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Joseph Flummerfelt Biography

Joseph Flummerfelt

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Living in: United States

Musical America's 2004 Conductor of the Year, Joseph Flummerfelt's musical artistry has been acclaimed in many of the world's concert halls for nearly 40 years. He is founder and musical director of the New York Choral Artists, is an artistic director of Spoleto Festival USA, and for 33 years was conductor of the world-renown Westminster Choir.

A gifted orchestral conductor, Maestro Flummerfelt has conducted over 50 performances with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Italy and in the U.S. He has also appeared as guest conductor with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, the Juilliard Symphony Orchestra, and the San Antonio and Phoenix Symphonies. In 1988 he made his New York Philharmonic debut with a performance of Haydn's Creation, and in 2001 he conducted the world premiere of Stephen Paulus' Voices of Light with the Philharmonic and the Westminster Choir.

For nearly four decades Maestro Flummerfelt has collaborated in the preparation of hundreds of choral/orchestral performances with such conductors as Abbado, Bernstein, Barenboim, Boulez, Chailly, Colin Davis, Giulini, Maazel, Masur, Mehta, Muti, Ozawa, Sawallisch, Shaw, Steinberg and many others.

Joseph Flummerfelt's Westminster Symphonic Choir and New York Choral artists have been featured in 45 recordings, including Britten's War Requiem and Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem and Schicksalslied with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic; Mahler's Symphony No. 2 and a Grammy Award-winning Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with Leonard Bernstein; Puccini's Tosca and Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra; Messiaen's Le Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jesus Christ with the National Symphony. His collaboration with Samuel Barber includes the Grammy Award-winning recording of the composer's opera, Anthony and Cleopatra. In 2004 his New York Choral Artists recording of John Adams' On the Transmigration of Souls was awarded three Grammys. Earlier he was nominated for the Westminster Choir's recording of the Haydn Lord Nelson Mass with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, and Berlioz's Romeo et Juliette with Riccardo Muti and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Among the many recordings he has made with the Westminster Choir, his recent Delos recording of Brahms' choral works (Singing for Pleasure) was chosen by The New York Times as a favorite among all existing Brahms recordings. His 2004 recording with the choir, Heaven to Earth, has received high critical acclaim.

Widely known as a master teacher, Maestro Flummerfelt has long worked with both gifted students and established professionals in his classes and rehearsals at Westminster Choir College and in master classes in the United States and around the world. One of the consistent results of his passion for choral/orchestral music is the student-composed Westminster Symphonic Choir, an ensemble continually praised for its power of expression, colorful nuance, robust rhythmic intensity and elegant balance.

For 33 years, Joseph Flummerfelt served as artistic director and principal conductor of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey - a position from which he retired in 2004. He has been director of choral activities for the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. in Charleston, South Carolina, since 1977 and for 23 years was the maestro del coro for the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy. He is chorus master for the New York Philharmonic, the founder and conductor of the New York Choral Artists, and former music director of Singing City in Philadelphia. In 1971, Maestro Flummerfelt began his choral collaboration with New York Philharmonic. From 1979 to 2001 both his Westminster Choir and New York Choral Artists were responsible for all of the orchestra's choral performances. Though now retired from Westminster Choir College, the New York Choral Artists continue to appear regularly with the orchestra and Flummerfelt continues to oversee the choral life of the New York Philharmonic.

In addition to his Grammy awards and nominations, Maestro Flummerfelt's many honors include Le Prix du President de la Republique from L'Academice du Disque Francais and four honorary doctoral degrees.