Donald Nally Appointed Chorus Master of Lyric Opera of Chicago

Classic Arts News   Donald Nally Appointed Chorus Master of Lyric Opera of Chicago
Lyric Opera of Chicago has selected Donald Nally as its new chorus master, effective May 1 of next year. He replaces Donald Palumbo, the company's chorus master since 1991; the latter begins his tenure as chorus master for the Metropolitan Opera next season.

Nally comes to Lyric from Welsh National Opera, where he has served as chorus master for three seasons. In addition, this year he served as guest conductor for London's Philharmonia Chorus and chorus master for a massed-choir performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with four Welsh choruses, Sinfonia Cymru, and soloists including bass-baritone Bryn Terfel.

From August 1992 through December 2003, Nally was chorus master at the Opera Company of Philadelphia and choirmaster at St. Mark's Church in the city. He served as chorus master for the Spoleto Festivals in Italy and the U.S. from 1989-91 and director of choruses at the Italian Spoleto Festival from 1993-98 and in 2001.

A devoted advocate of new music, Nally is closely associated with Scottish composer James MacMillan; he has also conducted premieres of works by John Musto, Jonathan Harvey, Jake Heggie, David Shapiro, Robert Maggio, Robert Convery, Howard Yermish and Benjamin C.S. Boyle. One of Nally's pet projects is The Crossing, a Philadelphia-based professional chamber choir specializing in new music whose 18 singers live around the country and converge to perform as personal schedules permit.

Nally has not collaborated previously with Lyric's music director, Sir Andrew Davis, nor with the other conductors and stage directors scheduled for Lyric's 2007-08 season, which will be announced in January.

"I couldn't be more excited about joining Lyric; everything I've seen or experienced there is absolutely first class," Nally commented. "I love collaborating, and the drama of making drama. I know that Lyric's chorus shares my concerns that the chorus always be a dramatic character whose music is born from the drama, that the work be organic, that it always has a purpose. I have already seen from Bill Mason and Andrew Davis that they are collaborators by nature, with the highest goals."

Born in 1960 in Hilltown (Bucks County), Pennsylvania, Donald Nally holds degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and the University of Illinois, where he earned his doctor of musical arts degree in 1995. His first position following undergraduate school was as music department chair at The Chicago Academy for the Arts.

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