Monmouth Civic Chorus Announces New Director

The award-winning Monmouth Civic Chorus announced the selection of Ryan Brandau as its new Artistic Director. Dr. Brandau succeeds Dr. Mark Shapiro, who is concluding his 21-year tenure with the Chorus at the end of the 2011-2012 season.

Conductor Ryan James Brandau has enjoyed leading a variety of choral and orchestral ensembles. Dr. Brandau returns to the east coast from California, where he was Artistic Director of the Santa Clara Chorale, Director of Choral Activities at Santa Clara University, and interim Artistic Director of Musae. With the Chorale and the choirs of SCU, he collaborated with the Symphony Silicon Valley.

Prior to these appointments, he was Assistant Director of Choral Activities at Smith College in Northampton, MA; choirmaster of the highly acclaimed all-professional choir of Christ Church, New Haven, CT; and director of the Valley Voices, a chamber chorus in Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley.

He has also worked with the United Girls Choir of North Haven and the Episcopal Church at Yale, served as principal assistant conductor of the Yale Camerata, and taught counterpoint and harmony in the music department at Yale College. As a professional singer, he has performed with ensembles in the US, Europe, and Asia, including the American Bach Soloists, the Arcadia Players, the Yale Schola Cantorum, and the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. He remains active as a choral arranger, composer, and clinician, and his arrangements and compositions have been featured by choral ensembles throughout the US and Europe. Dr. Brandau was recently appointed as Artistic Director of Princeton Pro Musica, in addition to the Monmouth Civic Chorus.

Ryan received the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Musical Arts degrees from the Yale School of Music, where he studied conducting with Simon Carrington and Marguerite Brooks. Prior to pursuing graduate study in conducting, Ryan attended the University of Cambridge in the UK as a Gates Scholar, earning an MPhil in historical musicology. In Cambridge, he founded a women's chamber choir, Conspiratio, and sang with the choirs of Jesus, King's, and Clare Colleges. He received his B.A. in music, magna cum laude, from Princeton University.

Monmouth Civic Chorus President James Scavone, Red Bank, commented, “After an extremely thorough and thoughtful search process, Ryan emerged as the undisputable choice of the search committee. The board happily concurred with the search committee’s recommendation and voted to offer Ryan the position of Artistic Director. We are exhilarated by the new partnership we have formed and confident that Ryan is the best candidate to lead MCC into the future.” Dr. Brandau remarked, “I can think of no opportunity more exciting than to return to the east coast to take the artistic helm of an organization as fine as the Monmouth Civic Chorus and enjoy a long career as its Artistic Director.”

The Monmouth Civic Chorus has been called "close to perfect" (Asbury Park Press), "alive and evocative" (The Star-Ledger) and "exceptional" (Red Bank Green). The Chorus is the proud recipient of the 2008 ASCAP/Chorus America Alice Parker Award, and the 2010 Spinnaker Award for Arts and Culture from the Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce. The group’s next concert features music of Brahms with guest conductor Jason Wirth, on Sunday, May 20 at 4:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church, 255 Harding Road (Tower Hill), Red Bank, NJ.

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