My Professional Philosophy/Pedagogical Approach:
Performing choral music is a uniquely unifying human endeavor, which has the potential to engender glimpses into the sublime. Psychologist Abraham Maslow calls these moments “peak experiences.” It is my assertion that these transformative experiences can be actively sought through a teaching and rehearsal pedagogy that is tied to a Socratic educational philosophy. The paradigm of the past (and too frequently of the present) is a top-down approach, which in my humble opinion sets limits on the growth of the ensemble, conductor and the potential to reach the sublime. READ MORE
Brian O’Connell has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in music, as a conductor, singer and as a mentor to aspiring choral musicians. He has had extensive experience in working with collegiate, high school, youth and adult choral groups in the New England area. His mentoring work is known internationally through his sixteen-year tenure as founder/director of the Sarteano Chamber Choral Conducting Workshop in Tuscany, which has attracted hundreds of conductors from over forty countries.
Brian received a Master Degree in Choral Conducting as well as Certification in Voice Therapy from The Boston Conservatory, where he studied voice and voice therapy with David Blair McClosky and conducting with Allen Lannom. At Boston University he completed all coursework toward his Doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching with Music Education emphasis.
For fifteen years Brian was on the faculty Berklee College of Music. For nine of those years he also served as Chairman of the Voice Department where he developed a unique curriculum geared to the contemporary professional singer. During his tenure the number of vocal department majors grew from approximately 30 to over 200. He has presented clinics and workshops at national and state conventions on various choral topics ranging from building chamber ensembles, using movement in choral rehearsals, commissioning works, improvisation as a part of the rehearsal, and many other topics.
Brian has been an accomplished contemporary a cappella singer, having performed for many years with the Boston based professional group No Strings Attached. He has been in demand as an adjudicator of collegiate, high school and professional a cappella competitions throughout the United States. The innovative program that he established at Lexington High School became a national model.
More at my Searchable CV.
My Partner Project:
A Collaborative Experience
Since 2004, I have directed the Sarteano Chamber Choral Conducting Workshop in Tuscany. This intensive conducting workshop is geared for music educators and choral conductors with strong vocal ability who are interested in rehearsing and performing chamber choral music. The sessions consist of vocal pedagogy with Bronislawa Falinska, using the Rohmert Method of Functional Voicetraining,clinics with myself on developing a vital chamber choir and effective rehearsal techniques, and a conducting master class with Simon Carrington. Participants will be part of a 28 to 34 member ensemble that will prepare and perform a cappella choral music from the sixteenth to the twenty-first century.
Activities & Affiliations
• ACDA, Past-President (MA)
• CANE, Board Member
• NCCO, IFCM, NAfME
Link to Sarteano attendees, and repertoire by year