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Testimonials

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Inspiring Words from Past CIO Participants

“They get to conduct Williamson Voices, something of a Rolls-Royce of a choir we would say, and a group of wonderful people who understand the need for conductors to learn and who are so helpful and accommodating and musically first-class…”

“The Choral Institute has had a profound impact on me and I am confident it will continue to be a safe haven for conductors, educators, and singers for many years to come.”

"James Jordan and James Whitbourn have a unique method of igniting the passion in their choirs that translate wonderfully into vibrant, moving performances. Their approach is more complete, methodological and scientific than most instrumental conducting teachers. The Choral Institute immersed me into the rich cultural traditions of Oxford and helped me identify my own role in the great evolution of human artistic expression. Though it was primarily geared towards the choral genres, I found the course was invaluable to help me inspire instrumentalists to sing through their instruments."

"The Choral Institute has had a profound impact on me and I am confident it will continue to be a safe haven for conductors, educators, and singers for many years to come."

"Each summer, the Westminster Williamson Voices, a select ensemble from Westminster Choir College, is the choir in residence at Oxford. As the choir in residence, they are the laboratory at the Choral Institute group for twenty-four conductors and conducting associates who come to hone their technique. Nowhere is critical pedagogy for music education more evident than in the ten days of interaction and collaboration among the choir and the conductors. By the end of the Institute, the choir and the conductors have become one, supporting and nurturing each other in service to the music in ways that words can’t describe. Applying technical vocabulary, the singers and conductors acquire "musical agency". And while James Jordan and James Whitbourn, who coordinate the conducting instruction, may not identify themselves as critical pedagogues, they are the quintessential examples of transformative teaching. All leave the Institute with a changed vision of how their individual music making contributes to a new vision of themselves in the world that is unique and enhanced. James Jordan’s teaching has always been infused with the Music Learning Theory of Edwin Gordon; and to anyone who knows Gordon’s work, that is evident when watching Jordan teach and conduct. However, the combination of Music Learning Theory with a critical pedagogy perspective is a magical combination that fosters musical agency; nurtures the acquisition of a critical consciousness; and changes the lives of the conductors, choir, and audience."

– Frank Abrahams
Professor of Music Education
Westminster Choir College


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