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Steven Zopfi's "Ten Questions" project asks choral conductors today about their career development and the future of the choral field. Here Grant Gershon, Craig Hella Johnson, and Ragnar Bohlin respond. Click on the questions below to view their answers.

Salvatore Diana reflects on the lights, camera, action, and everything behind it

Singing for the Pope is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – though sometimes, it happens twice.

“I can’t say it was my first time singing for a pope,” admits Salvatore Diana. “I had the good fortune of Singing for Pope Benedict when he visited eight years ago.” In fact, Diana sang in services for Pope Francis on back-to-back days during his visit to New York, making for a hectic and thrilling 36 hours or so. 

This summer marks one year since Jane Chu began her tenure as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. In advance of her keynote conversation at Chorus America’s Boston Conference, she spoke with president and CEO Catherine Dehoney about her career and the important role the arts play in our lives and communities.

Choral conductors share their professional responsibilities and work-life balance.

In her memoirs, Alma Mahler narrates the meticulous schedule by which her husband Gustav balanced his daily priorities in order to preserve his energy and maximize the value of every minute. In the summertime, when he composed at their lake house, he took a mandatory afternoon swim, followed by a three-hour walk, rain or shine. In the wintertime, when he conducted in Vienna, the opera house called ahead at lunchtime to ensure that his apartment door was open so he would not have to wait. His soup, hot, was expected to be already placed on the table.

Taking Carmina Burana Across Continents and Cultures

In May, the Choral Arts Society of Washington (CASW) embarked on a two-week tour of China. The symphonic chorus teamed up with the Qingdao Symphony Orchestra on its own domestic tour, giving performances of Carmina Burana in the cities of Qingdao, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong.

“The phenomenon of a gay men’s chorus is a vital part of the musical fabric of our society. It is not a gimmick to draw a crowd. We have always just wanted to put on great concerts – and make a difference while doing it.”

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