This September marked the beginning of the newest chapter in my life, as I began doctoral studies at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Leaving Connecticut, my home of ten years, was certainly a bittersweet moment, but it had become clear to me that if I was going to take this next step in my education, it needed to happen sooner rather than later. With incredible support from my wife Tori, my family, and my dear friends and colleagues, I applied to and was accepted into the program at Rutgers. Even at this early stage of my studies, I can’t help but believe that this was absolutely the right decision for me.
I am currently one of two doctoral students in the choral conducting program. Our teacher, Patrick Gardner, is an accomplished conductor, teacher, and clinician, who in addition to his duties as director of choral activities at Rutgers is also the conductor of the Riverside Choral Society in New York. His gift for teaching and his extensive knowledge of choral repertoire and history are all inspirational traits, and I hope that through my studies over the next three years I will be able to grow as a musician and learn as much as I can from him.
In addition to my studies, I am also delighted to be serving as both a Teaching Assistant (teaching undergraduate choral conducting) and as the interim director of the Rutgers University Choir, a 75-voice mixed choir comprised of students from the larger student body. It’s been a privilege to work with these students, whose wide-ranging experiences and backgrounds all enrich the program and create a rich and diverse ensemble. I’m conducting students who are majoring in chemistry, biology, psychology, music education, physics, engineering, art, theater, and everything in between. We’ve been in rehearsals for about a month now, and I can already sense the immense potential of this group. I look forward to sharing more about this talented choir as the year progresses, but I’ll go ahead and share a plug now – if you’re planning to be in New Jersey on Dec. 11, you should come to our fall program at the Nicholas Music Center at the Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Brunswick!
While saying goodbye (or at least, “see you later”) to the life I had grown to love in Connecticut was very difficult, beginning this new adventure in New Jersey has invigorated me and inspired me to continue my studies. I look forward to new challenges and building new professional relationships here, while continuing to keep my previous partnerships and collaborations alive. Thank you all so much for being a part of this journey with me.