Albany Pro Musica
Now in its 30th year, Albany Pro Musica boasts a history distinguished by tremendous artistic growth, expanding audiences and increased national recognition for choral excellence. Enjoying a major presence in the area’s cultural scene, the group is revered for exceptional mastery of intimate a cappella works yet critically acclaimed for excellence in large-scale choral orchestral works.
The core group boasts 65 auditioned volunteer singers who come from several counties and states. When a larger chorus is needed, the group’s sound is augmented by the 100-voice APMasterworks Chorus. Performance venues range from sold out events at the acoustically perfect Troy Savings Bank Music Hall or the technologically advanced EMPAC to masters classes in the Albany High School chorus room.
In addition to its own subscription concert series, Albany Pro Musica participates in civic and community musical events, including the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception Music Series, collaborations with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and host to this year’s first-ever Community Choral Festival at Proctors Theatre. Special guest appearances have included two gubernatorial inaugurations and sharing the stage with Judy Collins in Troy for her annual Christmas concert—to name just a few.
Pro Musica has commissioned eight works from American composers and premiered major but little known masterpieces such as Bristow’s “Oratorio of Daniel” and Handel’s “Oratorio of Esther.” The group has made many recordings and was one of only 16 choirs selected for inclusion on the 2005 National Public Radio (NPR) CD “Christmas Around the Country.” In 2004 Albany Pro Musica collaborated with the Albany Symphony Orchestra and Composer Michael Torke to record the opera “Strawberry Fields” for mass distribution. Albany Pro Musica performances have aired many times on local radio and NPR.
Eager to share the joys of adult choral singing, Pro Musica gives students a taste of superior performance experiences through its vigorous educational outreach program: The annual High School Choral Festival showcases choirs from area schools and features the Empire State Youth Orchestra at the venerable Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Pro Musica singers attend choral classes at Albany High School in an effort that culminates with a combined performance at the College of St Rose’s Massry Center. Through its Young Artist Apprenticeship Program, Pro Musica mentors accomplished high school students who join the chorus for blockbuster concerts such as this year’s Voices of Light and the Verdi Requiem.
With its ever-increasing profile, Albany Pro Musica attracts larger, more diverse audiences who encourage newer, bolder projects to satisfy their growing desire for exposure to a rich choral repertory. As it enters its fourth decade, Albany Pro Musica is proud to be the region’s hallmark for ambitious, compelling choral projects.
David Griggs-Janower - Conductor
David Griggs-Janower, Albany Pro Musicaʼs founding conductor, is Director of Choral Music and Professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where he has taught since 1981. Dr. Griggs-Janower did undergraduate and masters work in music theory and music history at Cornell University. He holds Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees in conducting from the Indiana University School of Music where he studied with Dr. Julius Herford, Fiora Contino, and Margaret Hillis. He has been on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Visiting Artist/Guest Conductor at Williams College, Cornell University, and Skidmore College. Dr. Griggs- Janower served on the staff of the Aspen Music Festival Choral Institute for ten seasons and on the staff of the Oregon Bach Festival under Helmuth Rilling for seven summers.
Dr. Griggs- Janower has also served as the Music Director of the Berkshire Bach Society in Great Barrington; the first conductor and a frequent guest conductor of the St. Cecilia Orchestra; the Choir Director at First Presbyterian Church of Albany (from 1981– 1996); and guest conductor of the Albany Symphony, Albanyʼs Mendelssohn Club, the Guilderland High School District Choral Festival, and First Reformed Church of Schenectady. He has con- ducted several New York State Area All-State Choral Festivals, and most recently was the Invited Guest Conductor of the NYACDA/ NYSSMA Directors Chorus, Summer 2008.
In August 2003 Dr. Griggs-Janower was named Outstanding Conductor of the Year by the NYS American Choral Directors Association. In 2002 he was the first recipient of the newly established faculty award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity at the University at Albany. Several weeks later he was given a similar award from the State University of New York, chosen from among the faculty of all 64 campuses. Dr. Griggs-Janower was honored in 1999 with the Albany-Schenectady League of Arts Award for his outstanding contribution to the Capital Region community through the creation, presentation and support of the arts. Dr. Griggs-Janower has appeared as conductor or clinician at seven ACDA conventions and two NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) summer conferences, as well as at the NCCO (National Collegiate Choral Organization) Conference, October 2008. With Albany Pro Musica and with his University Chamber Singers, Dr. Griggs-Janower has produced nine CD recordings and has led ten concert tours to Europe and Central America.