Dr. Patrick Gardner of Rutgers University in New Jersey discusses the importance of listening to a wide variety of ensembles in order to develop your ear for choral sounds.
Patrick Gardner’s performances have been acclaimed by New York audiences, critics, and an international roster of composers, including William Bolcom, Lukas Foss, John Harbison, Lou Harrison, Jennifer Higdon and Tarik O’Regan. Now in his 26th season as director of the Riverside Choral Society (RCS), Mr. Gardner is also the Director of Choral Activities at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, where he conducts the Rutgers University Kirkpatrick Choir and the Rutgers University Glee Club and directs the graduate program in choral conducting. In the past five years, Mr. Gardner has conducted Lou Harrison’s Suite for Violin and Gamelan and La Koro Sutro at Bard College’s Fisher Center for the Arts, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Handel’s Messiah, Ralph Vaughan- Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, Bach’s B-minor Mass and Christmas Oratorio at Lincoln Center with Riverside Choral Society, prepared RCS for a performance of Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato with the Mark Morris Dance Group for the White Light Festival at Lincoln Center, and conducted the St. Cecilia Chorus in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and B-minor Mass at Carnegie Hall. He also prepared the women of RCS for a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 at Avery Fisher Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev. Mr. Gardner has conducted nearly 100 major works with orchestra since his arrival in New York in 1990, from Mozart’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall to Stravinsky’s Cantata at Symphony Space. He has conducted RCS in its Lincoln Center performances of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, and Mozart’s C minor Mass. In recent orchestral performances at Rutgers and with the Riverside Choral Society Orchestra, Mr. Gardner has conducted numerous major symphonic works, including Brahms’ Second Symphony, Schubert’s Fifth Symphony, Arvo Pärt’s Canticum in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, and Jennifer Higdon’s Blue Cathedral, as well as piano concerti of Mozart, Shostakovich, and others. He prepared the Rutgers University Glee Club for a performance of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, and was chorus master for the internationally acclaimed Robert Altman production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Opéra de Lille in France. Mr. Gardner has recorded for the Naxos, Albany, Ethereal, and Folkways labels.
The moment you knew you’d dedicate your life to music
With a goal to be a rock and roll star in college, he started as a guitar player. But halfway through college, with his love for history, singing and music theory, it led him to doing classical music.
Worst musical moment
On his first semester as a young professor in University of Michigan, while working with the Men’s Glee club on a piece and impressed with the performance, Dr. Gardner gave the team a positive reinforcement and mentioned “ lots of my friends would kill me to be standing where I am right now, only to hear a response from the back of the room saying “ What are their names?”
The proudest musical moment
Conducting Rossini’s Stabat Mater, at Lincoln Center, Bach B- minor mass in the University at Rutgers University , the Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, at Lincoln Center is what he considered top of the list of proudest musical moments.
Leading major and orchestral works through great vocal technique or interpretation through great vocal technique.
Most excited about right now
A concert to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of Rutgers University this spring.
Advice for your younger self
Relax and just let things calm.
What makes a great conductor?
Having a point of view is very important. Believe in yourself and being very passionate about it and having to self-consciousness about pursuing that point of view.