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Kantorei Names New Artistic Director

Location: Colorado, USA
Choir type: Chamber Choirs and Vocal Ensembles
Voicing: Mixed
Joel M. Rinsema to take artistic helm of Denver’s premier choral ensemble, will continue as President & CEO of Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale
 
DENVER, Colorado (March 05, 2014) – Denver’s premier choral ensemble, Kantorei, announced today that it has named Joel M. Rinsema as its new Artistic Director. The national search was led by a 9-person committee that included several founding members of the ensemble, and was the result of the retirement of founding Artistic Director Richard Larson.

“The search committee is wholly excited by the many strengths that Joel will bring to the role of Artistic Director of Kantorei,” said Search Committee Chair, Kevin Gunnerson. “We were impressed with Joel’s artistic merits and found him to be a natural fit into the community spirit that makes Kantorei so unique. We are thrilled to have him leading the ensemble into the future."

Rinsema has served as the Assistant Conductor and President & CEO of the Grammy-winning Phoenix Chorale for the past 14 years. He first joined the Phoenix Chorale as a singer in 1992. A frequent featured tenor soloist, Rinsema has appeared on all of the Phoenix Chorale recordings, which have earned the Phoenix Chorale a total of eight Grammy nominations and two Grammy wins. The Phoenix Chorale is led by internationally renowned Conductor & Artistic Director Charles Bruffy. As Assistant Conductor, Rinsema assisted in all aspects of artistic planning and leadership, leading rehearsals and conducting the Chorale in Bruffy’s absence, and helping program the repertoire each season.

“It is an honor to be offered this opportunity, and I am excited to be leading a choral ensemble of Kantorei’s artistic caliber,” said Rinsema. “They have experienced great artistic success over the past 17 years, and I look forward to building on that success to create a bright future for the entire organization.”

Kantorei established itself as one of the nation’s leading choral ensembles after performing as an auditioned choir for the 2003 National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association at Carnegie Hall in New York City. More recently, Kantorei has been featured in several Regional and National conferences, including the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention in Denver and the 2011 National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association, which included a featured performance at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, IL.

“We see in Joel an ability to take Kantorei to the next level artistically while using his vast experience to help us mature as an organization,” said Kantorei Board President, Brad Larson. “We are extremely excited to have him on board.”

Rinsema will commute weekly from Phoenix where he will continue in his role as President & CEO of the Phoenix Chorale, but relinquish his artistic duties as Assistant Conductor and singer for the ensemble. Kantorei’s contract with Rinsema is for an initial three-year term, taking him through the choir's 20th Anniversary Season in 2017. His debut with Kantorei will be on their May 2014 concerts, and he will commence his position effective July 1, 2014.
 
Contact:
Kevin Gunnerson
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Phone: 970-581-6206
Email: kevin@kantorei.org

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ABOUT JOEL M. RINSEMA

Throughout his 22-year tenure with the Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale, Joel M. Rinsema has served in nearly every capacity with the organization including the last 14 years as President & CEO and Assistant Conductor. The Phoenix Chorale has experienced tremendous artistic and organizational successes during this time. The organization enjoys financial stability and growth, including doubling season subscription and single ticket sales and individual contributions in the past five years. As Assistant Conductor, Joel assists in all aspects of artistic planning and leadership. He negotiated an ongoing recording contract with the prestigious U.K.-based Chandos Records, and Phoenix Chorale recordings have earned a total of eight Grammy® nominations and two Grammy wins.

He first joined the Phoenix Chorale as a singer in 1992. A frequent featured tenor soloist, Joel appears on all of the Phoenix Chorale recordings and was a soloist on the Grammy® Award-winning “Spotless Rose: Hymn to the Virgin.”

Joel is a passionate advocate for the professional choral art form, and he frequently consults with other choral arts organizations locally and around the country. Because of his leadership in his field, he received the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal from Chorus America, the industry’s advocacy, research, and leadership development organization for choruses, choral leaders, and singers.

In addition to his work with the Phoenix Chorale, Joel served as the Director of Music at Church of the Beatitudes United Church of Christ in Phoenix for the past 15 years, and was the founding chorusmaster of the Arizona Musicfest Chorus.

As a tenor soloist, Joel has performed across the United States and in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Joel is an accomplished conductor of major works for choir and orchestra. He was one of eighteen conductors chosen nationally through audition to participate in master classes and workshops presented by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and Chorus America. He holds music degrees from Arizona State University and Whitworth University and considers Dr. Randi Von Ellefson, Dr. Donald Bailey, Jon Washburn and Charles Bruffy his biggest mentors. He and his wife Dana Bender, a choral music educator and soprano, reside in Phoenix, AZ with their daughter Rachel and son Derek.

ABOUT KANTOREI 

Kantorei, (German for “choir” or “vocal ensemble”) formed in 1997 under the leadership of six friends who decided to form a choir capable of singing a broad range of a cappella choral music. With the addition of Richard Larson as artistic director and a handful of additional singers, the group quickly found a footing in the cultural fabric of Denver, Colorado.

Now in its 17th full season of performing, the group has expanded into an auditioned ensemble of 54 volunteer singers who meet weekly to rehearse. Many of the singers come from schools with strong choral music programs, such as Augustana, Brigham Young, Concordia, Luther, St. Olaf, Wartburg, and the University of Northern Colorado.

Kantorei established itself as one of the nation’s premier choral ensembles after performing as an auditioned choir for the 2003 National American Choral Directors Association Conference at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In June 2007, Kantorei embarked on its first international tour to France and Italy. The tour culminated with the distinct honor of singing for Mass at St. Peter's Basilica.

As a choir of national recognition, Kantorei frequently hosts composers and conductors of international renown. Kantorei has recently worked with such important choral conductors as René Clausen, Anton Armstrong, Simon Carrington, and Eric Whitacre. Kantorei has also commissioned and premiered new choral works from composers including Eric Whitacre, René Clausen, Eric William Barnum, Timothy Jon Tharaldson, Joshua Shank, and Abbie Betinis.

More recently, Kantorei has been featured in several Regional and National conferences, including the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention and the 2010 Southwestern Regional ACDA Convention. In March 2011, Kantorei performed by invitation at its second National ACDA Convention, including a featured performance at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, IL. Kantorei completed its second international tour in June 2012, with performances in Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest.

Following the 2012-2013 season, Richard Larson stepped down from his position as Artistic Director and Conductor, and was subsequently named Artistic Director and Conductor Emeritus. Kantorei performed the 2013-2014 concert season under Interim Conductor Sarah Harrison. Additional information about the choir can be found at www.kantorei.org

ABOUT THE PHOENIX CHORALE

The Phoenix Chorale is regarded as one of the finest professional choral ensembles in North America. What began in 1958 as a small study group of singers became a fully professional choir in 1992 made up of Arizona residents: highly educated and trained singers, teachers and professionals. In 2004, the Phoenix Chorale became the first North American choir to record for the U.K.’s prestigious Chandos Records and since then, the Chorale’s recordings have earned a total of eight GRAMMY nominations and two GRAMMY wins. The Phoenix Chorale aims to be the preeminent model for American choral music by redefining standards of excellence and its mission is to enrich life through excellence and distinction in choral artistry. All Phoenix Chorale recordings can be found at www.phoenixchorale.org.
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UPCOMING KANTOREI CONCERTS

All concert information is available online at www.kantorei.org

Eternity

7:30pm Friday, March 21st, 2014 
Bethany Lutheran Church 
4500 E Hampden Ave, Englewood, CO 80113

7:30pm Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 
Augustana Lutheran Church
5000 E Alameda Ave, Denver, CO 80246

Kantorei joins Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra once again for a peek at Eternity, through the music of American composer Morten Lauridsen. "Lux Aeterna," Lauridsen says, was the single most difficult piece he ever wrote, working through the pain of losing his mother. But great beauty is always born through great struggle, a solemn and powerful thought when pondering Eternity. Each group will be featured separately, then join for the wonderful "Lux Aeterna," light eternal.

Tickets can be purchased through the Augustana Arts website at www.augustanaarts.org  or at the door of each venue the night of the concert.

Horizons 

7:30 p.m. Friday, May 16th, 2014 
Augustana Lutheran Church
5000 E Alameda Ave, Denver, CO 80246

7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 18th, 2014 
Bethany Lutheran Church 
4500 E Hampden Ave, Englewood, CO 80113

The final concert of the 2013-2014 season is designed to celebrate Kantorei’s past, present, and future. Artistic Director and Conductor Emeritus Richard Larson, Interim Director Sarah Harrison, and incoming Artistic Director Joel M. Rinsema will each take the podium to conduct a variety of music from around the world. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to meet Kantorei’s new Artistic Director and to celebrate Kantorei’s past and present conductors.

Tickets can be purchased through Kantorei’s website at www.kantorei.org  or at the door of each venue the night of the concert.