College Faculty:Related Studies in Vocal Arts: MSM Chorale, Chamber Choir
Conductor and baritone, Malcolm J. Merriweather enjoys a versatile career with performances ranging from the songs of Margaret Bonds to gems of the symphonic choral repertoire. The baritone can be heard on the GRAMMY nominated recording of Paul Moravec’s Sanctuary Road (NAXOS). Hailed by Opera News as “moving…expertly interpreted,” Margaret Bonds: The Ballad of the Brown King & Selected Songs (AVIE) has earned considerable praise around the world.
He is Director of the New York Philharmonic Chorus and Music Director of New York City’s, The Dessoff Choirs, known for their performances of great choral works from the pre-Baroque era through the 21st century. An Associate Professor, Director of Choral Studies and Voice Department Coordinator at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, he has also joined the faculty at Manhattan School of Music. He was the founding Artistic Director of “Voices of Haiti,” a 60-member children’s choir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, operated by the Andrea Bocelli Foundation.
Maestro Merriweather’s 2022-2023 begins leading the Choir of Trinity Wall Street in three performances (staged) of Considering Matthew Shepard. His new appointment as Director of the New York Philharmonic Chorus launches preparing the professional choir for three programs throughout the season for Maestro Jaap van Zweden including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for the reopening of David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center. With the Dessoff Choirs he conducts Duruflé’s Requiem, Bach’s St. John Passion and motets by Vicente Lusitano, the first Black published composer. This season includes the long-awaited release of the premiere recording of Margaret Bonds’s Credo and Simon Bore the Cross with the AVIE label. His solo baritone engagements include Messiah at Carnegie Hall; Sanctuary Road with the Cincinnati May Festival and the Penn Square Music Festival.
Merriweather’s 2021-2022 was filled with singing and conducting engagements as the world emerged from the grip of the pandemic. With the Dessoff Choirs, he conducts the New York premiere of Considering Matthew Shepard; Christmas with the Dessoff Choirs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; premieres of Margaret Bonds’s Credo and Simon Bore the Cross; and, appearances in the oratorio Sanctuary Road with North Carolina Opera and with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.
Amidst the pandemic, Merriweather’s 2020-2021 season was enriched with guest lectures and virtual appearances around the world, most notably at Yale University and Columbia University. He inaugurated a series of virtual events that included “Dessoff Dialogues” and panel discussions like Tulsa 1921, “Catch the Fire”: Social Justice through Sound, Film, and Curriculum. These conversations emphasized matters of social justice, equity, and inclusion as they relate to classical music and the choral art.
Highlights from Merriweather’s 2019-2020 season included Fauré’s Requiem; Rutter’s The Sprig of Thyme; and Gregg Smith’s Continental Harmonist with the Dessoff Choirs. He was engaged by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra for Paul Moravec’s Sanctuary Road, and at the Eastman School of Music for the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division Conference in Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. The COVID-19 global pandemic forced cancellations with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic.
Merriweather’s 2018-2019 season included his Mostly Mozart debut conducting the West Choir in a world premiere of John Luther Adams’s In the name of earth and appearances with Andrea Bocelli and “Voices of Haiti” at Madison Square Garden. He conducted three world premieres by composers Eve Beglarian, Douglas Geers, and Matthew Aucoin as The Dessoff Choirs celebrated the bicentennial of the birth of poet and journalist, Walt Whitman. Other season highlights included: Ildebrando Pizetti’s Requiem and Margaret Bonds’ The Ballad of the Brown King with The Dessoff Choirs; Handel’s Messiah at Brooklyn College and the Harvard Club of New York; William Grant Still’s And They Lynched Him on a Tree with Grace Chorale of Brooklyn. Solo engagements for the 2018-2019 include Bach’s St. Matthew Passion; and Handel’s Messiah with the Worcester Chorus.
During the summer of 2017 Merriweather lead “Voices of Haiti” in performances with Andrea Bocelli at Teatro del Silenzio and for Pope Francis at the Vatican. Other highlights from the 2017-2018 season included: David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion and Vaughan Williams’s Dona nobis pacem with The Dessoff Choirs; Handel’s Messiah at Brooklyn College and the Harvard Club of New York; Leonard Bernstein’s Mass (Concert Selections) and Honneger’s King David at Brooklyn College.
Merriweather has been featured as a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Dessoff Choirs, the New York Choral Society, and Bach Vespers Choir and Orchestra at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New York City. The baritone has premiered contemporary solo works by Eve Beglarian, John Liberatore, Ju Ri Seo, Douglas Fisk, and James Adler. He has been a fellowship recipient at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and at the Tanglewood Music Center.
Merriweather holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from the studio of Kent Tritle at the Manhattan School of Music, where his doctoral dissertation “Now I walk in Beauty, Gregg Smith: A Biography and Complete Works Catalog” constituted the first complete works list for the composer and conductor. He received Master of Music degrees in Choral Conducting and in Vocal Performance from the studio of Rita Shane at the Eastman School of Music, as well as his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Syracuse University, summa cum laude.
His professional affiliations include membership in Pi Kappa Lambda, the American Choral Directors Association, and Chorus America.
He was previously Music Director of the West Village Chorale, Organist and Choirmaster at the Church of St. Luke and St. Simon of Cyrene (Episcopal) in Rochester, NY, and for five years, Associate Choirmaster at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City.
Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @maestroweather and at malcolmjmerriweather.com
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