Organist, conductor and composer Stephan Casurella was appointed director of music at Christ Church Cathedral in 2009. In addition to overseeing all aspects of music for the cathedral’s rich worship life, he conducts the cathedral choirs, shares organ playing duties with the associate director of music and coordinates a busy concert schedule. Prior to his tenure at Christ Church Cathedral, Stephan held positions at various churches and served as a college music instructor.
Stephan was born in England, where he began studying piano, organ and music composition at an early age. After moving to the United States, he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in both piano performance and music composition. He completed a doctor of musical arts degree in church music (organ emphasis) at the University of Kansas in 2009.
Stephan has appeared as a soloist with several ensembles, has conducted numerous choirs and is a published composer who has written for a wide range of media. Stephan and his wife, Rae, live in Cincinnati with their sons, Ryan and Aidan.
Fernando Malvar-Ruiz is the Litton-Lodal Music Director of The American Boychoir. He leads the choir annually in over one hundred performances throughout the United States and tours with them internationally. During his tenure, The American Boychoir has performed for the 9/11 Memorial Service broadcast live on CNN around the world, the Academy Awards, the YouthAIDS Benefit Gala and the US Open Tennis Tournament. He prepares the choir for regular performances with some of the finest orchestras in the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw, The Staatskapelle Berlin, The Philadelphia Orchstra, and has worked with such illustrious conductors as James Levine, Pierre Boulez, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, and others.
A native of Spain, Mr. Malvar-Ruiz began his musical studies at the age of ten. After earning his undergraduate degree in piano performance and music theory from the Reál Conservatorio Superior de Música in Madrid, he completed his Kodály certification in Kécskemet, Hungary, where he was awarded the Sharolta Kodály scholarship. He holds a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Ohio State University, and has completed all coursework toward a doctoral degree in musical arts from the University of Illinois.
Widely sought after internationally as a guest conductor, lecturer, clinician, and recognized expert in the adolescent male evolving voice, Mr. Malvar-Ruiz has guest conducted throughout the world including the Kodály convention in Australia, the World Children’s Choir in Hong Kong, the Czech Republic, Bermuda and the Des Moines International Children’s Choral Festival. For 11 years, he instructed the summer master’s Program in Kodály at Capital University and since 2008 has served on the faculty of the Internacional De Verano de Direccion Coral y Pedagogoia Musical in Las Palmas, Spain. Mr. Malvar-Ruiz also regularly conducts honor choirs and choral festivals throughout the United States for ACDA and OAKE regional and national conventions.
As Director of Vocal Studies, Fred Meads trains choristers of The American Boychoir School through private vocal instruction and classes in music theory. He conducts the Training Choir daily and prepares its members for the musical and social demands of the advanced Concert Choir. Previously, he served as Artistic Director of the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir from 1999-2009.
Mr. Meads has directed honor choirs in several states and presented workshops for the Indiana Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association and Organization of American Kodály Educators National Conference in Dallas. Last spring, he traveled to Hong Kong to present workshop sessions for public school teachers and the YIP Children’s Choir. He served on the board of Indiana Choral Directors Association and currently is the boy choir representative for New Jersey-ACDA. He also serves as the Children’s Choir Director at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City and accompanist for the Princeton Girl Choir.
Mr. Meads received the Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Ithaca College, NY and the Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He was selected as a participant in the Chorus America Master Class in San Francisco and the International Choral Conductor’s Symposium in Toronto. Further vocal studies include attending the Brevard and Bay View Music Festivals. He completed his Kodály training at Capital University in Columbus, OH. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Excellence in Arts Education award presented by Arts United of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
JOE MILLER | Director of Choral Activities, Westminster Choir College
Joe Miller is conductor of two of America’s most renowned choral ensembles – the Westminster Choir and the Westminster Symphonic Choir. As director of choral activities at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, N.J., he also oversees an extensive choral program that includes eight ensembles.
His recordings with the Westminster Choir have garnered critical praise. His debut CD, Flower of Beauty, was described by American Record Guide as setting “the gold standard.” Noël, a collection of French Christmas music recorded at New York’s Cathedral of Saint John the Divine with renowned mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore, was the centerpiece of a 2010 national public radio holiday program.
His 2012-2013 season with the Westminster Choir will include a concert tour of the upper Midwest, several national radio broadcasts, performances at the American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Dallas, concerts in Princeton and their annual residency at the Spoleto Festival USA.
His season with the Symphonic Choir will include collaborations with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin (Verdi’s Requiem and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion); the London Philharmonia and Esa Pekka Salonen (Berg’s Wozzeck); the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and Gustavo Dudamel (Villa-Lobos’ Choros No. 10 and Estevez Cantata criolla); and West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim (Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9). He will also conduct the Westminster Symphonic Choir and the Westminster Festival Orchestra in a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah in Princeton.
Dr. Miller is also founder and conductor of the Westminster Chamber Choir, a program that offers professional-level choral and vocal artists the opportunity to explore challenging works for two weeks each summer on the Westminster campus in Princeton. He also leads the annual Westminster Choral Festival, which welcomes singers and conductors to study and perform a major choral work with orchestra.
In demand as a guest conductor and clinician, his recent residencies have included the Berlin Radio Symphony Chorus, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music and Temple University. This season he will serve as conductor of the Ohio All State Choir and headliner for the Maryland Music Educators Conference, and he will return for a second residency with the Berlin Radio Symphony Chorus.
Reflecting on the role that choral music plays in the nation’s cultural life, he said at a Chorus America conference, “Choral music in the United States has seen unprecedented growth in the past several decades. The influence of our past leaders is part of our fabric, but we must seize this time to create a new vision based on the foundation that has been laid before us. We must keep the traditions but be willing to change in order to build a vision for the future.”
Dr. Miller earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in choral conducting from the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and voice from the University of Tennessee.
EVANS MIRAGEAS | Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director, Cincinnati Opera
Evans Mirageas is currently The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera and the Vice-President for Artistic Planning for The Atlanta Symphony. Evans Mirageas Consulting clients at present include l‘Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, The Mann Center for the Performing Arts (summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra) and the Memphis Symphony. Individuals include conductor Sir Roger Norrington and violinist Alexandre da Costa.
Evans’ thirty-five year plus experience in the arts has also included symphony administration with The Boston Symphony, radio production with WFMT, Chicago. Evans is a graduate of the University of Michigan and a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Evans and his partner Thomas Dreeze founded Evans Mirageas Consulting in 1999 following a seven-year appointment as Senior Vice-President of Artists and Repertoire for Decca Records in London, England. Evans offers:
Strategic and artistic planning for arts organizations and individuals. This can include short term consultancies while vacancies are being filled and longer term relationships to boost organizational profiles both nationally and internationally
Media strategy including – audio and video recording production and distribution, internet presence
Conductor and Executive Director searches
General career counseling
Lectures, pre and post-concert talks, podcasts and program book writing
Evans has been a presenter and lecturer at New York’s Mostly Mozart, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, St. Louis and Milwaukee. His record production credits include releases on Decca, Innova, AVIE and Warner Classics. His executive and artistic search activities have included the Cincinnati Symphony, The Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Chicago Sinfonietta.
CHRISTOPHER SHEPARD | Artistic Director, Dessoff Choirs & Worcester Chorus
In recent years, conductor Chris Shepard has been closely associated with the choral music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He founded the Sydneian Bach Choir and Orchestra in Sydney, Australia, and was music director of BACH 2010, a project to perform all of Bach’s choral cantatas. Under his direction, the ensemble performed over seventy-five cantatas, as well as the two Passions, B Minor Mass, and Christmas Oratorio. A Sydney reviewer wrote of the cantata series that “these well-attended events, using a fine choir and perceptive soloists, are high points in our musical terrain.”
In addition to the music of J.S. Bach, Chris has conducted many staples of the choral-orchestral repertoire, and he has commissioned and premiered a number of new choral works in both Australia and America. Chris serves as Music Director of two of America’s most venerable choral ensembles: the Worcester Chorus in Worcester, Massachusetts; and the Dessoff Choirs in New York City. With the Dessoff Choirs, Chris has prepared the choir for performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall, including a performance of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe with the Juilliard Orchestra under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Since returning to America, Chris has also been a guest conductor at Emmanuel Church in Boston, a church renowned for its three-decade Bach cantata project. He currently serves as Music Director of St John’s Episcopal Church in Stamford, CT. Chris has conducted avocational choirs for more than two decades, including the Stamford MasterSingers, Greater Middletown Chorale and Waterbury Chorale in Connecticut.
A committed music educator, Chris is serving as Interim Choral Director at the College of the Holy Cross for the 2011-12 school year. Teaching has long been a focus of his career; from 1996 to 2008, he served as Director of Music at Sydney Grammar School, one of Australia’s most prominent high schools, and before moving to Sydney, Chris led the choral program at the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, where his Collegium Musicum appeared at the 1994 ACDA Eastern Division convention. The Litchfield County Children’s Choir, which he founded in 1990, continues to thrive after nearly two decades. Since 2004, Chris has been Music Director of the Hotchkiss Summer Portals Chamber Music Program, an intensive chamber music program for advanced young players and singers from around the world. He conducts the chamber orchestra and choir, serving on the faculty alongside such guest ensembles as the Shanghai Quartet, the Brentano String Quartet and Cantus. Over the last two decades, Chris has given several presentations for the American Choral Directors’ Association and has conducted several high school regional festival choirs in New England.
With SBS-TV, an Australian national public television network, Chris presented two documentaries: Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and From Mozart to Morrison with eminent Australian jazz musician James Morrison. The Melbourne Age recommended the Mozart documentary as a “novel, thoughtfully produced hour”. In 2000, Chris was chorusmaster with the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs for their performance in the Olympics Opening Ceremony. Throughout his years in Sydney, Chris worked with a wide range of school and community choirs as conductor and clinician. He recently appeared with Alice Parker as a judge for Together in Song, a choral festival broadcast live on western Massachusetts public television.
Chris holds degrees from the Hartt School and the Yale School of Music, where he studied choral conducting with Marguerite Brooks. He is currently completing his PhD in Musicology at the University of Sydney, researching the performance history of Bach’s B Minor Mass in 20th century America.