Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Meet the University of South Carolina Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr. Larry Wyatt

The Concert Choir is the University of South Carolina’s most select choral ensemble. The Concert Choir achieved international recognition under the direction of the late Arpad Darazs and continues the tradition of excellence under the direction of Dr. Larry Wyatt.
In 1987, they performed for the visit of Pope John Paul II, and in 1988 were invited to perform three concerts with the Jerusalem Symphony under Lawrence Foster, Sergiu Comissiona, and Krystof Penderecki. Under Maestro Penderecki, they performed his St. Luke Passion. In 1990, they traveled to Spain and performed Handel’s Messiah in a series of concerts.
In the spring of 1992, the USC Concert Choir was one of seventeen university ensembles selected to perform on the Mozart Bicentennial “Masses in Concert” series in Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center. They followed that performance with a highly successful presentation of J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion for the Southern Division Convention of the American Choral Directors Association. In the summer of 1994, they served as choir-in-residence for the Classical Music Seminar in Eisenstadt, Austria.
In 1998 the choir performed again on the Southern Division Convention of ACDA and during the summer they toured Germany and the Czech Republic. The highlight of that tour was a performance in the Thomaskirche at Leipzig, the church served by J.S. Bach during the latter part of his life. In March of 2000 selected members of the choir, along with the Left Bank Jazz Band, traveled to London and Paris to perform selections from the Sacred Concerts by Duke Ellington. On tour in December and January 2001-2002, the Concert Choir performed in Vienna, Salzburg and Munich. In 2004 they toured Italy and Bulgaria presenting J.A.C. Redford's oratorio The Martyrdom of Polycarp. The choir traveled to Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai in the summer of 2008 and performed with several other choirs in a prelude to the Summer Olympics. In the spring of 2009, they performed the world premiere of Songs of Love and War by Taylor Harding, composer and dean of the School of Music.
The choir traveled to Memphis in March of 2010 to perform William Averitt’s The Passion According to St. Matthew in a feature concert at the Southern Division Convention of the American Choral Directors Association.

Dr. Larry Wyatt is in his 23rd year as Director of Choral Studies at the University of South Carolina. In addition to directing the Concert Choir, he supervises the master’s and doctoral programs in choral conducting and the Graduate Vocal Ensemble.
Dr. Wyatt holds degrees from Murray State University, The University of North Texas, and Florida State University. Prior to coming to USC, he served as Choral Director and Coordinator of the Vocal Department at Loyola University in New Orleans. While in New Orleans he founded the New Orleans Symphony Chorus and prepared them for performances of over forty major works with internationally recognized conductors. In addition to the New Orleans Symphony, his choirs have sung with the Houston, Atlanta, Charleston, South Carolina Philharmonic and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestras. He has prepared choruses for Robert Shaw, Lawrence Foster, Krzysztof Penderecki, Maxim Schostakovich, Robert Page, David Stahl, Philippe Entremont, Leonard Slatkin, Sergiu Comissiona, Andrew Massey, James Paul, Nicholas Smith and of course, Donald Portnoy. He has conducted and served as a clinician in Mexico, Argentina, Bulgaria and Canada. In February 2002, he conducted Vaughan-Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem in his third engagement at Carnegie Hall, and in February of 2005 he conducted Beethoven's Mass in C in the same venue.
In addition to his work at USC, Dr. Wyatt is founder and director of Colla Voce, a community chamber ensemble of professional musicians that began in spring 2001. He is active as a clinician, guest conductor and adjudicator, and has served as president of the Southern Division of the American Choral Directors Association.

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