart tribute.... with a portfolio that combines performance and education, [Rao] is making strides as a conductor pure and simple. Her command of both instruments and voices in the Coronation Mass was evident. Zesty tempos and vivid projection by the chorus and soloists brought the mass vividly to life.”

Arthur Kaptainis, University of Toronto Magazine
"Lincoln Center Debut: Zesty tempos, vivid projection"

“Conductor Doreen Rao led her multitudes... she made a dignified showing.”

Robert Everett-Green, The Globe and Mail
"A Christmas concert with the Messiah" - Honegger, Une Cantate de Noel

"The University of Toronto MacMillan Singers performed their economical part with a fine sense of its radically different styles, from the quasi-medieval men’s chorus of Act II to the spectral looping melody sung by the women in Act III."

Robert Everett Green, The Globe and Mail
Stravinsky Le Rossignol, TSO

“Doreen Rao…was very much in charge from the first heroic notes of Otto Nicolai’s Fest Overture. Rao’s approach to Barber’s emotional Adagoio, whose passages of sustained beauty were successfully maintained.”

Geoff Chapman, The Toronto Star
"Doreen Rao, first occupant of a conducting chair in honour of Elmer Iseler"