Master Chorale hires new artistic director

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Karen Kennedy

The Master Chorale of South Florida has chosen Karen Kennedy as the ensemble’s new artistic director.

Since 2006, Kennedy has served as associate professor and director of choral activities at Towson University in Maryland. In this position, she directed the University Chorale, Women’s Choir, Men’s Choir, and Towson University Choral Society.

Prior to her position at Towson, Kennedy spent six years in Honolulu, serving as associate professor and director of choral activities at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and for four years served as director of the Honolulu Symphony Chorus. She holds a Bachelor’s of Music in choral music education from DePauw University, a Master’s of Music in choral conducting from Butler University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of Arizona.

Kennedy was the unanimous choice of the four finalists, said the Master Chorale in a press release.

Jeffrey S. Stern was also named the Chorale’s new associate conductor and Matthew Steynor will be back as resident accompanist.

Kennedy’s predecessor, Joshua Habermann left the Chorale earlier this year to take up a new post as chorus director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Like Habermann and the Chorale’s founder Jo-Michael Scheibe, Kennedy has also been hired as director of choral activities at the University of Miami.

Chorale spokesperson Nancy Gates-Lee, said in a released statement that the UM appointment did not influence their decision to hire Kennedy as artistic director.

“The fact that Dr. Kennedy had accepted the University of Miami position did not factor into our decision. She was selected for her vibrant personality, conducting style and ability to communicate with and motivate the singers.

“Her enthusiasm and work ethic will make her a tremendous asset to a non-profit organization like ours.”

Posted in News

16 Responses to “Master Chorale hires new artistic director”

  1. Posted May 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm by Valerie Ossipoff

    The Master Chorale is very fortunate to have Dr. Kennedy. I sang, joyfully, under her direction while she was leading the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and, truth be told, we still miss her! Bravo and brava.

  2. Posted May 17, 2011 at 4:36 am by Marita L. Nelson, Ph.D.

    The Honolulu Symphony Chorus was very sorry to lose Dr. Kennedy when she moved to Maryland. I know the Univ. of Miami and the Chorale will thrive and learn to like her as much as we did.

  3. Posted May 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm by Keone Z.

    K2 leaves an indelible mark on choirs everywhere she goes. You lucky guys are gonna love her!

    Keone Z.
    UH Manoa Chamber Singer, 2003-2006

  4. Posted May 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm by Ann Arnone

    The Honolulu Symphony Chorus sparkled under the expert direction of Dr. Kennedy and she is sorely missed. “Have a stand”… so many fond memories.

  5. Posted May 17, 2011 at 5:11 pm by Katherine Reynolds

    MasterChorale will have the best of the best…I belong to the Durango Choral Society (Durango, Colorado) and went twice to the Hawai’i International Choral Festival to sing Carmina Burana and the Mozart Requiem…Karen Kenndy is a real master – professional, inspiring, personable, brings out the best in everyone. She was truly admired and respected by everyone in Honolulu and in the Honolulu Symphony Chorus as well as by singers who came from all over the world to participate in the festival…You are blessed to have her!!!

  6. Posted May 17, 2011 at 9:16 pm by David Behlke, artist and professor

    A choral organization who has Ms Kennedy as the director is blessed with her vivacious personality and concern for those she directs.
    singing with Karen at the helm was a joy from rehearsals to performance. She lights up a room without trying!

  7. Posted May 18, 2011 at 1:08 am by Pam Eliashof

    You have the best of the best. She is a dynamic leader. We still miss her inspiring leadership.

  8. Posted May 18, 2011 at 5:10 pm by Andrea W.

    As a 7 year member of the Master Chorale it is very gratifying to read all the lovely comments about Dr. Kennedy. The search committee worked very hard and presented us with four very accomplished finalists who all brought different strengths with them. The entire chorale had the opportunity to give their input to the board and I know it was a very close vote. We were fortunate to have such wonderful musicians to choose from and I’m excited to start working with Dr. Kennedy. Thank you to everyone on the search committee and board who did an outstanding job.

  9. Posted May 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm by Mark W. Glickman

    The members of the Master Chorale of South Florida are so thrilled to have a new Artistic Director of Dr. Kennedy’s caliber, and look forward to working with the excellent team of Jeff Stern and Matthew Steynor as well!

  10. Posted May 19, 2011 at 3:36 pm by Dave Johnson

    Karen was our director in the Honolulu Symphony Chorus. You have chosen the very best.

  11. Posted May 20, 2011 at 11:17 am by Jeannie Weiss

    How absolutely inspiring it is to be looking forward to Dr. Kennedy’s leadership next season and beyond! The supportive posts completely reflect what we experienced with her captivating and energetic audition – from her initial ‘have a stand :)’ to the last invigorating note. Thank you Search Committee for a job well done.

  12. Posted May 20, 2011 at 5:09 pm by Therese Anello

    As a member of the Soprano section, I look forward to working under the direction of Dr. Kennedy. The Master Chorale of South Florida deserves the best director. It appears that once again the Search Committee gave the chorus just that. Thank you to all who made this happen. And welcome aboard, Dr. Kennedy!

  13. Posted May 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm by Kalena Loo

    South Florida has been truly blessed. Karen Kennedy shares her talents to the nth degree, and it makes the choir and orchestra want to produce the absolute best music they can. Her performers here (that includes me) in Honolulu miss her very much, but we also wish her the best in her new endeavors. Much ALOHA Karen

  14. Posted May 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm by Penelope Lawhn

    Congratulations for getting the best chorale director around. She’ll get the absolute best out of all of sections as you strive to hear her say, “so close to greatness”. K2 we miss you.

  15. Posted Jun 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm by Hector Barrera

    As a 3 year member of the Master Chorale, I’m very confident that Dr. Karen Kennedy was the correct candidate to lead the us to a higher plateau after the departure of Joshua Habermann.

  16. Posted Sep 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm by Teresa Arcangel

    Singers in Honolulu miss Karen Kennedy, not only because of her great talent, but also for her wonderful personality. The search committee of the Master Chorale of South Florida has, by this time, realized what a perfect choice it made in Ms. Kennedy, but I had to put my two cents in anyway. Karen, aloha from OCS!

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Mon May 16, 2011
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