Rardin, Director of Choral Activities at Temple,
will take over the award-winning
130-member symphonic chorus in July 2015
(Philadelphia) Following a nationwide search that attracted intense interest from dozens of the very best choral conductors in America, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia announced today that Temple University professor Dr. Paul Rardin will succeed Alan Harler as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, beginning July 1, 2015. Rardin will be the 13th conductor to hold that position since the chorus’s founding in 1874. Dr. Rardin will continue in his current position as Director of Choral Activities at Temple University, where he oversees the seven-choir program at Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance, conducts the Temple University Concert Choir, and teaches graduate conducting.
Alan Harler, who was named Music Director of Mendelssohn Club in 1988 and Artistic Director in 2009, will continue to serve in his current role throughout this season, conducting the chorus in the North American premiere of Bach-Mendelssohn St. Matthew Passion in February and in the World Premiere of TURBINE by Byron Au Young at the Philadelphia Waterworks in May. After the 2014-2015 season, Harler will remain involved with the chorus as Conductor Laureate.
“With Paul Rardin, we found everything we were looking for in our next Artistic Director,” declared Mendelssohn Club Board Chair Charlotte Sibley. “Paul is highly respected by his singers and co-workers from every phase of his career and for good reason. Not only is Paul a highly skilled conductor with a national reputation, but he is also a published composer who has commissioned new works for several choruses. Paul also has valuable experience as an orchestral/choral conductor for works requiring large choruses.”
“Paul really understands and appreciates Mendelssohn Club’s long term artistic mission,” says Sibley. “And he has some very exciting ideas for continuing Mendelssohn Club’s best traditions while also positioning us to keep growing at a time when audience tastes are evolving and changing.” Sibley was quick to add that, “everyone at Mendelssohn Club has been struck by Paul’s upbeat, generous personality and his great sense of humor. It really is wonderful when a gifted artist turns out to be both a consummate professional and a great guy to be around—someone we all look forward to working with for years to come.”
Retiring Artistic Director Alan Harler is also excited about the news of his successor. “I’ve known and been impressed with Paul’s work for many years,” admits Harler. “Here is a conductor who is capable of bringing the greatest of the masterworks to life with a big chorus, yet also has a real interest in commissioning new works. I have no doubt that Paul is ready to push this chorus to the edges of what choral music will be in the 21st century! With a new face ready to take smart risks, we can all look forward to genuinely exciting and varied concert programs.”
When asked how he felt when Mendelssohn Club offered him the position, Rardin did not hesitate for a moment. “I’m thrilled and overjoyed to be following Alan’s legendary tenure with this chorus. As someone who spent my childhood here in Philadelphia, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to take over the reins of a beloved arts organization that has been presenting concerts for 141 years and is still earning rave reviews and breaking new ground.” Rardin added that, “My overarching goal for my first season, beginning next Fall, is to strive for excellence at every level of performance. I have my wish list for some great music to program in the next few seasons, and I’m looking forward to working closely with Executive Director Amanda Schkeeper and the board of directors to bring these performances to fruition in this coming transitional year.”
Dr. Paul Rardin has served as the Director of Choral Activities at Temple University since 2011, heading a staff that includes Rollo Dilworth, Mitos Andaya, Christine Bass, Art McKenzie, Emilily Kosasih, Julia Zavadsky, and Mendelssohn Club consultant Koji Otsuki. Prior to joining the faculty at Temple University, he served as Associate Director of Choirs at the University of Michigan, where he conducted their renowned Men’s Glee Club. The previous eleven years were spent as Director of Choral Activities at Towson University in Maryland. During his tenure in Maryland, he also conducted the Chesapeake Chorale in Bowie, MD. His choirs have appeared with the Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Baltimore Choral Arts Society.
Rardin has also served as a guest conductor for all-state choirs in fifteen states, for divisional honor choirs for the American Choral Directors Association and National Association for Music Education and for Manhattan Concert Productions at Lincoln Center. He has presented clinics for state, regional, and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. Recent engagements have included conference presentations to the Texas Choral Directors Association, New Jersey ACDA, and Oklahoma Music Educators Association, as well as all-state choirs in Illinois, Florida, and Arkansas. Highlights for the current year include presentations to professional teachers organizations in Maryland, Rhode Island, and Alabama; guest conducting the National Festival Chorus with Manhattan Concert Productions in Carnegie Hall; guest conducting honor choirs in Pennsylvania and Texas; and performance of Carol Barnett’s The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass with Monroe Crossing and the Deer Creek Chorale in Maryland.
Rardin is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Michigan, where he received the M.M. in composition and the D.M.A. in conducting. He has studied conducting with Theodore Morrison, Jerry Blackstone, and Gustav Meier, and composition with Leslie Bassett, George Wilson, and Robert Suderburg. He has also participated in conducting master classes with Helmuth Rilling, Charles Bruffy, and Dale Warland. Rardin’s arrangements of spirituals and folk songs are published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and his articles, many on the topic of contemporary music, have appeared in the ACDA publications Choral Journal, Troubadour, Resound, and Bel Canto.