OUR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Skylark Artistic Director Matthew Guard is quickly earning a reputation as one of the most innovative and thoughtful programmers in American choral music. Praised for his “catalyzing leadership” (Q2/WQXR) and “musically creative and intellectually rich” programming (Opera Obsession), Matthew is passionate about communicating something unique in each concert and recording. He scours the world of available repertoire for each program, exhaustively researches each piece, and crafts concerts and printed programs that captivate audiences with their hidden connections and seamless artistry. In addition to his day-to-day leadership of Skylark and role as a conductor in concerts, Matthew is also an active arranger and editor of scores, as he rarely finds programming ideas that will truly sing without at least one piece specifically arranged or composed for the program.
ARTISTIC ADVISORY BOARD
Skylark's artists are fortunate to benefit from the counsel and advice of handful of key artistic advisors. Leaders in the choral arts, we are profoundly grateful for the time and expertise they offer to help Skylark achieve artistic excellence.
Simon Carrington, Yale University professor emeritus, has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in music, performing as singer, double bass player and conductor, first in the UK where he was born, and latterly in the USA. From 2003 to 2009 he was professor of choral conducting at Yale University and director of the Yale Schola Cantorum, a 24-voice chamber choir which he brought to national and now international prominence. From 2001 until his Yale appointment, he was director of choral activities at the New England Conservatory, Boston, where he was selected by the students for the Krasner Teaching Excellence Award and from where he will receive an Honorary Doctorate in 2014, and from 1994 to 2001 he held a similar position at the University of Kansas. Prior to coming to the United States, Mr. Carrington was a creative force for twenty-five years with the internationally acclaimed British vocal ensemble The King’s Singers, which he co-founded at Cambridge University. The King’s Singers gave 3,000 performances at many of the world’s most prestigious festivals and concert halls, made more than seventy recordings, and appeared on countless television and radio programs, including nine appearances on the Tonight Show with the late Johnny Carson!
Pamela Elrod Huffman’s conducting career spans all levels – from elementary and secondary schools to university, symphonic, and church choirs. Since 2007, Dr. Huffman has served as the Director of Choral Activities at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, where she oversees the M.M. Choral Conducting program and directs all of the University’s choral ensembles. Prior to this appointment, she held the position of Assistant Director of Choral Studies at Texas Tech University, where she served both the music education and conducting areas. Huffman holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music from the University of Texas at Austin and a D.M.A. in Choral Conducting from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. An accomplished vocalist, Huffman has appeared as a guest artist with numerous university, professional, community and church choirs throughout the country. From 1988 until 1999, she sang with the late Robert Shaw, performing and recording with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, the Robert Shaw Choral Institutes, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus. Since 2003, she has been a member of the Grammy-nominated professional choral ensemble, Conspirare, under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson.
Vance George is internationally recognized as one of America’s leading choral conductors. Under his direction the San Francisco Symphony chorus has been hailed as one of the finest in the world. On their behalf he has accepted four Grammy awards, for Best Performance of a Choral Work Orff’s Carmina Burana, 1992 and Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem, 1995, Best Classical Album of the year Stravinsky’s Perséphone, 2000 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, 2004. He also conducted the San Francisco Chorus and Orchestra in works ranging from Bach’s Mass in B Minor to Carmina burana. TV and film credits include an Emmy for Sweeney Todd, 2002 and soundtracks for Amadeus, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Godfather III. Vance George’s work embodies the legacy of the great maestros he has known as protégé and colleague, especially Robert Shaw, Julius Herford, Margaret Hillis, Robert Page, Otto Werner-Mueller, and Mary Oyer. He has received great acclaim for his unique knowledge of musical styles, languages, vocal colors, and his synthesis of the choral-orchestral tradition. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Kent State University, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Chorus America.
Jameson Marvin is an American choral conductor, composer, arranger, and editor who from 1978-2010 directed the Harvard Glee Club, the Radcliffe Choral Society, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum (collectively the Holden Choruses) and has also taught choral conducting at Harvard University. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Music from the University of Illinois, a Master of Arts in Choral Conducting from Stanford University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Composition from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has worked with Howard Swan and Robert Shaw, and his students have gone on to lead major choruses throughout the country. With the Holden Choruses, he has made nearly a dozen appearances at conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, including six national conventions. His academic specialty is the music of the Renaissance, and he serves as principal editor of the Oxford Music Renaissance series.
Geoffrey Silver is a choral specialist with 25 years experience, and is the Chorus Master of The Washington Chorus. He was a boy chorister at Westminster Abbey and later sang at Trinity College and St John's College, Cambridge University, where he studied the modern history of music patronage to post-graduate level with historian Dr Peter Martland. From 2003, he built a large voice studio at Christ Church, Greenwich, CT, later returning as music director. As a soloist he has sung live on the BBC, and at the Wigmore Hall, St. John’s Smith Square, London, and in the US with Clarion Music Society, Trinity Wall Street and at Alice Tully Hall. He has appeared on over 30 recordings to critical acclaim, including New York Polyphony's three founding projects. He recently made his counter-tenor debut in Purcell's "The Fairy Queen" at the Amherst Early Music Festival. Notable teachers include David Lowe, Braeden Harris and Clara Rottsolk. As a record producer, he works for his own label (Acis Productions), with recent external clients including the Choir of Trinity Wall Street (Naxos), the Clarion Music Society, and Quintus.