Conductor Harold Rosenbaum is always on the move. In addition to concerts, tours, residencies, collaborations and recordings with his choirs, he has launched several new projects and programs, and is planning others. In 2014 he founded The Harold Rosenbaum Choral Conducting Institute at the University at Buffalo, where he directs the choirs and runs the graduate program in choral conducting. The institute sponsors 1-, 3-, and 5-day workshops and has expanded to Columbia University and Adelphi University, with others coming soon. I recently asked him about his latest projects and initiatives.
Jeffrey James: Tell me about your ChoralFest USA project.
Harold Rosenbaum: I recently created ChoralFest USA – A Celebration of American Choral Music. This event, which we plan to make an annual event, will be held at Symphony Space on Broadway and 95th Street in Manhattan, and will feature a dozen or more choirs from the New York region and beyond, singing in a free marathon concert. We’ve selected the choirs by either application or invitation. Audience members may come and go, or remain the entire time. Towards the conclusion of the concert, my New York Virtuoso Singers, ChoralFest USA's resident professional choir, will perform. The final performance will include the audience and choirs in a sing-along of Randall Thompson’s popular work, Alleluia. The goals are to give choirs public exposure in an important New York City venue, to inspire choir directors to explore the vast repertoire of American choral music for future concerts, and to instill and reinforce a love of American choral music to audience members.
JJ: I understand you’re also pursuing some international initiatives. Tell me about them.
HR: I recently returned from a concert tour of Costa Rica, and am now working with a tour agency and the Costa Rican government to create an annual Choral Festival down there. I’ve organized singers to join many others from around the world in a performance in Haydn’s own cathedral in Vienna this summer under the baton of the conductor of the Vienna Boys’ Choir. If you are interested in joining either as a singer or non-singer (since the trip will be expanded for a cultural tour of Vienna and nearby places), contact me at my e-mail address.
JJ: You have a long history of performing new music. Anything new for composers?
HR: If you are a choral composer wishing to submit a composition to The New York Virtuoso Singers’ annual competition, you can go to www.nyvirtuoso.org/competition for details. There is no entrance fee. We’ve also expanded our ongoing commissioning program to include ten new compositions per year. I’ve commissioned more than 70 works to date, and NYVS has appeared on seven commercial CDs over the past two years, so I feel proud of what we’ve been able to contribute to American music.
JJ: I hear you also have two books in the works.
HR: I’m currently working on two books, one about choral conducting from my perspective and many years of experience, and the other an autobiography.
JJ: Anything else we should know about?
HR: The next residency with my all-professional New York Virtuoso Singers will be at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut this Spring. More to come!!
More about ChoralFest USA at www.choralfestusa.org.
More about the Harold Rosenbaum Choral Conducting Institute at www.haroldrosenbaum.com/institute.
Jeffrey James runs Jeffrey James Arts Consulting, a full-ervice arts agency dedicated to management and public relations.