IRA SPAULDING – Music Director
Ira Spaulding brings an astonishing depth and breadth of choral experience to his new role as Hudson Choral’s new Music Director. He has enjoyed a career spanning more than 35 years, performing concerts and recitals and giving master classes and choral workshops in more than 60 countries. In August 2008 after living for 27 years in Europe, he returned to his native New York to accept the position of Professor of Vocal and Choral Music at City College of New York. That same month he was named the new Artistic Director of the Park Slope Singers in Brooklyn. Although he is most active in building the choral and vocal program at CCNY, he has continued to sing concerts in Europe when possible, including Elijah in Stuttgart in 2008 and more than 100 performances of J.S. Bach Passions.
In 2009 he gave a series of recitals in the Caribbean, and conducted two concerts with the Lithuanian Chamber Choir Aukuras. In October of 2010 he made his debut conducting the Belarusian State Philharmonic Choir in Minsk, and as a result was invited to conduct at the Prokofiev Festival in the Ukraine in April of the following year. Further concerts in 2013 included the St. John and St. Matthew Passions of J.S. Bach and Messiah in the Netherlands and Germany. The summer of 2014 found him preparing the Lithuanian Chamber Choir Aukuras for a concert performance of Porgy and Bess in which he also sang the male solos.
As part of American Voices Ira Spaulding has sung in more than 55 countries since 1998. During the 2000-01 season alone he appeared in Saudi Arabia, Malta, Tunisia, Greece, Bahrain, Lithuania, Albania, Russia, and Bosnia, and made his first appearances in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
In January of 2007 Mr. Spaulding returned to Moscow at the invitation of Maestro Boris Tevlin to conduct the Moscow State Conservatory Chorus in the Great Hall of the Conservatory as part of the anniversary program. He has also conducted choirs from the conservatories of Saigon, Almaty, Kiev, Vilnius, Baku, Banja Luka, Guadalajara and Minsk. Besides appearing in recital as part of American Voices, he has also sung with orchestras in Argentina, Bolivia, Albania and El Salvador.
Ira Spaulding first moved to Europe in 1981 and his reputation as a choral conductor, soloist and teacher immediately grew. In 1982 he was invited by Jessye Norman to sing the baritone role in the Robert Wilson production and recording in Paris of “Great Day in the Morning.” The following year he sang on the Dutch television show “Jonge Mensen op het Concert Podium” and made his debut as a concert singer in the Concertgebouw singing the soli in Messiah with the Amsterdam Philharmonisch Orkest. He has since sung several times in the Concertgebouw’s Kleine Zall and has also conducted in the Grote Zall Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Oratorio Choir of the University of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Promenade Orkest. Mr. Spaulding has conducted Dutch Radio Chorus for radio broadcast, and the oratorio choir of the University of Amsterdam for ten years, never repeating a program.
From the fall of 1990 to 2008 he conducted the chamber choir VOCOZA, touring the group in Germany. He taught at the Conservatory of Amsterdam for 20 years and was coached in Holland by Aafje Heynis at the suggestion of Jessye Norman.
Ira Spaulding studied with Robert Simpson at Westminster Choir College (Bachelor of Music) and also holds a Master of Music from Eastern Kentucky University in Voice Performance and Choral Conducting.
DAVID BARANOWSKI - Accompanist and Assistant Director
David Baranowski is a highly versatile and gifted accompanist, performing with equal virtuosity on piano, keyboard, organ, and harpsichord, with repertoire ranging from Bach to Deep Purple. He has played numerous chamber and choral concerts in the Westchester area, and is currently the accompanist for the Westchester Choral Society as well as the Hudson Chorale. As an organist, Mr. Baranowski has performed such works as the Brahms, Fauré, and Duruflé Requiems, the Dvořák Mass in D, Handel’s Messiah, and the Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio. As a conductor, he has directed the Poulenc Gloria, the Schubert Mass in G, and the Rutter Magnificat; and most recently, he conducted Mozart's Cosi fan tutte from the harpsichord for the Delaware Valley Opera.
For the past ten years Mr. Baranowski has been touring internationally with rock icon Ritchie Blackmore as both keyboardist and singer. He has played over 100 concerts and visited nearly 25 countries as a member of Blackmore’s Night, which has been on the charts in Germany, Czech Republic, Russia, England, and the US. He has also appeared on German television multiple times, and was featured on the primetime program Hit Giganten as well as on Fernsehgarten, reaching millions of viewers. One English newspaper said of his performance in Blackmore's Night, "... it was the keyboard player who was obviously the jester in this band of players....Along with his sense of comedy, the pianist…was obviously classically trained. He would have easily fit into a King Crimson rock band, or a full orchestra playing Rachmaninoff."
Mr. Baranowski has also collaborated with Irish pop singer and composer, Julie Feeney; and in the Spring of 2012 he played keyboard for Ms. Feeney’s ten performances at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan. He is currently the Director of Music at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Danbury, Connecticut.
Mr. Baranowski studied piano with Paul Ostrovsky and Steven Lubin, organ with Robert Fertitta, and voice with Stefano Algieri. He received both his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music.