We are proud to announce the judges for the 2017 Ole Miss Choral Festival!
Connie Drosakis is currently in her 30th year of teaching (currently in her sixteenth year at Bak MSOA). Prior to teaching at the Bak Middle School of the Arts, Connie taught at Christa McAuliffe Middle School for fourteen years. She received the Bachelor and Master of Music Education/Choral Conducting degrees from Florida State University. At FSU, Connie was the recipient of the Irving Cooper Memorial Scholarship in Choral Music Education.
Her choruses have been selected to perform with the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of James Judd, and in festival choruses under the direction of Doreen Rao and Henry Leck. Under her directorship, all four Choral Groups have received straight superior ratings for 18 consecutive years at the Florida Vocal Association’s Music Performance Assessments. In addition, her choruses have received high praise and several awards at middle and high school festivals and competitions both nationally and internationally. Choruses under her direction have also performed at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, as well as Southern Division and National Conventions of the American Choral Directors Association. Most recently the 7th and 8th Grade Girls Chorus performed at the 2011 National ACDA Convention in Chicago. In January of 2015, Ms. Drosakis conducted the Florida All-State High School Women’s Chorus. Ms. Drosakis is an active adjudicator and clinician for district evaluation festivals and county honor choirs throughout the states of Florida and Alabama. She has conducted All-State Choirs in North Carolina, Alabama and Missouri. She has served as the State Middle School Chair for the Florida Vocal Association and Membership Chair as well as President for the Florida State Chapter of ACDA. Ms. Drosakis holds membership in several professional organizations, including Florida Music Educator’s Association, Music Educator’s National Conference and American Choral Director’s Association.
Kenneth Fulton, is professor emeritus at Louisiana State University, where he was the Sanders Alumni Professor of Choral Studies and Chair of the Division of Ensembles and Conducting in the College of Music and Dramatic Arts at Louisiana State University, where he conducted the LSU A Cappella Choir for the twenty-seven years.
During his tenure at LSU, he taught undergraduate and graduate choral conducting, literature, and methods as well as guiding graduate degrees in choral conducting, founded the LSU Chamber Singers, conducted various choral organizations, held two endowed professorships at LSU, been named as one of LSU’s Distinguished Professors, and in January 2006, received the Earleene Sanders Alumni Professorship, one of the university’s most prestigious endowed teaching professorships. He served as Chorusmaster for the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus for fifteen years and for seven years was Artistic Director/Conductor for the Linz International Choral Festival in Linz, Austria where he annually conducted performances with the Festival Orchestra and Chorus. He is editor for the Kenneth Fulton Choral Series published by Alliance Music Corporation.
Fulton has conducted performances in some of the most prestigious performance venues in the world including Carnegie Hall in New York, Symphony Hall in Boston, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Mozarteum, and the Brucknerhaus in Austria. In the summer of 2011, he served as primary conductor and teacher for performances and master classes at the prestigious International Music Festival in Campina Grande, Brazil. He has conducted the LSU A Cappella Choir in invitational performances in Notre Dame (Paris) and the Vatican (Rome), and in six successful European tours of the Netherlands, France, Germany, England, Wales, Scotland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Switzerland. Prominent performances by his choirs include appearances for three national and seven divisional ACDA Conventions, a national MENC convention as well as performances for national meetings of the College Music Society, the Sonneck Society, the American Musicological Society, the American Society of University Composers, and the International Dvorak Association in Prague, Czech Republic.Fulton has conducted invitational clinics including all-state, and Honor Festival choruses, conducting master classes, and conductor/teacher workshops in forty-two different states and Brazil, as well as in Belgium, Austria, and Germany. He has published articles on the choral music of William Walton, Don Carlo Gesualdo, and William Byrd in the Choral Journal and the AGO Magazine and served for six years as an editor of the National Editorial Board for the Choral Journal. He has held a wide variety of professional offices and is a past President of the Southern Division of the American Choral Directors Association, the Texas Choral Directors Association and the Louisiana ACDA.
The graduate program in choral conducting was begun by Dr. Fulton in 1985 upon his arrival on the LSU campus. As of this Spring, there have been 34 graduates with the DMA (Doctor of Music Arts) in Choral Conducting and 63 graduates in the MM (Master of Music) in Choral Conducting. Recognized internationally as an outstanding program in choral conducting, graduates of this program now hold choral positions at all levels of choral music from secondary public schools to college/university positions in thirty states and several foreign countries.
Dr. Fulton holds advanced degrees from Texas Tech University (MME – Ph.D) and an undergraduate BME from the University of North Texas. He has held appointments at LSU in Baton Rouge, Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State University) in San Marcos, University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Texas Tech University in Lubbock, and in public school choral music.
GRAMMY®-nominated conductor James Jordan is recognized and praised around the musical world as one of America’s pre-eminent conductors, writers and innovators in choral music. He was described as a “visionary” by The Choral Journal, which cited his book Evoking Sound as a “must read.” The most published musician/author in the world, his 35 books form the canon for teaching of conductors and choirs world wide. At Westminster Choir College he is professor and senior conductor, and conducts Westminster Schola Cantorum and the internationally acclaimed Westminster Williamson Voices.
Dr. Jordan has studied with the legendary conductors and scholars of the past 40 years, including Elaine Brown, Wilhelm Ehmann, Frauke Haasemann, Volker Hempfling and the renowned music psychologist Edwin Gordon. His career as a conductor began as a finalist in the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition with The Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy.
He has made three recordings of the music of James Whitbourn with the Westminster Williamson Voices on the Naxos label, which have garnered wide critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Gramophone hailed him as a conductor of “forceful and intimate choral artistry,” and regarding the GRAMMY-nominated recording of Annelies, Choir and Organ wrote, “Jordan’s instinctive understanding of the score makes this a profound and emotionally charged experience.” The Westminster Williamson Voices has been acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic by reviewers and composers alike for its compelling sound and artistry. A friend to many of the world’s leading composers, Dr. Jordan has premiered more than 40 choral works by the world’s leading composers, among them Jaakko Mantyjaarvi, Blake Henson, Gerald Custer, Thomas LaVoy, Cortlandt Matthews, Dan Forrest, Paul Mealor, Dan Forrest and James Whitbourn.
Dr. Jordan’s career and publications have been devoted to innovative educational changes in the choral art, which have been embraced around the world. His most recent publications, Discovering Chant, Sound as Teacher and The Musician’s Breath have received wide critical acclaim. His residencies, master classes and guest conducting have taken him throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2015, conducting the New York premiere of Paul Mealor’s Stabat Mater. He is also the conductor/artistic director of a new professional choir, The Same Stream, a community of singers with a shared Westminster experience. Learn more at Thesamestreamchoir.com. In November 2015, Dr. Jordan conducted the world premiere of Paul Mealor’s First Symphony: Passiontide in Scotland.
In 2012, he received the Iorio Research Prize from Rider University. His exclusive publisher is GIA Music (Giamusic.com), Chicago. He is executive editor of the Evoking Sound Choral Series (GIA), whose extensive catalog of almost 200 works stands as among the largest and most comprehensive choral series in world. The most recent publications, Discovering Chant, Sound as Teacher and The Musician’s Breath have received wide critical acclaim.
His residencies, master classes and guest conducting have taken him throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Among the institutions where he has taught master classes are The Curtis Institute, Rhoades College, the University at North Texas, the University of Buffalo, Temple University, the University of Arizona, the University of Aberdeen, the Gordon Gesellschaft Duetschland and the U.S. Army Soldiers Chorus. He has conducted more than 30 all-state choirs, and in 2009 he was named to the choral panel for The National Endowment for the Arts. Dr. Jordan serves as director of the Westminster Conducting Institute, one of the nation’s leading summer programs for the training and education of conductors. In the summer of 2013 he inaugurated, with Co-Director James Whitbourn, the Choral Institute at Oxford, a unique partnership with St. Stephen’s House, one of the Halls of Oxford University. Since its establishment in 2013, this program has quickly established itself as one of the world’s leading programs for the teaching of choral artistry to choral conductors.
James Jordan has been honored as a distinguished alumnus of Temple University, where he has been inducted into the University’s Hall of Fame. In 2016, he received the distinguished alumni medal from Susquehanna University. He was awarded the distinguished Doctor of Music by the University of Aberdeen in Scotland in 2014 to honor his artistry and contributions to choral music throughout the world. The University, established in 1485, has awarded degrees throughout its history to only two Americans: Dr. Jordan and Morten Lauridsen. He shares this honor with Gustav Holst, Benjamin Britten and Dame Joan Sutherland.
2016-2017 will see the publication of three new books: Inside the Choral Rehearsal, a landmark book applying music learning theory to the choral rehearsal, Conductor as Prism and The Anatomy of Tone with Westminster colleagues Sean McCarther and Kathy Price, and a new expanded edition of the widely acclaimed text The Choral Warm-Up published by GIA Publications. Dr. Jordan’s lecture/teaching schedule and writings are detailed on his publisher’s website, http://giamusic.com/jordan.