[ Choral Conducting ]
Since the fall of 2003, Jeffrey Douma has served as director of the Yale Glee Club, hailed under his direction by The New York Times as “one of the best collegiate singing ensembles, and one of the most adventurous.” He also serves as professor of conducting at the Yale School of Music, where he teaches in the graduate choral program, as founding director of the Yale Choral Artists, and as artistic director of the Yale International Choral Festival.
Douma has appeared as a guest conductor with choruses and orchestras on six continents, including the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore’s Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Youth Orchestra, Daejeon Philharmonic Choir, Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Solistas de la Habana, Istanbul’s Tekfen Philharmonic, Norway’s Edvard Grieg Kor, the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and the Central Conservatory’s EOS Orchestra in Beijing, as well as the Yale Philharmonia and Yale Symphony Orchestra. He also currently serves as musical director of the Yale Alumni Chorus, which he has led on ten international tours. He served for five years as choirmaster at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut, where performances featured a range of repertoire, from Bach’s St. John Passion with baroque orchestra to Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum. He currently serves as Director of Music at the Unitarian Society of New Haven.
Choirs under his direction have performed in Leipzig’s Neues Gewandhaus, Dvořák Hall in Prague, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Notre Dame de Paris, Singapore’s Esplanade, Argentina’s Teatro Colon, the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher and Alice Tully Halls, and Carnegie Hall, and he has prepared choruses for performances under such eminent conductors as Marin Alsop, William Christie, Valery Gergiev, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir David Willcocks, Dale Warland, Krzysztof Penderecki, Nicholas McGegan, and Helmuth Rilling.
Douma has presented at state, divisional, and national conventions of the ACDA and NCCO, and the Yale Glee Club appeared as a featured ensemble at the NCCO national and ACDA divisional conferences. Active with musicians of all ages, Douma served for four years on the conducting faculty at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, America’s premier training ground for high school age musicians, conducting the Concert Choir, Women’s Choir, and Festival Choir. He frequently serves as a clinician for festivals and honors choirs. Recent engagements include conducting master classes at the China International Chorus Festival, the University of Michigan School of Music, the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Hochschule der Künste in Zurich, and the Berlin Radio Choir’s International Masterclass. In January and February 2017 he was in residence at Luther College as the visiting conductor of the internationally renowned Nordic Choir, and was recently in residence at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.
An advocate of new music, Douma established the Yale Glee Club Emerging Composers Competition and Fenno Heath Award, and has premiered new works by such composers as Jennifer Higdon, Dominick Argento, Caroline Shaw, Bright Sheng, Ned Rorem, Ted Hearne, Hannah Lash, Martin Bresnick, Rene Clausen, Lewis Spratlan, and James Macmillan. He also serves as the editor of the Yale Glee Club New Classics Choral Series, published by Boosey & Hawkes. His original compositions are published by G. Schirmer and Boosey & Hawkes. A tenor, Douma has appeared as an ensemble member and soloist with many of the nation’s leading professional choirs.
In the spring of 2003, Douma was one of only two North American conductors invited to compete for the first Eric Ericson Award, the premier international competition for choral conductors. Prior to his appointment at Yale he served as director of choral activities at Carroll College and also taught on the conducting faculties of Smith College and St. Cloud State University.
Douma earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Concordia College, in Moorhead, Minnesota, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Michigan. He lives in Hamden, Connecticut, with his wife, pianist and conductor Erika Schroth, and their two children, Fi and Will.