Orpheus Chamber Singers Announce New Artistic Director


The Orpheus Chamber Singers announce the appointment of J.D. Burnett to the position of Artistic Director, effective January 1, 2022. Dr. Burnett will assume the position after the retirement of Orpheus's founder, Donald Krehbiel.

"After an 18-month search, we are pleased to announce J.D. Burnett as our new Artistic Director," said Ruth Ann Ritchie, Executive Director. "Throughout the audition process, J.D. has proven himself to be not only a gifted musician and talented choral conductor, but a thoughtful programmer with a clear artistic vision for how to lead the organization forward. I am excited to begin working with him right away as we ensure Orpheus's continued growth and success.”

Burnett is currently Associate Professor of Music at the University of Georgia and is the founding Artistic Director of Kinnara, Atlanta's premier professional choral ensemble. “I’m thrilled to join the Orpheus Chamber Singers as their second Artistic Director," said Burnett. "Orpheus has set the standard for professional choral singing in Dallas for the last twenty-five years. I look forward to carrying on the excellent work of Don Krehbiel and the many artists whose work has shaped this admirable legacy.”

Pandemic guidelines allowing, Orpheus plans to return to live concert programming in Fall 2021. Mr. Krehbiel's final two performances with the choir are tentatively scheduled for October and December, while Dr. Burnett's first performance with the ensemble is slated for Spring 2022.

"While we will miss Don Krehbiel and his 26 years of exquisite concerts, we are excited for the future," added Barbara Schultz Mickey, Orpheus Board President.

J.D. Burnett enjoys a varied career as a conductor, singer, and teacher. He is the founding Artistic Director of Kinnara, Atlanta’s premier professional chamber choir. Originally established in Princeton, NJ, Kinnara presents a wide variety of repertoire performed by some of this nation’s finest professional singers. Additionally, Burnett is Associate Professor of Music and Associate Director of Choral Activities at the University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music, where he conducts the University Chorus, Men’s Glee Club, Women’s Glee Club, and UGA Choral Project, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in conducting and choral literature, and serves as chair of the conducting area. He is also the Director of Music at Oconee Street United Methodist Church in Athens, GA.

Formerly, he served as Assistant Director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus, conductor of the New Jersey Youth Chorus Young Men’s Ensemble, Associate Conductor of the Masterwork Chorus of New Jersey, and Acting Director of Choral Activities at Montclair State University. Earlier posts include Interim Director of Choral Activities at San Jose State University, Artistic Director of the New Jersey Chamber Singers, Music Director of the Houston Masterworks Chorus, and Founder of Men’s Consort Houston. He also served as Choral Editor at McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Burnett did undergraduate study at Stanford University and Oklahoma State University. He holds advanced degrees in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College and the University of North Texas.

As a professional choral singer, Burnett has performed and recorded with the Stillwater Chamber Singers, Cantare Houston, Fuma Sacra, Robert Shaw Festival Singers, Choir of Trinity Church Wall Street, Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and Conspirare.

The Orpheus Chamber Singers, a professional 24-voice mixed adult choir under the direction of Donald Krehbiel, was founded with the express purpose of providing exceptional performances of traditional and innovative chamber choral music from the past six centuries. Since its first concert in 1995, Orpheus has presented a multi-concert subscription series each year to great critical acclaim. Orpheus has issued five commercial recordings; the newest, “My Soul’s Repose,” was issued on the Centaur label in February 2017. Orpheus has also performed throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area at venues including the regional conference of American Choral Directors Association, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Kimbell Museum of Art, UT-Southwestern Medical Center, Children’s Medical Center-Dallas, and numerous public schools. Orpheus performs a wide range of repertoire including sacred, secular, classical, folk, and pop. Collaborations over the 26-year history have included Ars Lyrica Houston, Gramophone Award-winning Baroque scholar John Butt, Texas Camerata, jazz pianist Eric Barnes, Swedish saxophone player Anders Paulsson, hand drummer and international percussionist Jamal Mohamed, tanpura player Vatsal Dave, and many other outstanding instrumentalists. www.orpheuschambersingers.org