January 19, 2011
Conductor Erica Washburn Named Director of Choral Activities
Mezzo-soprano and conductor Erica Washburn has been named Director of Choral Activities at New England Conservatory. Washburn, who has been serving as Interim Director since fall 2009, has led NEC performances of the Fauré Requiem and Saint-Saens’ Oratorio de Nöel, works of Irving Fine, Charles Ives, and a premiere by Anthony Maglione based on Edgar Allen Poe's Spirits of the Dead. She has also prepared the choruses for the NEC Symphony’s performances last fall of Brahms Schicksalslied and Nänie.
Washburn came to NEC from the Greatbatch School of Music at Houghton College, where she was an instructor of voice, and also director of both the Houghton College Women's Choir and Camerata Singers. She received an M.M. in Choral Conducting and an M.M. in Vocal Performance from East Carolina University in 2006 after earning a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Westminster Choir College. As a graduate student at ECU, Washburn served as conductor of the ECU Women's Chorale, and was the student of Dr. Daniel Bara and John Kramar. Performance credits while in residence in North Carolina include Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the East Carolina University Symphony, Madame Lidoine in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites, Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible by Robert Ward, and Aminta in Mozart's Il re pastore.
Washburn made her Eastman Opera Theatre debut in January 2008 portraying the role of Mother/Allison in the premiere of Lee Hoiby’s This is the Rill Speaking. She has also performed selections of Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra, Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Genesee Valley Orchestra & Chorus, and appeared as a soloist at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery for the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative Festival.
She has given numerous recital performances and served as chorus master for the April 2008 Eastman Opera Theatre production of Lehar’s The Merry Widow.
Washburn has taught, lectured or conducted at the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA) School of Choral Studies, the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Area All-State Mixed Choir (Zone 7), East Carolina University, the Greatbatch School of Music of Houghton College, and William Jewel College. She is a candidate for the degree of Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music, where she has studied conducting with Dr. William Weinert and voice with Karen Holvik and Jan Opalach.
For further information, check the NEC Website.
ABOUT NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY
Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world. Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide. Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.
The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions. On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors. Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz.
NEC presents more than 600 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, 106-year old, beautifully restored concert hall. These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz and opera scenes. Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.
NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.
Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115