Spoleto Festival USA General Director Nigel Redden and Festival Director of Choral Activities Joe Miller today announced the formation of the Spoleto Festival USA Chorus, a new professional choir that builds upon the Festival’s longstanding tradition of exceptional choral music. The Festival Chorus aligns with Spoleto Festival USA’s mission to further the artistic advancement of young professional performers and expands this vision to attract and present a broad spectrum of singers. Each season, the vocal fellows will perform major choral works; serve as the choir for Spoleto’s mainstage operas, with select singers covering both large and small roles; and take part in special projects, such as Music in Time concerts.
“For many years, young artists in the Westminster Choir served as the Festival’s resident chorus, first under the direction of Joseph Flummerfelt and subsequently with Joe Miller,” says Redden. “Young singers have always been an integral and beloved part of the Festival’s fabric, and these exquisite voices will continue to fill Charleston’s performance halls for years to come.”
Miller, who, outside of Spoleto Festival USA, also directs the choral program at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, says he is “thrilled to initiate this new chapter in Spoleto Festival USA’s choral history. There are few professional vocal programs that compare to the opportunities that choristers receive at Spoleto, especially in a festival setting. Opening these doors to emerging singers across the country will not only embolden their careers and provide them invaluable platforms from which to grow, but the Festival’s vocal brilliance will increase, too.”
The structure of the Festival Chorus follows that of the successful Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, led by Festival Resident Conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities John Kennedy and assembled anew each year through a robust audition tour. With the participation of both returning and new musicians, the Festival’s Orchestra takes on a dynamic new identity each season, which reflects the diverse scope of artistry, versatility, and musicianship of its ensemble members.
Like the Orchestra, the number of ensemble members selected for the Festival Chorus will shift each season depending on the program and repertory. Miller says he is searching for singers with broad and versatile skillsets, reflecting the work they will perform. Interested candidates can apply online at spoletousa.org; auditions will be held in person in October and November in four cities: Cincinnati (October 23), New York (November 6), Houston (November 12), and Charleston (November 13). Digital auditions can be arranged for those unable to travel. The more than 50 inaugural vocal fellows will perform a variety of repertory during the 2022 season, including the world premiere of Omar.