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The Washington Chorus announces Prof. Eugene Rogers as fifth artistic director

One of the most acclaimed next-generation conductors and musical thought leaders working today, Dr. Eugene Rogers – Director of Choirs at the University of Michigan and Founding Director of Exigence Vocal Ensemble –succeeds Christopher Bell starting summer of 2020 as artistic director of The Washington Chorus – DC’s only two time Grammy Award-winning choral ensemble.

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On the eve of launching into its 60th anniversary season starting in the fall of 2020, The Washington Chorus (TWC) announced today that it has appointed acclaimed conductor Dr. Eugene Rogers (DMA ’08, MM ’01, choral conducting) as its fifth artistic director, succeeding Christopher Bell beginning in July of 2020. Rogers’ appointment was unanimously approved by the board of trustees on a unanimous recommendation from the Chorus’s Artistic Director Search Committee, following an eight-month global search that yielded more than 80 highly qualified candidates.

“I am overjoyed by this opportunity to lead and partner with one of America’s leading symphonic choruses. As a native of Virginia, I have admired The Washington Chorus’ rich legacy for years, making this appointment particularly meaningful,” said Rogers.  “The Chorus’ commitment to championing the great historic choral works of the past while fostering new voices and works from women and people of color make this a perfect fit and directly aligns with my life’s work both as a conductor and teacher. I am thrilled beyond belief, and so look forward to collaborating with the chorus, staff, board, and our metro-DC community partners as we enter this new decade and TWC’s 60th year of singing together.”

Through his work with Exigence Vocal Ensemble, the University of Michigan, guest conducting, published arranging, and service to the field, Rogers is widely regarded as one of the most acclaimed next-generation conductors and musical thought leaders today working at the intersection of classical music and social change. A 2015 Grammy Award nominee, 2017 Sphinx Medal of Excellence winner, and recognized in 2017 by Musical America magazine as one of the field’s “Movers and Shapers,” TWC Search Committee Chair Kara Morrissey notes the extraordinary combination of experience and skills that make Rogers the ideal next artistic director for TWC.

“We are excited to welcome Eugene Rogers to the TWC family: he brings such musical expertise and precision, as well as enthusiasm, energy, and vibrancy to his work,” says Morrissey, who also serves as a board member and soprano with the ensemble. “His experience nationally and internationally in the choral world, his creative and ambitious programmatic visioning, his interest in connecting to the DC community, and his experience as a collaborator are all part of TWC’s hope and vision for the future.”

Building on Chorus’s 59-year legacy, Rogers will join TWC at a time of vibrant evolution and growth for this nationally acclaimed choral ensemble. When he begins in the summer of 2020, Rogers will only be TWC’s fifth artistic director, following Christopher Bell (current artistic director through June 2020), Julian Wachner (now music director at Trinity Wall Street in New York City), the legendary Bob Shafer (who served for 35 years in the role), and founding music director Hugh Hayward.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Eugene Rogers has been appointed as the next artistic director of The Washington Chorus, bringing a world-class choral conductor together with a world-class chorus,” says Dean David Gier. “Eugene is an inspiring artistic and creative force here at Michigan, and we are excited to see both how his leadership will transform the Washington Chorus, and how his experience in Washington will influence his work with our students here in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.”

“As artistic director of TWC, my vision is that through audacious, distinctive and inclusive programming, and in tandem collaborations with the amazing colleagues and artists in the Washington, DC region and beyond, we will build on our rich musical legacy and foster a strong and diverse community of artists,” says Rogers. “Creativity and collaboration will be at the heart of this work – whether it’s launching new programs like a ‘Mahogany’ concert series exploring the rich musical traditions of Black, Latinx, and American Indian communities, or building TWC’s community connections programs to bring the power of singing to more people in more places.”