Summer Choral Conducting Symposium, July 21-25, 2014


We are pleased to announce the first Summer Choral Conducting Symposium, July 21-25, 2014. This intensive week of conducting study, combined with repertory sessions and score study and analysis techniques, is designed primarily for practicing public school and church musicians.  Guest artists Vance George and Sharon Paul will join the WCU choral faculty for the week-long event. The morning sessions will focus on music of various historical style periods (with an emphasis on works suitable for use with younger choirs) and afternoons on conducting the Mozart Requiem.  On Friday, a chamber orchestra will be available for a final coaching on the Requiem.

Participants may register as conducting fellows (with podium time) for $500 (limited to 12 participants), or as workshop observers for $300 (unlimited enrollment). Additionally, participants can get Pennsylvania Commonwealth Act 48 credits, and may register for college credits (3) at an additional cost. Registration will open January 31, 2014.

Click here for a brochure about the Symposium. For more information, contact Dr. DeVenney at 

Our Guest Artists:  Vance George, recognized internationally as one of America’s leading choral conductors, is  Director Emeritus of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, hailed as one of the finest symphony choruses in the world. He has accepted four Grammy awards on behalf of the Orchestra and Chorus, including those for Best Performance of a Choral Work (for Orff’s Carmina burana and Brahms’ German Requiem) and Best Classical Album (for a collection of Stravinsky’s music including PerséphoneThe Firebird, and Le Sacre du printemps; and, in 2004, for Mahler’s Symphony No. 3). Vance George has prepared the SFO Chorus for many acclaimed recordings, including those of Grieg’s incidental music for Peer Gynt, two recordings of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (with Michael Tilson Thomas recording, and an earlier recording under Herbert Blomstedt’s direction), choral works of Brahms, Mahler‘s Third Symphony and Das klagende Lied, Stravinsky’sPerséphone, selections from Berlioz’s Lélio, and John Adams’s Harmonium. The Chorus is also heard under Vance George’s direction on two Delos CD’s, Christmas by the Bay, which received a Grammy nomination for Best Crossover Recording of 1999, and the highly acclaimedVoices 1999/2000: A Choral Journey Through the 20th Century. In February 2001, the Chorus made its Carnegie Hall debut, performing Stravinsky and Mahler with the Orchestra. As a guest conductor, Vance George has led performances of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor, theSaint John and Saint Matthew Passions; Beethoven’s Missa solemnis; Haydn’s Creation; Duruflé’s Requiem; Poulenc’s Gloria; Stravinsky‘s Symphony of Psalms; and the Verdi Requiem. In recent seasons he has appeared with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, Spokane, Akron, Indianapolis, Salzburg Symphonies, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and at the Berkshire Choral Festival and the Ventura Bach Festival. In 1995, for the United Nations-sponsored tour commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of the World War II, Mr. George served as Chorus Director for performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 by the Asian Youth Chorus and Orchestra in Taiwan, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and five US cities. Vance George’s work embodies the legacy of the great maestros he has known as protégé and colleague, especially Robert Shaw, Julius Herford, Margaret Hillis, Robert Page, Otto Werner-Mueller, and Mary Oyer. He is highly regarded as a teacher of conducting and has presented master-classes and workshops throughout the USA, including Alaska and Hawaii. He has taught in the USA, Canada, and India. In 1997 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Kent State University, and in 1999 Chorus America presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He has served on the board of Chorus America and the choral panel for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sharon J. Paul is Professor of Music, Chair of Vocal and Choral Studies, and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Oregon, where she teaches graduate courses in choral conducting, repertoire, and pedagogy, and conducts the Chamber Choir and University Singers.

From 1984 to 1992, Dr. Paul served as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at California State University, Chico, where she directed a large choral program and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in conducting, chora literature, and the humanities. In 1991 Dr. Paul received the Outstanding Teacher Award at CSU, Chico.  Dr. Paul served as Artistic Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and conductor of Chorissima and Virtuose, the organization’s acclaimed performance ensembles, from 1992 to July 2000. Under her leadership, the chorus released four compact discs, premiered major works by composers such as Chen Yi and Jake Heggie, represented the United States at four international festivals, and performed at the California Music Educators Association’s state conference, the American Choral Directors Association’s Western Division conference, and the International Society for Music Education’s international conference. Dr. Paul appeared on screen with members of Chorissima in the film What Dreams May Come, and conducted SFGC singers for the soundtrack of The Talented Mr. Ripley. In June 2000 the SFGC was the first youth chorus to win the Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence, a national honor presented by Chorus America. In the same year they were also awarded an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. Dr. Paul has presented interest sessions at regional, state, division, national, and international music conferences. She appears frequently as adjudicator, clinician, and honor choir director throughout the country, with recent engagements in Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Washington, California, and Hawaii. University of Oregon choirs under her direction have performed at the National Association for Music Education’s state and divisional conferences, and at ACDA Northwestern Division conferences. In May 2013, the UO Chamber Choir, under Paul’s direction, won the Fleischmann Trophy at the Cork International Choral Festival. In April 2011, the UO Chamber Choir, again under her direction, took top honors in two categories (Renaissance/Baroque and Chamber Choir) at the 12th International Tallinn Choir Festival in Tallinn, Estonia.


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