Location: New York, USA
Stephen Black, a native of Kentucky, is an accomplished organist, conductor and singer. He is currently the Director of Music at St. Gregory the Great Church in Harrison, NY and a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate (ABD) in the Department of Choral and Sacred Music at the University of Southern California. He is also the Music Director of the Amuse Singers, a women's chamber choir in New York City. Prior to his studies in Los Angeles he served eleven years as the Director of Music at St. Joseph's Church Yorkville, New York City’s German national parish on the upper east side of Manhattan. In April 2008 he led the church’s choral ensembles in a concert of music by Arvo Pärt, Aaron Jay Kernis, and J. S. Bach on the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI’s internationally televised visit to the historic parish. Mr. Black was also the Artistic Director of the Central City Chorus and Music Director of the Brearley Singers in New York City.
He has conducted over fifty concerts in New York and Los Angeles, including performances of the Brahms Requiem, Bach's Magnificat and Christmas Oratorio, the Requiem of Frederick Delius, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Haydn's Paukenmesse, Ralph Vaughan William's Mass in G Minor, and the New York City premiere of Carol Barnett's The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass. Mr. Black also prepared choruses for performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at Riverside Church with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Astoria Symphony, and William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the Empire State Youth Orchestra. He has been a guest conductor for the Empire City Men's Chorus, St. George’s Choral Society, the West Village Chorale, the Association of Connecticut Choruses, the American Opera Project, the National Association of Composers East Coast Chapter, Lincoln Center Theater and HarlemStage.
Mr. Black has received several honors and awards in both organ performance and choral conducting. He is a recipient of the Charles Ives Prize in organ performance and the Richard French Prize in choral conducting from Yale University. In 1997 he won first prize in the John R. Rodland organ competition in New Jersey, the largest organ scholarship competition in the United States. In 1999 he was one of six finalists in the American Guild of Organists Young Artist Competition. He has played recitals on the great organs of Washington National Cathedral; St. Patrick's Cathedral and St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York City; Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania; and St. Mary's Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. He was a featured organ performer at the 2012 American Choral Directors Association Western Division conference in Reno, NV.
Mr. Black is continually involved in the performance of new music. He has commissioned composers Elliot Levine and Kristin Kuster to write for the Central City Chorus. He has also conducted New York City premieres of compositions by Emma Lou Diemer, Kirke Mechem, Steven Stucky, and Emmy-award winning composer Steve Heitzeg. With the St. Joseph's Singers he has presented concerts of new music, including a TimeOut Magazine Critic's Choice Concert in October 2006 featuring the world premiere of a choral suite from Stefan Weisman's critically acclaimed opera Darkling. As a professional singer specializing in contemporary music Mr. Black has participated in premieres of new works in Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. He has performed and recorded new music with the New York Virtuoso Singers, the Society for Universal Sacred Music, and the Vedantic Arts Ensemble. He holds degrees from the Yale School of Music and the University of Louisville School of Music.