Profile

An Interview with Nicole Robinson

Aiming to foster a more welcoming and connected choral community in the city of our 2019 Conference, Chorus America has been bringing representatives of Philadelphia-area choruses together since last October for a series of workshops and online learning activities called “Voices of Change: Building a More Inclusive Choral Community.” Led by Nicole R. Robinson, a music educator and the founder of the consulting firm Cultural Connections by Design, the project is intended to support choruses in considering diversity, equity, and inclusion in their work and to explore strategies for increased communication and collaboration between different kinds of choruses.

Last fall, Indiana University music professor, conductor, and composer Dominick DiOrio took a sabbatical to travel across the United States to observe a wide spectrum of professional vocal ensembles, from small to large and from nascent to established. After attending rehearsals and performances and meeting with artistic directors, executives, and singers, he was left with the sense that, at their core, these professional choruses have more in common with their community counterparts than he imagined. 

Nonprofit leader, humor blogger, and truth-teller. It’s a unique job description, but a perfect fit for Vu Le. Le is the executive director of Seattle-based social justice organization Rainier Valley Corps and the author of NonprofitAF.com, a blog that mixes pop culture and pictures of baby animals with candid insight into the current state of nonprofits.

Chorus America's 2018 Commission Consortium Composers

Each month, Chorus America profiles one of our members in our Meet A Member interview series. To mark the season of giving, we often change things up a little bit for December by speaking with Chorus America donors. This year, we spoke to Hussein Janmohamed and Joan Szymko, the two composers donating compositions for Chorus America’s 2018 Commission Consortiums.

Alexander Lloyd Blake has plenty of jobs to keep himself busy.

Blake is the choir director for the LA County High School for the Arts, and principal assistant conductor of the National Children's Chorus’ Los Angeles ensemble. But that’s not all. “I'm an assistant conductor at First Congregational Church LA—that's a new one,” Blake recounts. “And I'm studying for my qualifying exams for my doctorate in choral conducting at USC.”

Vijay Gupta is both a violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a dedicated advocate for the power of music to change lives and reconnect us to our shared humanity. In 2011, he founded Street Symphony, a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging musicians in performance and dialogue with marginalized communities of people experiencing poverty, homelessness and incarceration. 

In the last decade of the 20th century, the composer Morten Lauridsen wrote a series of pieces while serving a residency for the Los Angeles Master Chorale that have had a lasting and international impact. This year the choral world celebrates the 20th anniversary of the largest of these milestones, Lux Aeterna. What has given the Lauridsen aesthetic its power to connect and attract? And why does it continue to move performers, composers, and listeners?

Jean Davidson does not have the background of a typical choral administrator. The Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC) president and CEO took the job—her first in the choral community—after working in theater, contemporary dance, and instrumental music, where she served as the founding managing director of the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma.

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