Who are we?
Lux is an award-winning chamber choir dedicated to accessibility to professional quality choral music performance and education based in the Washington, D.C. area. Founded in 2014 by a small group of high school friends, Lux performs with a dedication to excellence, innovation, and accessibility in choral performance.
Lux has been met with acclaim from professors at local conservatories, the world’s most popular composers, fellow musicians, and audience members alike. The group has earned praise from famed composers such as Eric Whitacre, Paul Mealor, and Ola Gjeilo. Benjamin Olinsky, Artistic Director of The 18th Street Singers, has called Lux “incredibly impressive”, while composers, music educators, performers, and listeners on the east coast have been "wowed by their beauty, depth, and power."
Lux’s singers hail from some of the finest conservatories and schools of music across the United States, and have performed everywhere from local churches to university concert halls to high-profile national venues such as Carnegie Hall and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Lauded for their passion towards contemporary choral music, Lux's programs are often jam-packed with living composers. They have given six world premieres since 2019, including their first commission and first composition contest during their virtual 2021 season, Christmas From Home.
As a group which began with a small group of high school students, Lux also works to create opportunities for and inspire the next generation of young choral artists. Find out more about our educational outreach programs.
In 2021, Lux won two Wammies for Best Choral Group and Best Choral Album for their Christmas release, My Lord Has Come. In 2019, Lux was named Best Local Choral Group, along with first-place 18th Street Singers and runner-up Capitol Hill Chorale, in the Best of DC competition held by Washington City Paper. Lux’s first commercial release, Now Ye Heavenly Powers, was met with acclaim from composers, critics, and others, becoming the Featured Choral Album on Classical MPR’s choral radio station, joining such groups as Voces8, Seraphic Fire, and Tenebrae.
Lux is dedicated to making professional-quality choral music accessible to everyone by providing free concerts and doing educational outreach. Through these programs, we work to inspire the next generation of choral singers and lead by example in encouraging the choral community to embrace diversity and inclusion.
What's in a name?
Our name, Lux, (pronounced the same way as "Luke's") is the Latin word for "light". We chose it for a few reasons—for instance, we often did works from Eric Whitacre's Lux Aurumque series in our first performances—but the main idea is that the stuffiness and self-seriousness so often associated with classical music today are unnecessary and ought to be thrown out. The culture of classical music has more than enough heaviness. Time to add a little light.
While on retreat in the Fall of 2014, the choir at DeMatha Catholic High School read through a beautiful piece written by Morten Lauridsen called Ave Dulcissima Maria. Soon-to-be director Robby Napoli and many others loved the piece, and were sad to hear that they were not, in fact, going to perform it. Then they did what any group of high school juniors and seniors would do - they got a group together and learned it themselves! They gathered at St. Jerome's Church, where the group still rehearses, and learned this piece and two others, recording them with a camcorder. Only one song came out well, but listening to that recording gave them a feeling they'd never had before.
Later that year, Robby and baritone John Mullan saw Eric Whitacre conduct a program at the Kennedy Center. When the choir began singing Whitacre's Sainte-Chapelle, they were floored. As time went on, they, along with bass Thomas Rust, only became more enamored of the piece, so they got more friends together to try it out. The next Winter, they gathered again with even more passionate and young singers, and a choir was born. In the Summer of 2016, the group finally settled on a name, Lux, put on their first concert, and released their first album. Today, they've finished ten seasons over a span of five years, run multiple educational programs, and have released multiple albums to critical acclaim.
Six of the original seven members of Lux still sing with the group today.
From left to right: Thomas Rust, John Mullan, Ciaran Cain, Robby Napoli, Anthony Jones, John-Paul Teti