This season, Donald Meineke, co-founder of Ensemble VIII, debuts as the group’s second artistic director as Dr. James Morrow becomes artistic director emeritus. Both have been continuously involved with the ensemble since its inception and have been acclaimed for their conducting of Renaissance and Baroque music.
Hailed as a “fresh voice on New York’s musical scene” (The New Yorker), Donald Meineke is an organist, conductor, and tenor and the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Ensemble VIII. Meineke maintains an active career as a recitalist, lecturer, conductor, and singer performing with local, national, and international ensembles.
He has served as Cantor of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity in New York City where he led the renowned and twice-Grammy nominated Bach Choir and Players in the internationally acclaimed Bach Vespers series. His Bach Choir’s recording of Samuel Capricornus’ Jubilus Bernhardi, in collaboration with string ensemble ACRONYM, received critical acclaim and was on Colorado Public Radio’s December 2017 “Top 5 Must Have New Recordings” list.
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR EMERITUS
James Morrow is Director of Choral Activities at The University of Texas at Austin where he conducts the Chamber Singers and directs the graduate program in choral conducting. He is Founder and Artistic Director of the Bach Cantata Project at the Blanton Museum of Fine Arts and is also Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of Ensemble VIII, a professional early music ensemble devoted to historically informed performances of Renaissance and Baroque vocal works.
Under Dr. Morrow’s direction, the UT Chamber Singers have recorded two compact disks of American choral music on the Naxos label, and on the Koch International Classics label they recorded Sweet Music of Christmas, as well as Great Hymns of Faith with organist Gerre Hancock. He led the Chamber Singers in a modern-day premiere and recording of Brazilian composer José Maurício Nunes Garcia’s Missa de Nossa Senhora da Conceição of 1810, and their latest disc of American folksongs is in post-production.
Dr. Morrow and the Chamber Singers performed Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers with period instruments in celebration of the works 400th anniversary, as well as the complete Tenebrae Responsories of Tomás Luis de Victoria. Dr. Morrow’s choirs have toured internationally, singing for audiences in England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. The UT Chamber Singers’ most recent international concert tour was to Brazil where they performed with the University of Saõ Paolo Chamber Orchestra in historic venues in São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, and they toured the Northeastern U.S. in spring 2011, performing in major venues in Boston, New Haven, New York City, and Washington DC.
Dr. Morrow performed as a choral singer with Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers in France and in the United States, participating in several recordings for TELARC, as well as performing in concert as baritone soloist under Mr. Shaw’s direction. He is a featured soloist on a TELARC compact disc with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus. A student of the late Gérard Souzay, he has also performed as a baritone soloist with orchestras in a variety of repertoire, including Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, Arvo Pärt’s Passio, and the passions of J. S. Bach. He was twice selected as an Artist/Fellow at the Bach Aria Festival and Institute in Stony Brook, New York. Prior to his appointment at UT, he served as Director of Choral Activities at the University of Florida and at Hope College in Michigan.