Westminster Schola Cantorum
James Jordan, conductor
Westminster Schola Cantorum is one of three curricular choirs at Westminster Choir College. Composed of all students in their second year of study at the college, this ensemble forms a vital link between the technique and artistry gained by students in their first-year experience at the college in the Westminster Chapel Choir and Westminster Symphonic Choir, which performs with many of the world’s finest orchestras and is a cornerstone of the Westminster experience. The second year of ensemble performance study focuses on refinement of ensemble skills combined with choral literature appropriate to both the musical growth and artistic understanding of the singers in the ensemble.
Westminster Choir College is the only college in the world that focuses its program around a student’s choral experiences. Unique to this experience is that students sing with their class for two years to not only build their artistry but to strengthen their sense of community and what it is to sing together. This vision was the core value of the institution’s founder, John Finley Williamson. Westminster Schola Cantorum is also the only curricular choir that annually tours in the spring. All students in this ensemble study with Westminster’s acclaimed voice faculty, the largest voice faculty in the world. In their second year of study, students may audition for Westminster’s small ensembles: Westminster Choir, Westminster Williamson Voices, Westminster Kantorei, Westminster Jubilee Singers and Westminster Concert Handbell Choir. Many of the singers in Schola Cantorum are also members of those ensembles.
The ensemble's 2017-2018 season includes a collaboration with Westminster Chapel Choir, performing Brahms's Liebeslieder Waltzes at the War Memorial in Trenton as part of Westminster's Transforming Space project, as well as a joint concert at Lincoln Center in the winter. Additionally, Westminster Schola Cantorum will perform in Westminster's annual An Evening of Readings and Carols in the Princeton University Chapel, a concert tour of the Southeast and a Homecoming concert in Princeton.
In past seasons, the choir has performed major works in the choral repertoire: Britten’s St. Nicolas, Duruflé’s Requiem, Poulenc’s Gloria, Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Rachmanioff’s The Bells. In addition to its fall concert and spring tour, the choir is one of the Westminster ensembles featured in the college’s popular Evening of Readings and Carols, which is presented in Princeton in December.
Grammy-nominated conductor James Jordan is recognized and praised throughout the musical world as one of America’s pre-eminent conductors, writers, music psychologists and innovators in choral music. He was described as a “visionary” by The Choral Journal, which cited his book Evoking Sound as a “must read.” His more than 40 books explore both the philosophical and spiritual basis of musicianship, as well as aspects of choral rehearsal teaching and learning and are considered to be essential books in the conducting profession.