Dr. Eugene Rogers “preaches the word of the singing conductor.” There is singing, and then there is singing that utilizes technical mastery to communicate the meaning and emotion of a piece. Dr. Rogers calls these leaders who are so deeply connected to sound and its purpose Singing Conductors, and reveals the four characteristics they share in common.
Highlight to Tweet: “The choirs are singing from the inside out. ” – Dr. Eugene Rogers
- The “singing Conductor” is a process by which one approaches making the choral art come alive.
- Singing Conductors lead choirs that sing from the inside out. They are completely aware of the technical aspects of choral music, but also deeply rooted in the understanding of the work.
- There are 4 characteristics of the Singing Conductor:
- they have a heightened sensitivity to building sound
- they emphasize sound for sound’s sake, and also sound that is directly connected to the context of the piece
- they often see technical issues as opportunities for vocal warm ups
- they place a high emphasis on communication and expression
- Think about your process. Look at conductors you admire, and figure out their approach.
Recognized as a leading conductor, pedagogue, and lecturer, Eugene Rogers has appeared throughout the United States as well as in Africa, Canada, China, Singapore, England, Portugal, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Mexico, Spain, and Italy. Recently, Rogers received the Sphinx Medal of Excellence for his commitment to issues of social justice and leadership and conducted the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club in Salt Lake City, Utah at the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). In December 2014, the Naxos recording of Milhaud’s monumental L’Orestie d’Eschyle, on which Rogers served as a chorus master, was nominated for a 2015 GRAMMY® Award (“Best Opera Recording”).
Rogers is currently associate director of choirs at U-M where he teaches undergraduate conducting, conducts the Men’s Glee Club and the University Choir, and is the faculty director of the MPulse Vocal Arts Institute, a national high school summer program. In July, 2018, he will begin his new appointment as the Director of Choirs at Michigan, where he will oversee the graduate choral conducting program and direct the UM Chamber Choir. His past appointments include Macalester College (St. Paul, Minnesota), the Boys Choir of Harlem, Waubonsie Valley High School (Aurora, Illinois), and Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago (formerly the Glen Ellyn Children’s Choir). In 2013, Rogers co-managed the production of the joint CD Ye Shall Have a Song with the Michigan, Yale, and Harvard Glee Clubs, a collaboration celebrating America’s three oldest collegiate choirs.
Notable guest appearances include the Ministry Branch of Education Inaugural World Youth Choir Festival (Singapore); the Lisbon Summerfest Chamber Choir and Festival Chorus; VocalEssence and the Minnesota Public Radio Harmony in the Park; the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) High School Mixed Honor Choir (Luxembourg), the British Columbia Music Education Association Honor Choir; the NAfME All-Northwest High School Mixed Choir; Westminster Chamber Choir (Florence, Italy, and Princeton, New Jersey); Choral Music Experience (London, England); the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia High Schools Biennial Music Festival (Singapore); the Colorado All-State Choir; the Oregon All-State Mixed Choir, the Tlaxcala Mexico Second International Festival of Chamber Choirs; Choirs of America Festival (New York); the Oklahoma State University Choral Festival (Stillwater, Oklahoma); the Florida ACDA High School Mixed Honor Choir; the OAKE (Organization of American Kodály Educators) National Youth Honor Choir; the Alabama Middle School All-State Choir; Chorus America San Francisco Conference; the Illinois ACDA Summer Conference; the ACDA North Central Division Middle School Honor Choir; and the Vocalizze Youth Program in Lisbon. 2016-17 appearances include guest- conducting and conference presentations in Latvia, British Columbia, China, Madrid, Portugal, Singapore, California, Georgia, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Michigan.
In 2015, Mark Foster Publishing began the Eugene Rogers Choral Series, a series featuring emerging composers who specialize in contemporary classical and folk music traditions. In 2011, Rogers traveled to and studied the choral traditions of East Africa (Tanzania) and subsequently published editions of Tanzanian choral music under the Hal Leonard World Music Series. As a singer, Rogers has performed with the World Youth Choir, the Portland Symphonic Choir, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Chorale, and the May Festival Chorus in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In addition to his duties as a conductor, teacher, and singer, Rogers is the first national chair of Diversity Issues for the American Choral Directors Association National Conference, co-artistic director of Portugal’s Lisbon Summer Choral Festival and, in 2010 and 2011, was the artistic director of the Disneyland Hong Kong Winter Choral Festival. He has served as a panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts and currently serves on the boards of Chorus America, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and is the ChoralQuest series editor for the American Composers Forum.
Rogers holds the Bachelor of Arts degree in choral music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in choral conducting from U-M.
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