1st Edition

A Practical Guide to Choral Conducting

By Harold Rosenbaum Copyright 2018
    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    Rooted in the experience of a professional choral conductor, this book provides a guide to practical issues facing conductors of choral ensembles at all levels, from youth choruses to university ensembles, church and community choirs, and professional vocal groups. Paired with the discussion of practical challenges is a discussion of over fifty key works from the choral literature, with performance suggestions to aid the choral conductor in directing each piece.

    Dealing with often-overlooked yet vital considerations such as how to work with composers, recording, concert halls, and choral tours, A Practical Guide to Choral Conducting offers a valuable resource for both emerging choral conductors and students of choral conducting at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

    Part 1: Leadership, Logistics, and Decision Making

    1. Responsibilities and Opportunities

    2. Recruiting, Auditioning, and Assessing 

    3. Choosing and Learning Repertoire 

    4. Common Conductor Problems and How to Avoid or Fix Them 

    5. The Importance of Acquiring a Solid Conducting Technique

    6. Logistics: Arranging your Singers and Placing your Choir 

    7. Running Rehearsals

    8. Achieving a Better Choral Sound 

    9. Special Choral Concepts and Techniques 

    10. Collaborating with Other Performers 

    11. Collaborating With, and Supporting Composers 

    12. Concerts and Venues 

    13. The Concert Experience - Directing and Savoring

    14. Choral Tours 

    15. Making a Recording 

    16. Breaking Rules: When and Why It Is Acceptable

    17. The World of Professional Choristers – An Inside Look at The New York Virtuoso Singers

    18. Performing Modern Music

    19. Final Thoughts

    Part 2: Anthology

    Appendix 1: Interpreting Johann Sebastian Bach’s: Matthäus-Passion (St. Matthew Passion) (Bärenreiter edition)

    Appendix 2: Interpreting Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem

    Appendix 3: Executing Fermatas in Haydn’s Die Schöpfung (The Creation) (Oxford University Press edition)

    Appendix 4: Interpreting Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa da Requiem (Edition Peters Nr. 4250 or Dover Publications).



    Harold Rosenbaum is a critically acclaimed choral conductor who has led numerous choral ensembles over the course of a decades-long career. The founder of The New York Virtuoso Singers and The Canticum Novum Singers, he has collaborated with ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and has conducted 540 world premieres. Having taught at SUNY Buffalo, the Juilliard School, Queens College, and Adelphi University, he is now active as a guest conductor, clinician, and lecturer, and runs the Harold Rosenbaum Choral Conducting Institute, an annual program of conducting workshops. Visit his website at www.haroldrosenbaum.com to learn more.

    "There can be no one better qualified to write a practical guide to conducting than Harold Rosenbaum.... This is an invaluable guide to conducting by a musician whose interpretations seem always on the mark and whose reverence for music is both keen and infectious."

    —Clara Longstreth, New Music Connoisseur, Volume 23, No. 2

    "Maestro Rosenbaum has produced an aptly named and very useful addition to the conducting bibliography ... it is a compendium of accumulated wisdom from an accomplished and deeply experienced practitioner of the art. ... A Practical Guide to Choral Conducting is an excellent textbook for choral techniques or choral conducting classes. It would also be a valuable asset for orchestral conductors developing competence with choirs. For experienced choral conductors, this is a rewarding read as a valedictory filled with many thoughtful nuggets and a sincere celebration of how lucky we are to do this work."

    —Jonathan D. Green, for the Conductors Guild

    "Harold Rosenbaum has a wealth of experience with professional choral ensembles, teaching at the collegiate level, and presenting choral conducting master classes. One of the standout topics in this book is working with other musicians, accompanists, solo singers, and orchestral players. A Practical Guide to Choral Conducting sheds light on lesser-discussed subjects and topics relevant to and useful for all choral musicians, and provides vital insight into all aspects of the choral art, and would be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of any choral conductor."

    —Alan Davis, Choral Journal

    "This book is a gem, a must read for all serious choral conductors. It describes how to deal effectively with all the different challenges (some expected, some unexpected) that confront any choral conductor. Harold Rosenbaum is an outstanding and truly dedicated musician: very experienced, sensitive, and indeed, thoroughly practical."

    —Thea Musgrave, composer

    "In rehearsal and performance, the hallmark of Harold Rosenbaum’s conducting is simplicity—minimum intervention with no impedance to the flow of understanding between conductor, performer, and listener. A Practical Guide to Choral Conducting reveals much about how he achieves his results. Rosenbaum offers astute, experienced, no-nonsense routes through the places we all find most challenging. There is illumination in this book."

    —John Harbison, composer and Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    "Mr. Rosenbaum is a consummate master of his craft, with a keen ear, an insightful intellect, and a profound musical sensitivity. It’s a great gift for him to share his wisdom from a lifetime of deep commitment to choral music-making, one from which we all can benefit."

    —Robert Spano, Music Director, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra