When Simon Carrington resigned last spring from his duties as director of choral activities at Kansas University, many wondered who would lead the singing ensembles and choirs during the time it would take to fill the vacancy.
James Daugherty, acting director of choral activities, has the answer.
Four choral conductors of national and international prominence will be on campus for residencies throughout this academic year. They will direct the KU Chamber Choir and Collegium Musicum in public concerts and give various master classes and lectures.
The guest conductors are:
Robert Sund, professor of choral studies at the College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, and conductor of the internationally renowned Orphei Dranger men's choir. Sund's residency will culminate with a concert of Scandinavian music performed by the KU Chamber Choir and Collegium Musicum in September.
Hilary Apfelstadt, director of choral activities and coordinator of graduate conducting studies at Ohio State University. She will on the KU campus in October.
Maurice Casey, a KU alumnus and past president of the American Choral Directors Assn. He will conduct the Chamber Choir in February.
Andre Thomas, who maintains an active conducting career throughout the world while serving as director of choral activities at Florida State University. His residency is in April.
"In addition to their status as first-tier conductors, these folks are all superb teachers," Daugherty said. "This year will be a fabulous learning experience for our students. These residencies also ensure that our choral program will continue to advance and prosper while a search is underway for Professor Carrington's replacement."
Daugherty, who is starting his fourth year at KU, said he and graduate teaching assistants will prepare the choirs for the guest conductors' visits.
"One of the beauties of having these guests is that the graduate students will have a unique opportunity to work closely with these folks," he said. "The networking will be very valuable."
Any Kansas University student can audition for KU's singing groups.
Auditions are during the first week of each semester, and typically involve placing singers with whatever group best fits their voice. Groups include the KU Chamber Choir, Collegium Musicum, Concert Choir, University Singers, Men's Glee Club, Women's Chorale and various vocal jazz groups.
"About 300 students are involved in the groups," Daugherty said, adding that "there's a place for everyone" even though they may not be star-quality singers.