IRA SPAULDING – Music Director
Ira Spaulding brings an extraordinary depth of choral experience to his role as Music Director of the Hudson Chorale. A highly gifted and versatile artist, Mr. Spaulding has earned a worldwide reputation as a conductor, singer, teacher of master classes in voice and conducting, and leader of choral workshops for the past thirty-five years in over sixty countries. He has conducted the Moscow State Conservatory Chorus, the Belarusian State Philharmonic Choir in Minsk, the Dutch Radio Chorus, as well as choirs from the conservatories of Saigon (Vietnam), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Kiev (Ukraine), Vilnius (Lithuania), Baku (Azerbaijan), Banja Luka (Bosnia), and Guadalajara (Mexico), among others.
From 1990 to 2008, Mr. Spaulding conducted the Amsterdam-based chamber choir Vocoza, including a concert tour of Germany and Switzerland. This group became known for its challenging programs and variety of styles. He was also an instructor at the Conservatory of Amsterdam for over twenty years. During ten years that he spent as the conductor of the Oratorio Choir of the University of Amsterdam, there was never a repetition of repertoire in twenty concert programs! Highlights from that tenure include Mendelssohn’s Elijah in the famed Royal Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, as well as Requiems by Brahms, Verdi, Fauré and Mozart. Mr. Spaulding has also appeared as conductor in the Prokofiev Festival in Donetsk, Ukraine, and in 2007 returned to Moscow at the invitation of Maestro Boris Tevlin to conduct the Moscow State University Chorus in the Great Hall of the Conservatory (also known as the Tchaikovsky Hall) as part of their anniversary program. In 2014, he prepared the Lithuanian chamber choir Aukuras for a concert performance of Porgy and Bess in Lithuania and Latvia, in which he also sang the male solos.
In addition to conducting there, Mr. Spaulding also made his European debut as a concert singer at the Royal Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, singing the bass solos in Messiah with the Amsterdam Philharmonisch Orkest. As part of American Voices, an organization dedicated to cross-cultural exchanges between 110 nations, he has sung in more than fifty-five countries, appearing in Saudi Arabia, Malta, Tunisia, Greece, Bahrain, Lithuania, Albania, Russia, Bosnia, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Mr. Spaulding has sung with orchestras in Argentina, Bolivia, Albania and El Salvador and gave a series of recitals in the Caribbean as well as the Danube cities of Vienna, Budapest & Passau. He was invited by Jessye Norman to sing the baritone role in the Robert Wilson production and recording in Paris of Great Day in the Morning. In total, he has been invited to be a guest soloist in more than one hundred performances of J. S. Bach’s Passions in venues all over the world.
Mr. Spaulding is currently Professor of Vocal and Choral Music at City College of New York where he is active in building the choral and vocal programs. Prior to joining the Hudson Chorale, he served as Artistic Director of the Park Slope Singers in Brooklyn. Although he is now based in New York, he continues to sing and teach in Europe whenever possible, including a recent singing performance of Elijah in Stuttgart, a workshop for Lithuanian choral conductors on American music in the summer of 2016, and serving as bass soloist for several concerts in the Netherlands in December 2016, including Messiah in the city of Kampen.
Mr. Spaulding holds a Bachelor of Music from Westminster Choir College, where he studied with Robert Simpson, and a Master of Music from Eastern Kentucky University in Voice Performance and Choral Conducting. He was coached in Europe by Aafje Heynis.
Be sure to attend the Hudson Chorale Benefit Performance, Ira Spaulding in Recital! The program includes German lieder, Italian arias, English songs and Negro spirituals. Mr. Spaulding will be accompanied by Fia Hill. Join us on March 19th at 3:00 pm at the Church of St. Barnabas, Irvington, NY.
DAVID BARANOWSKI - Accompanist and Assistant Director
David Baranowski is a highly versatile and gifted accompanist, performing with equal virtuosity on piano, keyboard, organ, and harpsichord, with repertoire ranging from Bach to Deep Purple. He has played numerous chamber and choral concerts in the Westchester area, and is currently the accompanist for the Westchester Choral Society as well as the Hudson Chorale. As an organist, Mr. Baranowski has performed such works as the Brahms, Fauré, and Duruflé Requiems, the Dvořák Mass in D, Handel’s Messiah, and the Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio. As a conductor, he has directed the Poulenc Gloria, the Schubert Mass in G, and the Rutter Magnificat; and most recently, he conducted Mozart's Cosi fan tutte from the harpsichord for the Delaware Valley Opera.
For the past ten years Mr. Baranowski has been touring internationally with rock icon Ritchie Blackmore as both keyboardist and singer. He has played over 100 concerts and visited nearly 25 countries as a member of Blackmore’s Night, which has been on the charts in Germany, Czech Republic, Russia, England, and the US. He has also appeared on German television multiple times, and was featured on the primetime program Hit Giganten as well as on Fernsehgarten, reaching millions of viewers. One English newspaper said of his performance in Blackmore's Night, "... it was the keyboard player who was obviously the jester in this band of players....Along with his sense of comedy, the pianist…was obviously classically trained. He would have easily fit into a King Crimson rock band, or a full orchestra playing Rachmaninoff."
Mr. Baranowski has also collaborated with Irish pop singer and composer, Julie Feeney; and in the Spring of 2012 he played keyboard for Ms. Feeney’s ten performances at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan. He is currently the Director of Music at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Danbury, Connecticut.
Mr. Baranowski studied piano with Paul Ostrovsky and Steven Lubin, organ with Robert Fertitta, and voice with Stefano Algieri. He received both his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music.