MICHAEL CONLEY - Music Director
Michael Conley has earned a notable reputation in the United States and abroad for his multifaceted career as conductor, pianist, organist, singer, and composer. The New York Times has said of his work, “first-rate conducting;” of his choirs, “proficient” and “well-blended sound;” and of his compositions, “tuneful,” “handsome,” “ambitious,” “piquant,” and “surprising.” In addition to serving as Music Director of the Hudson Chorale, he was the Music Director of the Choral Arts Society (2006-2010), and is currently in his 13th season as the Artistic Director of the West Village Chorale, conducting its annual series of concerts at the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, Manhattan.
Since 2006 Mr. Conley has been the Music Director for Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square, one of the country’s most historically progressive and unique congregations. He is the worship pianist, conductor of the Judson Choir, and founder of Judson Arts, a concert series which celebrates an eclectic mix of musical styles and ensembles. From 2004 to 2012 he was the Director of the High School Chorus at the prestigious Dalton School in Manhattan, conducting performances not only in New York, but to standing-room-only audiences in churches and concert halls throughout Europe, including St. Peters in Rome, the Duomo in Florence, and venues in Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Salzburg, Germany and Spain.
Mr. Conley also held the position of Assistant Director of Music to Kent Tritle at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (1996-1999), and Assistant Conductor of the Collegiate Chorale (2000-2005), working with the late Music Director Robert Bass in rehearsal and in preparation of the Chorale for over fifteen Carnegie Hall performances. He also helped prepare the Chorale for performances with the EOS Orchestra and the Ulster Philharmonic, and for performances at the Caramoor Festival in Katonah, New York, and the Verbier Festival in Switzerland for James Levine. Additionally, he served as Chorus master for the Connecticut Grand Opera’s 2003-04 season, preparing productions of Gounod’s Faust and Verdi’s Macbeth.
As a singer, he was a founding member of the professional 14-voice choir, Manhattan Voices. He sings with the caroling ensemble, The Yuletide Singers, and in the spring of 2005 he was the baritone soloist with the Gregg Smith Singers in the premier performance and recording of Princeton composer Dmitri Tzmoczko’s The Agony of Modern Music. He most recently appeared as a soloist with the Dessoff Choirs in their highly regarded performance of Arvo Pärt’s Passio at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Times Square.
Mr. Conley holds a Bachelor’s degree in composition from James Madison University in Virginia. He earned a Master’s degree in conducting from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, where his principal teacher was Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt, and where he was awarded the Mueller Prize in choral composition. As a member of the famed Westminster Choir he performed and recorded with many of the great orchestras and conductors of our time in concerts all over the world.
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.