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Rochester Oratorio Society

Townell_Eric_RochOratorio.jpgEric Townell, director

Celebrating more than 60 years as an integral part of Rochester’s vibrant arts community, the Rochester Oratorio Society gives voice to the very best qualities of our region. Under Artistic Director Eric Townell, the ROS explores a widely diverse, multi-cultural, and modern repertoire that includes the great standards; collaborates with local arts groups of all kinds; and performs in non-traditional community settings.

Under Music Directors Theodore Hollenbach (1945-1986) and Roger Wilhelm (1986-2006), the ROS presented the Rochester premieres of such major works as Britten’s War Requiem and Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand. It has performed in six European capitals and at prominent festivals, including Chautauqua under conductor Uriel Segal. Its distinguished history with the RPO includes performances of Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Handel’s Messiah, and the Rochester premieres of Parry’s Blest Pair of Sirens and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, under Maestros Seaman, Bernstein, Zinman, Elder, Effron, and others.

Eric Townell is widely recognized as a versatile and dynamic conductor of choral, operatic, and symphonic repertoire. Formerly music director of the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, Festival Choir of Madison, and Master Singers of Milwaukee, Townell led commissions by American composers and developed programming emphasizing contemporary works and collaboration. He has conducted youth, family, educational, and pops concerts and has served as guest conductor for the Rochester Philharmonic, Milwaukee, and Madison Symphony orchestras. A two-time prizewinner of the International Opera Conducting Course/Competition, he has conducted opera performances throughout the U.S. and Europe.

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