Wire*—The Phoenix Chorale is proud to announce the five-year appointment of Christopher Gabbitas as Artistic Director beginning with the 2019/20 Season. Gabbitas succeeds Charles Bruffy who led the choir from 1999 until 2017.

Gabbitas’s appointment concludes a search process that lasted nearly two years with applicants from across the United States and abroad, and resulted in four finalists who each conducted concert programs in the Chorale’s recent 60th Anniversary Season.

“The Phoenix Chorale is arguably one of the world’s most important contributors to the choral art form and we take that responsibility seriously,” said Rebecca McClain, Phoenix Chorale Board and Search Chair. “The Artistic Director role is critical for the Chorale and while the search was long, it was truly delightful in every way. Chris has a very strong vision for the next stage of the Chorale’s growth. It’s such an exciting time for the Chorale, and we are all on pins and needles to see what new heights we will embark upon under his leadership.”

A two-time Grammy Award-winning singer and former member of The King’s Singers, Christopher Gabbitas has toured the world visiting more than 40 countries and performing almost 2,000 concerts worldwide. Gabbitas appears on over 30 albums with The King’s Singers, and served as a clinician in over 500 masterclasses. As a managing partner for The King’s Singers and a qualified attorney, Gabbitas helped set up charitable foundations in both the UK and US and worked to raise funds for numerous charities around the world.

“From the very beginning of this process, our top goal was to find a candidate that would lead the Chorale into the next 60 years and build upon the incredible success and legacy of the Chorale,” said Jen Rogers, Phoenix Chorale President & CEO. “Chris’s enthusiasm is contagious and inspires everyone that comes into contact with him. Right away, there was chemistry with Chris across the board. His experience with The King’s Singers as both a performer and managing partner are impressive strengths he will bring to the position. I’m really looking forward to having Chris as a colleague, and work side-by-side with him to take the Chorale into the next era.”

As Artistic Director, Gabbitas will lead all artistic and creative aspects of the organization, building and expanding the Phoenix Chorale’s sixty-year legacy through long-term planning and visioning, increasing visibility at home and abroad, expanding outreach opportunities, and increasing the capacity of the Chorale to reach a broader audience.

“As a singer, the relationship between the conductor and the choir is so nuanced, yet has such power. Chris brought a combination of sensitivity and confidence that we all felt,” said Alison Chaney, Phoenix Chorale Singer and Board Representative. “As a singer himself, he has an innate understanding of the connection and trust that grows between the choir and its conductor. He had a remarkable ability to bring all of us together to translate the notes into a highly emotional and moving experience for everyone involved. Such a talent—we are thrilled beyond measure to have him join us.”

Gabbitas’s first concert series as Artistic Director will take place October 18-20, 2019. He will initially divide his time between Arizona, California, and the UK and anticipates a move to Redlands, California with his American wife, Stephanie, and three daughters, Bella, Lyra, and Ariana.

“I am thrilled and honored to have been appointed as Artistic Director of the Phoenix Chorale, one of the very finest choral ensembles in North America. As a custodian of this important position, I look forward to working with the wonderful singers of the Chorale and communicating with audiences across the Valley and further afield, through live concerts and recordings,” said Christopher Gabbitas. “I’m also excited to be joining the wider Phoenix community and promoting the joy of singing and choral music as ambassador for the Chorale, in conjunction with CEO Jen Rogers. The Phoenix Chorale is a shining gem in the middle of the desert, and our mission is to ensure we raise our voices in song, reaching as many people as possible and spreading the wonder of live music to all who will listen.”

The Phoenix Chorale’s 2019/20 Season concert dates include October 18-20, 2019, December 13-17, 2019, February 28-29 & March 1, 2020, and April 24-26, 2020. The full concert season will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information about the Chorale and Artistic Director Christopher Gabbitas, visit phoenixchorale.org.

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Images courtesy of Phoenix Chorale