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IU Jacobs School of Music appoints Betsy Burleigh to choral faculty

Nov. 15, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music is pleased to announce that choral conductor Betsy Burleigh will join its faculty as associate professor of music (choral conducting) in January 2013, pending approval of the Trustees of Indiana University.

Burleigh, Betsy
Betsy Burleigh
Print-Quality Photo

"This appointment represents another important step in the evolution of our choral conducting department," said Gwyn Richards, dean of the Jacobs School. "The breadth and wealth of Betsy's experience, the blend of her academic and professional work, her love of teaching, and her passion for the great works of the choral realm, make her an exciting addition. We look forward to the synergy that will inevitably result from her interaction with her new colleagues."

"We're delighted to welcome Betsy Burleigh to the faculty," said William Jon Gray, chair of the Jacobs School's Choral Conducting Department. "Her extensive experience as one of the top choral conductors and educators in the United States makes her a significant addition to our faculty as we continue to develop a unique and forward-looking curriculum. Her experience with the full range of ensembles and repertoire, and especially the large, symphonic choral/orchestral literature, will help ensure our ability to offer the most comprehensive choral training and performance program in the United States -- which encompasses contemporary choral music, early music, a cappella chamber choir repertoire, choral/orchestral repertoire, opera, vocal jazz and popular music, and international choral music."

"It would be an honor to join the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at any time," said Burleigh. "It's a thrill to come in at this particular moment to join with exceptional colleagues in creating a new, broad and forward-looking choral curriculum. We have a unique opportunity to offer students an unparalleled array of choral experiences, with an extraordinary amount of podium time. I've been struck by the experience and the creative, student-centered thinking of my fellow choral faculty and cannot wait to get started."

Burleigh comes to the Jacobs from Boston, where she held the posts of music director of Chorus pro Musica and artistic director of the Providence Singers (R.I.).

She also serves as music director of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, a position she maintains, where she prepares the chorus regularly for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She has led the Mendelssohn in its own concert productions, including performances of Brahms' Requiem, Bach's B-Minor Mass and Rachmaninoff's Vespers. In 2009, she took the Mendelssohn Chamber Singers, a select sub-chorus of 32, to sing an invited performance at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Burleigh served as assistant director of choruses for The Cleveland Orchestra from 1998 until 2009 and as chorus master for Cleveland Opera from 2002 to 2006. She also was director of The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus for eight years.

As guest conductor, Burleigh has led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Akron Symphony, the Canton Symphony and the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Theater engagements have included music direction at Opera Cleveland and the Cleveland Public Theater. Also active as a clinician and festival conductor, she most recently led Cincinnati's October Festival Choir in Haydn's "Theresienmesse."

Burleigh's conducting has been critically acclaimed; her 2012 Chorus pro Musica performance of Haydn's "Creation" was praised in the Boston Globe as an "expansive, poetic reading," and in the Boston Phoenix as "a stirring and elegant, lilting and expansive performance." Her 2010 Chorus pro Musica rendition of Orff's "Carmina burana" was praised as being both "nuanced" and "hair raising." She won the 2000 Northern Ohio Live Achievement Award for best classical/opera performance and conducted the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus on an Emmy Award-winning concert for the 9/11 Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

She has prepared choruses for Manfred Honeck, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Jan Pascal Tortelier, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Andrew Davis, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Anton Coppola, Jane Glover, Jahja Ling, Nicholas McGegan, John Nelson, Yuri Temirkanov and Franz Welser-Möst, among others.

From 1994 to 2010, she was coordinator of choral and vocal music at Cleveland State University, where she achieved the rank of full professor. Her career began in Boston, where she was music director of The Master Singers, the Longy Chamber Singers and the Cambridge Madrigal Singers, and held teaching positions at Tufts University, Clark University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Burleigh holds a doctorate in choral conducting from Indiana University, a master's degree in choral conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Indiana University.

View a video about the programs and new faculty of the Jacobs School's Choral Conducting Department.