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Islander appointed music director of NYC choir

Sat, Jun 4th 2016 07:00 am

Grand Island native Malcolm J. Merriweather has been appointed music director of one of New York City's leading choruses.

The Dessoff Choirs May 24 announced Merriweather's appointment as the ninth music director of its 92-year history on May 24. A 2003 graduate of Grand Island High School, Merriweather currently serves as assistant professor and director of choirs at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, associate choirmaster at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and the music director of the "Voices of Haiti" children's choir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He is a faculty member and guest artist in residence at Union Theological Seminary.

Cyndee Socci, president of The Dessoff Choirs, said, "We are looking forward to the start of a wonderful collaboration with Maestro Merriweather. His depth and breadth of experience made him the perfect choice for the future of The Dessoff Choirs as we look ahead to our 100th anniversary season in 2024. We are very excited to witness his vision of creating rich and context-driven experiences for audiences through exceptional music-making in the 2016-17 season."

"I am honored to be called upon by the members and Board of Directors to be the ninth music director of The Dessoff Choirs," said Merriweather. "I remain astounded by the rich history of this institution and look forward to continuing and expanding upon its traditions of bringing great choral music to New York City."

Merriweather was born and raised on Grand Island and got his first start in the choral scene as a chorister in the Choir of Men and Boys at St. Paul's Cathedral in Buffalo. 

"Malcolm is one of the bright rising stars of his generation of choral conductors," said Kent Tritle, director of cathedral music and organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and former music director of The Dessoff Choirs. "Dessoff is close to my heart, and I will always be grateful to the choir for our eight wonderful years together. Knowing them as I do, it is my great expectation that their new synergy with Malcolm will lead to new heights of artistic achievement."

Merriweather holds a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Syracuse University and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the Manhattan School of Music. He recently received the Lotos Club Award in Arts and Sciences, a prize that recognizes individuals for distinguished accomplishments and exceptional talent in the arts and sciences. He additionally holds Master of Music degrees in choral conducting and in vocal performance from the Eastman School of Music.

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