Obituary: Louis Magor, San Francisco Symphony Chorus’s first director, 75

Posted on: May 14, 2021

“The defining moment for the newly formed San Francisco Symphony Chorus under director Louis Magor came during a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on Dec. 4, 1974,” writes Sam Whiting in Sunday’s (5/9) San Francisco Chronicle. “Conductor Seiji Ozawa lifted his arm for 125 singers to rise from their chairs to sing ‘Ode to Joy.’ Then he lifted his arms a second time to signal for them to raise their music books, but nobody had a book to raise. They’d memorized 71 pages of sheet music…. Chorus member Suzie Argenti recalled, … ‘Lou had us so prepared for every performance.’ … Magor died April 11 in Seattle…. Cause of death was heart failure…. He was 75…. Magor’s tenure as the first permanent director of the chorus lasted for less than a decade, but they were glorious years that saw the opening of Davies Symphony Hall, in 1980…. Magor was a star in his own right, having conducted the ‘Sing it Yourself Messiah,’ which became a fixture of the holiday season…. He was also director of the San Francisco Boys Chorus … and launched the Lou Magor Singers, a handpicked chamber group of 16 voices…. An online memorial is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Wallingford United Methodist Church in Seattle.”