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Anton Armstrong Biography

Anton Armstrong

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Living in: United States

Anton Armstrong is the Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Professor of Music at St. Olaf College and Conductor of the St. Olaf Choir. He assumed this position in 1990 following 10 years in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he served on the faculty of Calvin College and conducted the Campus Choir, the Calvin College Alumni Choir and the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus.

A graduate of St. Olaf College, Armstrong earned a Master of Music degree at the University of Illinois and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University. He holds membership in several professional societies, including the American Choral Directors Association, Choristers Guild, Chorus America, and the International Federation for Choral Music. Armstrong also serves as editor of a multicultural choral series for Earthsongs Publications and co-editor of the revised St. Olaf Choral Series for Augsburg Fortress Publishers. He is featured with Andre Thomas on an instructional video on adolescent singers entitled Body, Mind, Spirit, Voice. He is a contributing writer to Volume I of Teaching Music through Performance in Choir and a contributor to Way Over in Beulah Lan' by Andre Thomas.

Armstrong is widely recognized for his work in the area of youth and children's choral music. He served for more than twenty years on the summer faculty of the American Boychoir School, Princeton, New Jersey and conducted the St. Cecilia Youth Chorale, a 75-voice treble chorus based in Grand Rapids, from 1981-90. He has conducted the Troubadours, a 30-voice boys' ensemble of the Northfield Youth Choirs, since 1991. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Boychoir School. In 1998, he began his tenure as founding conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy.

Armstrong conducted the St. Olaf Choir in critically acclaimed solo concert performances at the 59th National Conference of the Music Educators National Conference, the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music, and the 1999 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Chicago, Illinois. In 2005, the St. Olaf Choir shared the stage with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in presenting the finale concert for the national conference of the American Choral Directors Association at the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, California.

He has frequently conducted ensembles and appeared before regional and national gatherings of the American Choral Directors Association, Music Educators National Conference, Choristers Guild, American Guild of Organists, Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, Organization of American Kodaly Educators and the Orff-Schulwerk Association. In 1996 he was a featured clinician at the Fourth World Symposium on Choral Music in Sydney, Australia aned in July 2008 he was a featured clinician at the Eighth World Symposium on Choral Music in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Armstrong is active as a guest conductor and lecturer throughout the world, with speaking engagements in North America, Europe, Scandinavia, Korea, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Venezuela, and the Caribbean. In 2003 he was honored to serve as the first Peter Godfrey Visiting Professor of Choral Music at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and in 2005, he served as the Visiting Housewright Scholar in the School of Music at Florida State University. In recent years he has guest conducted such noted ensembles as the Utah Symphony and Symphony Chorus, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Westminster Choir, the American Boychoir and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He has also collaborated in concert with Bobby McFerrin and Garrison Keillor.

In 1992 Armstrong made his European conducting debut at the International Band and Choir Festival in Brussels, Belgium, and he returned to Vienna, Austria, in 2000 to conduct the 25th anniversary concerts of this festival. He led the St. Olaf Choir on a concert tour of Denmark and Norway in 1993, which included a performance at the Bergen International Festival in Norway and in 1997 he conducted the ensemble in a four-week concert tour to New Zealand and Australia. In 2001 he guided the St. Olaf Choir on a three-week concert tour of Central Europe and returned to Norway with the choir for a three-week performance tour in June 2005 that included a performance for Queen Sonja of Norway.

In the summer of 2001 Armstrong conducted the World Youth Choir sponsored by the International Federation of Choral Music with concerts in Venezuela and the United States. In 2005, the St. Olaf Choir and Anton Armstrong performed for President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush and their guests for the National Day of prayer held in the East Room of the White House.

In 2006 Baylor University announced that Armstrong had beeb selected from a field of 118 distinguished nominees to receive the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. The award is designed to honor great teachers, to stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching, and to encourage departments and institutions to value their own great teachers. He spent February-June 2007 in residency at Baylor University as a visiting professor.

In 2008-09 Armstrong will conduct all-state choirs in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. In December 2008, he presented a three-day seminar in Israel, "The Hebrew Characters in the African American Spiritual," at the invitation of the Israeli Choral Directors Association in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. He is also leading choral festivals in the Smetana Hall, Prague, Czech Republic, as well as Carnegie Hall, New York, and the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. Additional guest conducting and lecturing engagements this season include appearances in Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, South Carolina, Kansas, Texas, and Kentucky.

Groups Directed

Manitou Singers of St. Olaf College

St. Olaf Choir