In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Doreen Rao's distinguished career as conductor and master teacher links the standards of professional performance with the goals of music education. Celebrated for her spirited and moving concerts, Rao's commitment to choral music is recognized in her innovative programming, teaching initiatives, worldwide conducting appearances, and her award-winning Choral Music Experience publications with Boosey & Hawkes.
Appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus in 2008, Rao holds the Cameron Baird Conductor's Chair working in close collaboration with the Grammy Award winning Maestro JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. In this position, Rao leads the newly inaugurated Buffalo Sings! Community Concert Series dedicated to building bridges between artists and their audiences through concert performances and educational programs throughout Western New York.
Doreen Rao holds the University of Toronto's Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting Emeritus. As Director of Choral Programs, she established and led the Faculty of Music's Graduate Program in Conducting, she directed the Toronto Bach Festival in collaboration with its principal guest artist, the eminent Bach scholar and conductor Helmuth Rilling, and she conducted the award-winning University of Toronto MacMillan Singers and Bach Festival Singers. Her choirs collaborated regularly with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, under conductors Peter Oundjian, Gianandrea Noseda, Bernard Labadie and Helmuth Rilling.
During Rao's long association with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and as the first female assistant conductor of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, she prepared the award-winning Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus (Anima) for concerts, tours, and recorded performances that won four Grammy Awards and a Grand Prix du Disque under Sir George Solti, Margaret Hillis, Claudio Abbado and James Levine. Her choirs also performed for Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony and for Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival.
Rao's seminal work as a conductor and master teacher fostered the children's choir movement and inspired a generation of conductors and teachers to lead young choirs in schools and communities around the world. As Founder and Chair of the ACDA National Committee for Children's Choirs, she was recognized by the American Choral Director's Association in a national tribute offered by the eminent American conductor Robert Shaw who wrote: "The world of choral music owes her special thanks. She is preparing our future."
Rao is also the Founding Artistic Director of the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education, a professional development program and certification course for conductors and choral music educators offered in the United States, Canada, Ireland and Great Britain. Rao's CME Institute expanded in 2000 to include the New Millennium Festival Concerts, a peacemaking through performance initiative with concerts in Dublin, New York, Toronto and London.
Doreen Rao began her career in Chicago as a professional singer, music teacher and professor of voice and choral music at Roosevelt University's Chicago Musical College. She completed her MM and PhD at Northwestern University and moved to Canada in 1988 to accept an appointment there as Director of Choral Programs at the University of Toronto.
Doreen RaoIn a pioneering career of "firsts," Doreen Rao continues to guest conduct, lecture and teach worldwide. She is frequent guest conductor of international choral festivals, all-states and honor choirs for the American Choral Directors Association, the Music Educator's National Conference, the International Society for Music Education and concert producers world-wide. She is active as a masterclass conducting teacher at the graduate and post-graduate levels of instruction and enjoys her choral residencies with both university music schools and concert associations throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.
Rao is also Choral Advisor to Boosey & Hawkes and Editor of the award-winning Choral Music Experience series of music and textbooks. Rao's demonstrated commitment to commissioning and premiering the music of living composers has championed a generation of American and Canadian composers including Imant Raminsh, Stephen Hatfield, David Brunner and Daniel Brewbaker, to name only a few.
Toronto music critic Robert Everett-Green wrote "for her, every note has an urgent meaning, not just within the composition, but within the wider world." Journalist Bronwyn Drainie described Doreen Rao as "a brilliant artist and teacher...whose methods and materials could re-energize the art of choral singing". The Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia awarded her their National Citation for her significant and lasting contribution to the cause of American music. The American Choral Director's Association has honored her for her "commitment to choral excellence" and a CBS television documentary called her musical achievements "extraordinary." This year, the Buffalo Business First community named Rao as a Woman of Influence for her inspirational work with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus.
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Songlist: Choral Performance As Education
Songlist: Introduction to Choral Music Experience, Music Education Through Choral Singing, Artistry: An Opportunity to Make Music Musical, The Challenge and the Future
Songlist: What Made Elizabeth Smile?, Artistry and CME, Voice and CME, Text and CME, Expressiveness and CME, Creativity and CME, Kristen's Story: A Summary
Songlist: Choral Performance As Education, Basic Principles Of Choral Music Experience, ACDA Video...On Location With Doreen Rao, CME References And Resources
Songlist: Vocal Technique and Musical Experience, Vocal Technique, Diction Principles, International Phonetic Alphabet, Becoming More Musical Through Singing, References
Review: Circle of Sound Voice Education is a contemplative approach to singing that blends Eastern breathing meditation and martial art movement forms with Western bel canto vocalization exercises as an inspiring and healthful way of enriching traditional approaches to studio, classroom, and rehearsal pedagogy. Renowned choral conductor and master teacher Doreen Rao, together with taijiquan teacher Bill Perison developed this inspiring cross-cultural vocalization practice after years of observing and conducting vocal groups around the world. Their conscious-breathing, international-movement and informed-vocalization exercises are a powerful and proven practice for all singers and conductors. This book connects the power of singing to the wholeness of body, mind and spirit. The book invites you to make a personal connection to its renewing approach, and bring its healing power to the singers that you guide and inspire.
Songlist: Opening the Circle, Foundations and Reflections, The First Foundation - Awareness, From the Past, To the Future, Learning to Breathe Again, The Second Foundation - Mindfulness, Core Practice Exercises, Conscious Breathing Exercises, Intentional Movement Exercises, In-formed Vocalization Exercises, The Third Foundation - Deep Listening, The Fourth Foundation - Well-Being, Closing the Circle, Preparing the Body to Sing, Stretching Exercises, Posture for Singing
Review: This practical music curriculum is a performance-based textbook for music classrooms designed for children ages 9 and older. Beginning with the basics of how to produce a good singing tone, introducing basic music theory, reading and ear training and progressing into unison choral singing and easy part-singing, this 243-page book offers an insightful, practical approach to classroom music. 18 choral arrangements available in 3 separate Performance Programs.
Songlist: Invitation to Choral Music Experience, Principles of Music Performance as Music Education, A Curriculum for Classroom Choirs, Instructional Methods, Role of Teacher/Conductor, Finding Your Singing Voice, Singing With Musicianship, Practice Projects, Feeling Time and Reading Rhythm, Meter and Meter Signatures, Hearing Pitch and Reading Notation, Singing Together, Performance Projects
Review: 'Mbiri kuna Mwari' is composed in the spirit of choral music heard at the Episcopal Cathedral in Harare, Zimbabwe, in the summer of 1993. Shona is the majority tribe in Zimbabwe and its language. The text is the Shona translation of the opening section of the Gloria of the Mass Ordinary. This traditional lullaby, 'Thula, Babana,' is from the eastern coastal region of South Africa. The singular sweetness of the melody has made it a favorite with South African choirs and audiences. In this arrangement, the melody is repeated several times, passing from one voice to the other, with a gradual variation and accumulation of accompanying texture, before fading into silence. Also included in this package is 'Ghana Alleluia,' 'Kenya Melodies,' and 'Afican Celebration.'
Songlist: Ghana Alleluia, Kenya Melodies, Mbiri Kuna Mwari, Thula, Babana, African Celebration
Review: 'Loch Lomond' is one of the most famous of all Scottish song - a song of friendship, of love, and of parting. While 'Auld Lang Syne' has become one of the most familiar in our culture, oft used for ushering in the new year, it remains a heartfelt air, extolling enduring friendship and waxing nostalgic over the passage of time. 'The Birks Of Aberfeldy' is a dance piece! Let the rhythm and accents hold sway as the piano rolics and the singers tease, tempt, cajole and invite the Bonnie Lassie! Also Included in this package is the hauntingly beautiful 'Skye Boat Song,' and 'Afton Water.'
Songlist: Skye Boat Song, Afton Water, The Birks of Aberfeldy, Auld Lang Syne, Loch Lomond
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