Miguel Ángel Felipe, currently visiting director of choral activities and assistant professor of music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, has been named artistic director of the Providence Singers. Felipe will begin his tenure as the Singers’ fifth artistic director on July 1, 2011, succeeding Andrew Clark.
At its meeting early this evening (Wednesday, March 16, 2011), the Board of Trustees of the Providence Singers voted unanimously to appoint Miguel Ángel Felipe as the Singers’ fifth artistic director.
“I have spoken with Miguel and informed him of the Board’s decision, and he has enthusiastically accepted the appointment,” Board Chair Tony Palms reported to the Board after a brief recess following the vote. Felipe will begin his duties July 1, 2011, succeeding current artistic director Andrew Clark.
Felipe, a conductor and educator based in Boston, is concluding his service as artistic director of the Boston Choral Ensemble, a position he has held since 2004. He is currently visiting director of choral activities and assistant professor of music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
“Miguel Felipe is an energetic and meticulous choral conductor,” said Allison McMillan, executive director of the Singers. “His commitment to performance excellence and to the full choral repertoire and his strong interest in commissioning and presenting new work will ensure the continued growth and development of the Providence Singers.”
A seven-member selection committee of Singers trustees and former Board officers began a national search last fall, following Clark’s appointment as director of choral activities at Harvard University. Four finalists for the position each conducted a full weekly rehearsal during January and February, and the committee received comments from more than 100 chorus members. Advisers to the committee included Clark, the Singers current artistic director; Francisco Noya, resident conductor of the Rhode Island Philharmonic; and Michele Holt, past president of the American Choral Directors Association and music director of the Junior Providence Singers.
“The Providence Singers has met some immensely talented choral leaders during this search — thoughtful, dedicated and articulate people who understand the power and potential of choral music,” Palms said. “All four final candidates were enthusiastically received by the chorus, and I thank them for their sincere interest in the future of our organization.
“I also want to thank the selection committee and its chair, Carolyn Duby, both for their dedication to the task and for executing such a comprehensive and well-informed search process,” Palms said. “The committee’s aggressive recruitment of member perspectives was key to selecting a new artistic director who will advance the Singers mission of performance excellence, choral education, and community involvement.”
Miguel Ángel Felipe
Miguel Felipe, a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he earned a diploma in piano. He earned a Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude, at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. He continued his studies in conducting at Boston University with Ann Howard Jones, David Hoose, Craig Smith, and Joseph Flummerfelt, and received his Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting in 2009.
As an educator, Felipe has served interim appointments at Mt. Holyoke College, Brown University, and Oberlin College, among others. He has led community choirs in Maine, Massachusetts, and Ohio, and has served as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the northeast United States and in Indonesia.
Felipe is a strong advocate for new music. In 2007, he established the Boston Choral Ensemble Commission Competition, which receives hundreds of new scores every year and awards a commission and première during the Boston Choral Ensemble’s regular concert season. He is a researcher, teacher, and writer whose interests include music of the late Renaissance and early Baroque, choral innovations in Indonesia, choral societies as agents of cultural development, and conducting pedagogy. Felipe is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, the International Federation for Choral Music, and Pi Kappa Lambda.
“I’m thrilled to accept this honor. The Singers has a four-decade performance tradition and extraordinary possibilities for the future,” Felipe said. “My passions have long been in connecting community with the transcendent and moving power of music, and I believe the Singers’ strong mission and my own interests are a perfect match. Many thanks to the Board and its search committee and to Artistic Director Andrew Clark for maintaining and building such a strong tradition. I am eager to begin our work in Providence.”
The Providence Singers
A nonprofit performing arts organization now in its 39th season, the Providence Singers fosters public engagement in the choral art through performances of contemporary and historic works, new music commissions, education programs, creative collaborations, and recordings.
The Providence Singers regularly performs with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and has performed regionally with the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Kronos Quartet, and the Dave Brubeck Quartet (at the 50th anniversary Newport Jazz Festival and at Lincoln Center) and in association with FirstWorks Providence, among others.
In 2004, as part of its educational and outreach efforts, it established the Junior Providence Singers, an auditioned choir of the area’s best high school singers. Through its Wachner Fund for New Music, the Singers commissions and premières new works for chorus.
In 2007, the Providence Singers was one of seven choral organizations nationwide selected by the National Endowment for the Arts to present an American Masterpieces choral festival. Recording projects have included Lukas Foss’s The Prairie and Dominick Argento’s Jonah and the Whale, both released on the BMOP/sound label.
Artistic directors of the Providence Singers:
- Robert Molison (1971–73)
- Charles Fassett (1973–95)
- Julian Wachner (1996–06)
- Andrew Clark (2006–11)
- Miguel Felipe (2011– )