Dr. Bruce Chamberlain of U of Arizona and Vance George of the SF Symphony Chorus, sit down with Ryan to speak about preparing a score in such a way that the composer’s name becomes a verb (ex. Schubert-ing or Mozart-ing) with it come time to make music.
About Bruce Chamberlain
Bruce Chamberlain, Director of Choral Activities at the The University of Arizona School of Music, brings to this position nearly 30 years of collegiate and professional experience. He has been recognized nationally as one of a group of gifted American conductors who is equally at home in the orchestral and choral repertoire. Dr. Chamberlain has appeared as guest conductor with the symphony orchestras of St. Petersburg (Russia), San Antonio (TX), Jackson (TN), the Imperial Symphony Orchestra (FL), the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, the Czech Virtuosi Orchestra (Brno), the Budapest Chamber Orchestra, the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, The Tucson Symphony Orchestra and the Festival Orchestra of Iowa. Additionally, he has prepared choirs for such notable conductors as Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, John Alldis, Lawrence Leighton Smith, Joseph Krachmalnich and George Hanson.
Most recently, Chamberlain was appointed the founding director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s newly formed professional chorus. In its first season, critics said of the TSOC that its Messiah was “sensational” and the Verdi Requiem was prepared “to exacting standards of perfection.” The Arizona Choir, his 40-voice graduate student choir at the University of Arizona, was recently featured in a DVD release by the Kronos Quartet of Terry Riley’s multimedia work Sun Rings and in March of 2006 will perform at the ACDA Convention in Salt Lake City.
Dr. Chamberlain won the National Conducting Competition sponsored by the Association of Professional Vocal Ensembles in 1987 and in 1990 was selected from an international field of conductors as the only American to conduct on the final concert of the prestigious 21st Annual Oregon Bach Festival. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in May, 1995 conducting a world premiere with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, and has accepted invitations to conduct festival touring groups in England, Europe and China.
Choral conducting students at the University of Arizona under Dr. Chamberlain’s tutelage have achieved successes in a number of national arenas, including the ACDA National Choral Conducting Competition, where his doctoral students have been finalists in the last three competitions taking first place honors in 2005, the Oregon Bach Festival, presentations at College Music Society Symposia and serving as Directors of Choral Activities in over a dozen colleges and universities around the country. During his distinguished teaching/conducting career, collegiate choral groups under Dr. Chamberlain’s direction have been featured at National and Divisional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, numerous state music conventions, commissioned and/or performed eight world premiers and have made six European tours to perform with leading international orchestras. Presently there are 25 members of the Graduate Choral Conducting Class at the University of Arizona, representing 13 states, Korea, Canada and Columbia. The School of Music honored Dr. Chamberlain in 2003 with the Maestro Award, presented to the faculty member whose students have achieved critical successes in their field.
An active member of ACDA, Chamberlain has held numerous elected and appointed positions including state presidencies of Iowa and Arizona, and North Central Division Youth and Student Activities R&S Chair. He has been a guest conductor/clinician in over 20 states, Canada, Czech Republic, Russia, Mexico, China and Hungary. Dr. Chamberlain is also an active church musician, presently serving as Director of Music for Trinity Presbyterian Church, Tucson.
A summa cum laude graduate of the Indiana University School of Music with BME, MM and DMus degrees, Chamberlain studied conducting with Julius Herford, Margaret Hillis and John Nelson, piano with Menachem Pressler, Wallace Hornibrook and Nicholas Zumbro, and has continued choral/orchestral conducting studies with Helmut Rilling, Andrew Davis, Dale Warland and Robert Page.
About Vance George
Vance George is recognized internationally as one of America’s leading choral conductors. Under his direction he and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus have been hailed as one of the finest in the world and have received four Grammys and an Emmy.
His unique range of musical styles, knowledge of languages, mastery of vocal colors, and synthesis of the choral-orchestral tradition has been lauded by audiences, critics, and conductors. His work embodies the legacy of the great maestros and mentors he has known as protégé and colleague, especially Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, Robert Page, Otto Werner-Mueller, Mary Oyer and Kurt Masur, John Nelson, Helmut Rilling, Edo de Waart, Herbert Blomstedt and Michael Tilson Thomas.
For more than 23 years he prepared and conducted the SFS Chorus and SF Symphony in performances of large choral/orchestral repertoire as well as seasonal and pops concerts.
Prior to SFS Chorus he was Associate Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus for seven years. As guest conductor he has led performances of Bach’s Mass in B minor, the Passions, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven Masses, the Requiems of Brahms and Verdi in Minneapolis, Spokane, Akron, Salzburg, Indianapolis and Sydney.
The San Francisco Symphony Chorus may be heard in Orff’s Carmina burana, Grieg’s Peer Gynt, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, a collection of short choral works by Brahms, the Requiem under the direction of Herbert Blomstedt and in Mahler’s Das klagende Lied, Stravinsky’s Perséphone, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, Michael Tilson Thomas conducting. The Emmy was for Sondheim’s Sweemu Todd in a semi staged versiou featuring George Hearn, Patti Lupone and Neil Patrick Harris.
Under Vance George’s direction the chorus may be heard on the Delos label in Christmas by the Bay and Voices 1999/2000 and on film soundtracks for Amadeus, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Godfather III.
Vance George is highly regarded as a teacher of conducting and has written on the subject for Cambridge Press. A graduate of Goshen College and Indiana University, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Musical Arts by Kent State University and a lifetime achievement award by Chorus America. He has served on the Chorus Amerca Board and the National Endowment of the Arts.