New music director sought for Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus

January 18, 2012 Updated Jan 18, 2012 at 6:48 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink, Buffalo Business First Reporter

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January 18, 2012 Updated Jan 18, 2012 at 6:48 AM EDT

The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus has started a national search to find a new music director.

The search comes just a few days after the chorus' board of directors decided on Jan. 14 not to renew the contract of its current music director, Dr. Doreen Rao, who had sought a five-year contract extension. Rao's current contract is due to expire on June 30.

The chorus is a separate organization from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

"We want to thank Doreen for sharing her artistry," said Steven Bench, board chairman. "The decision to end our relationship was not easy. But we are ready to move forward, in this our 75th anniversary year, with finding a new choral leader and continuing to maintain an ambitious schedule of concert selections."

An independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the performance of choral music, the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus is often heard in concert as the guest artist of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The all-membership organization features about 120 member singers, most of whom are volunteers.

The chorus is self-sustaining, relying on ticket sales, fund-raising, minimal public funding and foundation support.

Rao, who recently retired from the University of Toronto, directed the BPChorus since 2008 on a three-year contract and then a one-year extension that runs through June 2012.

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