David Hayes is a conductor with an unusually broad range of repertory, spanning the symphonic, oratorio/choral, and operatic genres. His new role as music director of the New York Choral Society complements his existing roles as music director of The Philadelphia Singers and of the Mannes Orchestra, and staff conductor of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. For the past ten years, Mr. Hayes has served as a member of the conducting staff of The Philadelphia Orchestra. He has also been a cover conductor for the New York Philharmonic and for Sir André Previn on the Curtis Symphony Orchestra’s 1999 European tour with Anne-Sophie Mutter.
Recent guest conducting engagements have included leading Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and the East Coast premiere performances of Tan Dun’s Tea: A Mirror of Soul for the Opera Company of Philadelphia, as well as conducting the finals of the Fulbright Piano Competition with the Artosphere Festival Orchestra.
Past seasons have included concerts with such significant ensembles as The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra 2001, Curtis Opera Theatre, European Centre for Opera and Vocal Art, Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Washington Chorus, Louisiana Philharmonic, Berkshire Choral Festival, and the Verbier Festival.
Trained as a violinist and violist, Mr. Hayes received his Bachelor of Music in musicology from the University of Hartford and a diploma in orchestral conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller. He also studied with Charles Bruck at the Pierre Monteux School. Mr. Hayes served on the board of directors of Chorus America, the advocacy, research, and leadership development organization that advances the choral field, from 2000 to 2009.
Malcolm J. Merriweather began his professional musical training as a chorister in the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, Buffalo, New York. He attended Syracuse University where he earned a Bachelor of Music in music education, summa cum laude. Malcolm was honored as a Visual and Performing Arts Scholar and a Remembrance Scholar.
Mr. Merriweather leads a professional career as a baritone, conductor and teacher. He earned a Master of Music degree in choral conducting at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied conducting with Dr. William Weinert. Merriweather has served as organist and choirmaster at the Church of St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene (Episcopal) in downtown Rochester and Director of Music at Asbury First United Methodist Church, Rochester. As assistant conductor for the Gregory Kunde Chorale he was privileged to prepare and conduct the choir for performances of Brahms’ Requiem, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and excerpts from Rossini’s Othello with orchestra and soloists.
He received a second M.M. in Vocal Performance from the studio of Rita Shane, dramatic coloratura soprano. The baritone has had solo engagements with the Eastman-Rochester Chorus, New York Choral Society, Norfolk Chamber Choir, Gregory Kunde Chorale, Voices, Bach Vespers Choir and Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has been a fellowship recipient with the festivals at Norfolk, CT and Tanglewood Music Center. A supporter of new music, Mr. Merriweather has premiered works by John Liberatore, Ju Ri Seo, Douglas Fisk and James Adler.
A passionate music educator, Malcolm enjoyed serving as the Artistic Director and Conductor for the Rochester Boys Choir and is currently on the faculty at St. Thomas More Play Group, Manhattan and the Director of Choirs at the Third Street Music School Settlement, Manhattan. In addition to freelance singing, Malcolm serves as the Bruno Walter Associate Conductor Chair for the New York Choral Society and Choral Associate at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. For more information, please visit malcolmjmerriweather.com.
During a distinguished thirty-one year career conductor John Daly Goodwin has led concerts in major venues around the world including forty-four in Carnegie Hall, eight at Lincoln Center, as well as in The Grand Theater in Shanghai, Sala Nezahualcóyotl and OllinYolitzli in Mexico City, the Cathedrals of Notre Dame and Chartres in France, and the Basilica of San Marco in Venice.
Mr. Goodwin has appeared onstage in the People's Republic of China, the Czech Republic, Israel, Austria, France, Italy, Greece and Mexico in performances with the New York Choral Society, Coro Filarmónico Universitario, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Shanghai Symphony Broadcasting Orchestra, the Collegium Ducale in Venice, the Orchestre Symphonique Bell'Arte of Paris, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería in Mexico City, the Qingdao Symphony, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, and the Hartford Chorale.
Mr. Goodwin has also been selected to prepare choruses for such prominent conductors as José Areán, Marco Armiliato, Ankush Bahl, Charles Barker, Leonard Bernstein, Joseph Colaneri, Dennis Russell Davies, Robert De Cormier, Arthur Fegan, Asher Fisch, Lukas Foss, Yong Yan Hu, Fabio Luisi, Yehudi Menuhin, John Nelson, Daniel Oren, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Eve Queler, Corrado Rovaris, Julius Rudel, Gerard Schwarz, Robert Shaw, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, Alberto Veronesi, Emmanuel Villaume, and Hugh Wolff. Beyond the concert stage, Mr. Goodwin has conducted or prepared choruses for seventeen national television broadcasts, including the 1998 Grammy Awards with Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion at Radio City Music Hall, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala on PBS, Today on NBC, and Andrea Bocelli’s 2001 concert from Liberty State Park.
In November of 2011 Mr. Goodwin was named Music Director of Coro Filarmónico Universitario in Mexico City, where he also teaches master classes in conducting at the Escuela Nacionál de Música. Mr. Goodwin also serves as Artistic Advisor at the Conservatorio de Música de Celaya where he has prepared students from the Conservatorio for performances of music by Leonard Bernstein and Giuseppe Verdi at the Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato, Mexico, Latin America’s largest performing arts festival.
For twenty-five years Mr. Goodwin served as Music Director of the New York Choral Society, and he has also served as President of the New York Choral Consortium, Music Advisor to the September Concert Foundation and as a juror for the annual Ópera San Miguel vocal competition, the New Jersey ACDA High School Choral Festival and Career Bridges. He has been a member of the music faculties at New York University and Pace University, and he has led the Choral Society of the Hamptons, the Westchester Concert Singers, and the Richmond Choral Society in numerous concert series.
With a strong personal commitment to music education, Mr. Goodwin has done extensive volunteer work with young aspiring musicians. Through Young Audiences, Artsgenesis, and the New York Choral Society's Mini Maestros program, he has brought the gift of music to thousands of children in more than fifty New York City public schools.
Mr. Goodwin has also led numerous choral workshops and clinics through the New York Offstage Group. In December of 2010 Mr. Goodwin initiated a series of conducting master classes in Mexico City in cooperation with the vocal ensemble Voce in Tempore. Through the support of Fomento Educacional, A.C. these master classes have allowed Mexican conducting students to continue to work with Mr. Goodwin in Mexico City and New York City.
Mr. Goodwin also sings in the professional vocal quintet A Viva Voce, which most recently presented a three-concert tour to Mexico performing William Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices, selections from Monteverdi’s Eighth Book of Madrigals, and works by Palestrina and Tallis, among others.
In the summer of 1970, conductor, composer, and arranger Robert De Cormier conducted one of the New York Choral Society’s popular Summer Sings. From the very beginning, he broke with tradition: he arrived with scores of Missa Luba, solo singers and drummers, and proceeded to teach us an African folk mass! The Board of Directors, then searching for a new Music Director, was impressed by De Cormier’s experience with a wide range of musical genres including classical, Broadway and folk music, and his eagerness to explore the music of other cultures.
Robert De Cormier’s first concert as Music Director of the New York Choral Society, presented at Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall on December 18, 1970, included Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, a Haydn Mass and Vivaldi’s Beatus vir for double chorus. The headline in The New York Times proclaimed “Audience Joins Choral Society” – De Cormier had the audience join the chorus five times in singing short passages in the Vivaldi. Choral singers from the tri-state area flocked to New York City for a chance to become part of a growing force in the musical life of New York City. Mr. De Cormier held the position of Music Director from 1970 until 1987. The New York Choral Society has been privileged to continue to perform with him regularly since he stepped down as our Music Director.
A graduate of The Juilliard School, Robert De Cormier was conductor and arranger for Harry Belafonte and music director of the folk music trio Peter, Paul & Mary, and is one of the most prolific arrangers of American and international folk music in the world.
While teaching music in New York, one of Mr. De Cormier’s students was Mary Travers, later of Peter, Paul & Mary. On December 19, 1981, Peter, Paul & Mary first joined the New York Choral Society in Carnegie Hall for a Holiday Celebration, performing compositions and arrangements written by Robert De Cormier. This heartwarming concert continued to be a popular addition to the New York Choral Society’s repertoire for many years. We taped the concert for PBS in 1988; it was a successful fundraiser for PBS and aired across the country for many seasons. In 1989, the New York Choral Society joined the trio in six performances on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
Robert De Cormier has composed music for chorus as well as ballet and Broadway scores. The New York Choral Society commissioned and presented world premieres of De Cormier’s choral works Shout for Joy, Under a Greenwood Tree, Legacy, and Four Sonnets to Orpheus; the latter two works were recorded by the Choral Society in 1988. His ballet score Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder is in the active repertoire of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He has directed concerts and recordings for television specials and was choral director for a television special and recording starring Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle, conducted by James Levine.
Robert De Cormier founded, conducted and recorded with two groups of professional singers, The Robert De Cormier Singers and Counterpoint.
In 1993 De Cormier helped to found the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and remains its director. He has served on the New York State Council on the Arts and on the Choral Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts. He was presented the 2002 Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts by the Vermont Arts Council, Lifetime Achievement Awards from the New York Choral Society and Choral Arts New England, and an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Middlebury College in 2007.
American composer Morton Gould (1913-1996) wrote in 1987, “Robert De Cormier has made a special place for himself not only in the world of music but the world of human beings. As a musician, he has performed a tremendous range of repertory from folk to contemporary to classical. His creative side has made available additional repertory. His music making also reflects his special qualities as a person – warmth, compassion, understanding, and love.”
Robert De Cormier’s connection to the folk music world had a profound effect on the New York Choral Society. Many musicians he worked with supported civil rights and social justice through their music. Those values, as well as De Cormier’s belief that choral music is a language that spans borders and cultures, will always be a part of the spirit of the New York Choral Society.