Heather J. Buchanan
Australian born conductor Heather J. Buchanan is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Montclair State University, where she conducts the 160-voice Chorale, 60-voice University Singers, and 24-voice Vocal Accord. Choirs under her direction have won critical acclaim for their "heartfelt conviction," "vibrant sound," and for singing with the "crispness and dexterity of a professional choir." In recent years, the MSU choirs have collaborated with a variety of renowned artists including Meredith Monk, Mícheál ÓSúílleabháin, Tarik O'Regan, Joseph Flummerfelt, and conductors Neeme Järvi, Jacques LaCombe, and John Maucceri with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO). In past seasons the MSU Chorale has collaborated with the NJSO for masterwork performances of the Verdi Requiem, Carmina Burana, Mahler Symphony No. 3; Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and The Lord of the Rings Symphony. In December 2011 Dr. Buchanan conducted the MSU Chorale and Symphony Orchestra in the East Coast Premiere of the new American symphonic oratorio Parables (Aldridge). The University Singers has established an exciting performance relationship with renowned composer-artist Meredith Monk beginning with their historic collaboration in December 2006 and continuing with the March 2009 performances of Songs of Ascension at the Guggenheim Museum which received outstanding reviews. They also recorded Songs of Ascension with Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble on the prestigious ECM label under legendary producer Manfried Eicher, released May 2011 This collaboration was included in the Producer of the Year section of the 2012 Grammy nominations. In February 2012 University Singers gave their ACDA Eastern Division Convention debut performance in Providence, RI, which featured World Premiere performances of music by composers Chen Yi (Distance Can't Keep Us Two Apart), and Martin A. Sedek (She Walks In Beauty).In June 2012, Vocal Accord, the 24-voice chamber choir of University Singers, toured Europe giving performances in Vienna, Graz and Venice. In March 2012 University Singers will perform Mozart's Requiem with the NJSO under the baton of Jacques Lacombe.
Dr. Buchanan holds degrees from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University (Australia), Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and a PhD from the University of New England (Australia). A licensed Andover Educator, she specializes in the teaching of Body Mapping and somatic pedagogy for musicians. She is co-editor of the GIA choral series Teaching Music through Performance in Choir, has published a DVD-Video Evoking Sound: Body Mapping & Gesture Fundamentals, and choral octavos in the Evoking Sound Choral Series (GIA). A vibrant teacher and dynamic performer, Dr. Buchanan is in demand as a guest conductor and clinician in the US and abroad.