LSM Newswire

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Collegiate Chorale Announces the Appointment of 
New Music Director 
James Bagwell

"It is a privilege and honor for me to be the new Music Director of The Collegiate Chorale. This chorus, under the dynamic leadership of Robert Bass and the past legacies of Robert Shaw, Abraham Kaplan and Richard Westenburg, is a strong artistic presence in New York and the nation at large. I am thrilled to become a part of this innovative and ground-breaking cultural institution," said James Bagwell.

"James Bagwell brings a wealth of choral experience and a profound knowledge of the vocal repertoire to The Collegiate Chorale. He will be a visionary leader, a champion of the organization's mission to present exciting vocal music of the highest artistic standard. From an intensive eight-month search, the board, staff and singers reached complete consensus that James' musicianship and magnetism will lead us toward a brilliant next phase in The Chorale's artistic life," said George J. Grumbach, Jr., Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Collegiate Chorale.

James Bagwell maintains an active schedule throughout the United States as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral music. He has recently been named Principal Guest Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra in New York. Since 2003 he has been Director of Choruses for the Bard Music Festival, conducting and preparing choral works during the summer festival at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. He has also prepared The Concert Chorale of New York for performances with the American Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Mostly Mozart Festival (broadcast nationally in 2006 on Live from Lincoln Center) all in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. In 2005 he was named Music Director of The Dessoff Choirs in New York, who under his leadership have made numerous appearances at Carnegie Hall in addition to their regular season. In 2009 the Dessoff Symphonic Choir appeared with the New York Philharmonic performing both Mahler's Eighth Symphony and Britten's War Requiem for Lorin Maazel's final concerts as Music Director.

James Bagwell has trained choruses for a number of major American and International orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, NHK Symphony (Japan), St. Petersburg Symphony, The American Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with noted conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Louis Langrée, Leon Botstein, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Raymond Leppard, James Conlon, Jesús López-Cobos, Erich Kunzel, Leon Fleischer, and Robert Shaw.

For eleven seasons, he has been Music Director for the May Festival Youth Choir in Cincinnati, which was recently featured on the radio program From the Top. He has conducted some 25 productions as Music Director of Light Opera Oklahoma, including Candide, Sweeney Todd, and The Merry Widow, among others. At Bard SummerScape he has led numerous theatrical works, most notably The Tender Land, which received unanimous praise from The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Opera News. He frequently appears as guest conductor for orchestras around the country and abroad, including the Jerusalem Symphony, Tulsa Symphony, and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. For three seasons he was Artistic Director of The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. He holds degrees from Birmingham-Southern College, Florida State University, and Indiana University. He has taught since 2000 at Bard College, where he is Director of the Music Program.

The Collegiate Chorale, among New York's foremost vocal ensembles, has added to the richness of the city's cultural fabric for more than 65 years. Founded in 1941 by the legendary conductor Robert Shaw, The Chorale achieved national and international prominence under the leadership of Robert Bass. The Chorale has established a preeminent reputation for its interpretations of the traditional choral repertoire, vocal works by American composers, and rarely heard operas-in-concert, as well as commissions and premieres of new works by today's most exciting creative artists. In the Summer of 2009, The Chorale performed for the fourth season at Switzerland's Verbier Music Festival. In July 2008, The Chorale toured with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem.

The mission of The Collegiate Chorale is to enrich its audiences through innovative programming and exceptional performances of a broad range of vocal music featuring a premier choral ensemble. Inherent in its mission is The Chorale's belief that choral music is a compelling collaboration that creates a powerful, shared experience unifying listeners and musicians of all backgrounds, beliefs and ages.

For more information, visit www.collegiatechorale.org.

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