How a South Salem Conductor Keeps Busy Without a Choir to Conduct

By Nick Trujillo

SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the music performance industry has been unable to function and is financially rocked. Concert venues have had their doors closed since March of last year, and professional musicians have been without work for over a year.

South Salem resident Harold Rosenbaum, founder, and conductor of the New York Virtuoso Singers and the Canticum Novum Singers, has been a first-hand witness to the sudden halt of musical performance. The last time one of his choirs performed was Jan. 24, 2020, on his 70th birthday. His choral groups had all their performances scheduled for the 2020 concert season canceled and have not had a performance since before the nationwide shutdown.

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“….Harold Rosenbaum, a favorite choral conductor of Schuman’s…”
-excerpt from American Muse: The Life and Times of William Schuman by
Joseph W. Polisi; published by Amadeus Press

“Although I am responsible for each piece tonight, the impeccable Harold Rosenbaum is responsible for the assemblage of pieces, eliminating huge oratorios with diabolical texts, and choosing what befits the nuanced purity of his sixteen madrigalists. The ten works span 43 years. Each is an example of Gebrauchmusik commisioned for a specific occasion.”
–excerpt from Lies: A Diary (1986-1999) by Ned Rorem; published by Counterpoint

“On December 21, 2012, the conductor Harold Rosenbaum led the New York Virtuoso Singers and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in a performance of The Creation at Carnegie Hall. This was the very night that the ancient Mayan calendar had predicted the world would end […] any apocalyptic forces kicking around that night did not have a chance against Haydn. The Creation triumphed.”
–excerpt from The Indispensible Composers: A Personal Guide
by Anthony Tommasini; published by Penguin Press

Five of the best works by Thea Musgrave

The Voices of our Ancestors (2014)
Drawing inspiration from the Indian Rigveda, this piece for chorus and orchestra uses texts in a host of languages, including Latin, Hebrew and Persian, that explore what it means to be alive.

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By Harold Rosenbaum

Rooted in the experience of a professional choral conductor, this book provides a guide to practical issues facing conductors of choral ensembles at all levels, from youth choruses to university ensembles, church and community choirs, and professional vocal groups. Paired with the discussion of practical challenges is a discussion of over fifty key works from the choral literature, with performance suggestions to aid the choral conductor in directing each piece.

Dealing with often-overlooked yet vital considerations such as how to work with composers, recording, concert halls, and choral tours, A Practical Guide to Choral Conducting offers a valuable resource for both emerging choral conductors and students of choral conducting at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Available now from Amazon.

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On May 27, 2010, when acclaimed choral conductor Harold Rosenbaum received ASCAP’s coveted Victor Herbert Award for Distinguished Service to American Music at the 11th annual ASCAP Concert Music Awards, a kernel of an idea was born.

As part of that same ceremony, recognition was also bestowed upon yet another bumper crop of ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award recipients, the latest annual group of tremendously creative and talented composers to be nationally recognized with that award.