Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Humane Letters
School of Music and College of Liberal Arts, October 6, 2011
Philip C. Brunelle, an internationally renowned conductor, choral scholar and performer, is the founder and artistic director of VocalEssence. He attended the University of Minnesota, and at the age of 19, he became the youngest member of the Minnesota Orchestra. At the age of 24, he received a Rockefeller grant to study at the Metropolitan Opera. He is credited with advancing the art of music performance and assuring access to rich and varied musical opportunities for people locally, nationally, and internationally. He has conducted major orchestras and opera companies including the Chicago Symphony, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berkshire Choral Festival, Washington Opera, England's Aldeburgh Festival and the Swedish Royal Opera. He served as the music director of the Minnesota Opera for 17 years. And, in 2009, he led the VocalEssense Ensemble Singers on a tour of England's most prestigious venues. He has served on the choral music faculties of Westminster Choir College, the University of Minnesota, United Theological Seminary, and the University of Main. He is the publisher of many choral editions and opera orchestrations and writes a monthly column on choral repertoire for The American Organist. He is active in arts public policy and serves on numerous professional organizations including the Minnesota State Arts Board and the National Council on the Arts. In addition, he has served on the Board of Regents of St. Olaf College and on the boards of Chorus America and the International Federation for Choral Music. He is the recipient of many awards and honors nationally and internationally, which include several honorary degrees as well as the Michael Korn Founder's Award for Development of the Choral Art, the most prestigious award given by ChorusAmerica. Locally, he appears frequently on Prairie Home Companion and has served as organist-choirmaster of Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis since 1969. He is described as a stalwart advocate for the University of Minnesota and its School of Music.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.