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Visiting Associate Professor of Music
M.A. Queens College of the City University of New York
Harold Rosenbaum is one of the most accomplished and critically acclaimed choral conductors of our time. He is the 2010 winner of ASCAP’s Victor Herbert Award, given in recognition of his contribution to the choral repertory, and his service to American composers and their music. He is also the winner of the 2008 American Composer Alliance’s Laurel Leaf Award, given in recognition of “distinguished achievement in fostering and encouraging American music.” Among the recipients of the Laurel Leaf have been the Juilliard String Quartet, Leonard Slatkin, Leopold Stokowski, George Szell, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Also in recognition of his leadership in the interpretation and performance of contemporary music, G. Schirmer Music Inc. has established its Harold Rosenbaum Choral Series, for which he composes, edits, and gives performance suggestions for conductors. A tireless proponent and advocate for contemporary composers and American composers in particular, he has created an annual choral composition competition, has commissioned twenty five works, has conducted over 300 world premieres (including works by Ravel [in Paris], Schoenberg, Schnittke, Carter, Henze, Berio, Perle, and Harbison), and has recorded contemporary choral music for SONY Classical, Albany, CRI, Bridge, Koch International, Capstone, and DRG. He is also a three-time recipient of the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music, and a recipient of Chorus America’s American Choral Works Performance Award. He is also Editor in Chief of www.ThatNewMusicLibrary.com, a new contemporary music site whose mission is to bring unpublished contemporary music of exceptional quality to a wide audience.
To fulfill his dream of conducting the most complex and masterful choral compositions of the 20th century, Mr. Rosenbaum established The New York Virtuoso Singers, an all-professional choir now in its 22nd season.
“In that domain of the performance of contemporary music which has been most neglected and least supported in this country, there is no choral group which has been more able and willing to perform responsibly the most demanding and knowing of contemporary works than The New York Virtuoso Singers, under the guidance of a sophisticated and understanding conductor. Not only do they deserve and require support, but the fate of contemporary choral music is largely contingent on such support.” - Milton Babbitt
The New York Virtuoso Singers is regularly invited to perform with leading orchestras, and at prestigious institutions such as The Tanglewood Music Festival and The Juilliard School. It has premiered over 250 works by composers such as Luciano Berio, John Harbison, Hans Werner Henze, Louis Andriessen, Shulamit Ran, George Perle, Ernst Krenek, Thea Musgrave, Jonathan Harvey, Arvo Pärt, Andrew Imbrie, and many others.
Prior to the formation of The New York Virtuoso Singers, Mr. Rosenbaum had already established his all-volunteer choir, The Canticum Novum Singers, as one of New York’s premiere choirs presenting the music of all periods, with a special focus on early music. The Canticum Novum Singers has presented over 450 concerts in this country, and on four European tours. Of the more than 500 singers who have been with the choir since 1973, over 100 have moved on to sing professionally, both as choristers and as soloists. This choir has premiered over 60 compositions by composers such as Handel, J.C. Bach, Fauré, Bruckner, Harbison, Berio, Schnittke, Rorem, Schickele, and George Benjamin.
Mr. Rosenbaum is a much sought after guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, funding panelist, coach, lecturer, consultant, and educator. He has taught at four universities including The Juilliard School. Currently he is Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo/SUNY, where he directs the choirs, heads the graduate program in choral conducting, and teaches other courses. A lifelong passion of his has been to bring together choral singers from many different backgrounds and levels of skills to perform. As founder not only of the above mentioned choirs, but of The Canticum Novum Festival Choir, Westchester Oratorio Society, Long Island Jewish Choral Society, and Westchester Jewish Choral Society, and as conductor over the last 36 years of eight university choirs, six church choirs, ten synagogue choirs, 2 youth choirs, and a senior adult choir, he has conducted close to 1,500 concerts including ones combining his choirs. Examples include the Verdi Requiem at Carnegie Hall with seven of his choirs, and Haydn’s Creation with the Queens College Preparatory Choir, Transfiguration Lutheran Church Choir of Harlem, and Westchester Jewish Choral Society. For that concert Mr. Rosenbaum was awarded The Most Remarkable Ecumenical Achievement Award by The New York Times.
Mr. Rosenbaum’s productivity has always been startling. During one season he was artistic director of 11 choirs (most of which met weekly). He was a full-time professor one year at both the University at Buffalo and Queens College, while simultaneously conducting 5 non-university choirs. To celebrate The Canticum Novum Singers’ 25th season, he conducted 25 Bach cantatas with professional orchestra and soloists, including 11 in one day. During one 3 1/2 week period, he conducted Verdi’s Requiem in Carnegie Hall, a 3-hour world premiere in Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center (both of these concerts with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and multiple choirs), Bach’s St. John Passion, and a concert of modern music with The New York Virtuoso Singers. In his second appearance at The Tanglewood Music Center, he conducted 7 modern works in the afternoon, and 3 more that evening in the “Prelude” concert for the Boston Symphony. At any given time, he is working on 15-20 current and future projects. One past project stands out in its breadth of scope: the co-production with Merkin Concert Hall, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, of “Voices of the Century”, a series of six concerts presenting, in Mr. Rosenbaum’s opinion, the 50 greatest a cappella pieces of the 20th century from 13 countries.
“Mr. Rosenbaum is not just an expert music director but a bracing programmer." - The New York Times
Mr. Rosenbaum has collaborated with such composers as Dawn Upshaw, David Del Tredici, Stephen Schwartz, John Harbison, George Perle, William Schuman, Milton Babbitt, John Corigliano, John Adams, Ned Rorem, Charles Wuorinen, Peter Schickele, Augusta Read Thomas, David Lang, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, David Felder, George Tsontakis, Shulamit Ran, Andrew Imbrie, Tan Dunn, Earl Brown, and Tristan Keuris. He has also worked with actors Tony Randall, F. Murray Abraham, Werner Klemperer and Michael York, stage directors Jonathan Miller and François Girard, Barbara Cook, John Buccino, DJ Spooky, and recently with legendary film composer Ennio Morricone and The Roma Sinfonietta in concerts in the General Assembly of the United Nations and at Radio City.
Throughout Europe Mr. Rosenbaum has conducted close to 100 concerts, working with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestre d’Europe, the New Prague Collegium, the Madeira Bach Festival Orchestra, and choirs from the USA and France. Appearances include The Ludlow Festival and the Cheltenham Fringe Festival in England, The Madeira Bach Festival in Portugal, and The Siracusa Festival in Italy.
In this country Mr. Rosenbaum has collaborated over 100 times with leading orchestras such as The New York Philharmonic with James Conlon, The Brooklyn Philharmonic (over 55 times) with Robert Spano, Lukas Foss, Dennis Russell Davies, Michael Christie, and Grant Llewellyn, The American Symphony with Leon Botstein, The American Composers Orchestra with Steven Sloane, The Riverside Symphony with George Rothman, The Orchestra of St. Luke’s with Sir Charles Mackerras and Robert Spano, plus The Juilliard Orchestra, Concerto Köln, The Bard Festival Orchestra, The Westchester Symphony, and many others. He has also collaborated with The Paul Taylor Dance Company, Continuum, P.D.Q. Bach in Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, with The Mark Morris Dance Group, Bang on a Can, The Glyndebourne Opera Company, S.E.M. Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, The New York Youth Symphony, and The Bel Canto Opera Company.
Mr. Rosenbaum’s choirs have performed many times on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series, and have appeared on The David Letterman Show, and in concerts with James Galway, Tony Bennett, Licia Albanese, Marianne Faithful, Leonard Slatkin, and The Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society. He has appeared countless times on radio and TV, including an annual national broadcast of an episode of CBS TV’s 48 Hours entitled The Mystery of the Nativity.
Mr. Rosenbaum is Artistic Director of The Society for Universal Sacred Music. The Society creates opportunities for universal sacred music to be performed and heard through concerts, workshops and festivals. He will be conducting Mozart’s Requiem In Israel this June in a festival sponsored by the Varna Music Academy. At The Juilliard School of Music on October 12, 2010, he will conduct choral music of William Schuman, founder of that school, with his New York Virtuoso Singers.
Mr. Rosenbaum is also organist and choir director at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Katonah, NY.
Mr. Rosenbaum resides in upper Westchester County with his wife, Edie, a teacher and singer. They have two married daughters and two grandchildren.