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Bishop named artistic director of Texas Boys Choir

D. Jason Bishop has joined the Texas Boys Choir as artistic director, the organization announced July 17.

Clint Riley, president and CEO of Texas Center for Arts + Academics (TCAA), the umbrella organization for the Boys Choir, made the announcement.

Bishop, a respected educator, and conductor and musician, is currently associate professor of music, director of choral and vocal studies, and chair of the department of music at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He begins as TBC artistic director in January 2018.

Riley made the announcement as the Texas Boys Choir enjoys the final days of a nearly month-long tour in China, performing 16 concerts to sold-out houses in 14 cities, including a by-invitation performance at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, led by interim artistic director Ellie Lin. They return at the end of July.

“At this rare moment of leadership change in our 71-year history, we are thrilled to have Dr. Bishop join our family,” Riley said. “He has the credentials and training to build upon Texas Boys Choir’s solid foundation of artistic excellence and reputation. Even more exciting is his demonstrated experience as a collaborator, his heart for young people, and his passion for developing community programs.”

Bishop’s selection followed a national search begun in late March when S. Bryan Priddy, who had led the choir since 2008, resigned. Bishop, 41, brings a wide-ranging and rich field of musical and educational experience and capabilities to the role as only the eighth artistic director for the Texas Boys Choir.

He previously served as the artistic director of The Greater South Jersey Chorus, music director of the Erie Philharmonic Chorus and director of choral activities at Penn State Erie. In 2008, he changed the choral landscape of northwestern Pennsylvania by founding its first and only community youth and children’s chorus organization, the Young People’s Chorus of Erie. In 2009, the American Choral Directors Association of Pennsylvania named him “Outstanding Young Conductor of the Year.” He currently serves the ACDA as National Repertoire & Resources Chair for Student Activities. Bishop has been among the guest conductors of the National Chorale’s Annual Messiah Sing-In at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, and he made his Carnegie Hall debut in May 2010 conducting Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with Distinguished Concerts International New York. Previously, he also served on the faculty of Lesley University and in administration for Longy School of Music, both in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and as director of music at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church in Norman, Oklahoma. A respected musician, Bishop performed as a countertenor soloist in chamber ensemble concerts and vocal recitals and sang as a baritone for two seasons with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale.

“It is a joy and privilege to become the next Artistic Director of this extraordinary organization,” Bishop said. “Texas Boys Choir is recognized globally for its remarkably high standards musically and academically. I look forward to virtually limitless opportunity as we continue traditional repertoire while expanding the spectrum of cultures and languages, and as we grow and diversify the membership while strengthening TBC’s engagement in the vibrant North Texas community and beyond.”

A native of Burns, Tennessee, Bishop earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of Oklahoma, his Master of Music degree in choral conducting from Boston University and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Classical Languages from Rhodes College in Memphis, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with distinction and voted into the Rhodes College Hall of Fame, among other accolades.

When he arrives in early 2018, TBC will be preparing for spring and summer engagements and fulfilling an invitation to perform for the National Conference of the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE).

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