New York baritone to perform concert Feb. 21

Release Date: 1/29/2014

New York choral conductor, professor and baritone Ira Spaulding, whose singing career has spanned more than 30 years and 60 countries, will perform a concert at University of the Ozarks on Friday, Feb. 21, as part of the University's Spring 2014 Walton Arts & Ideas Series.

Ira Spaulding

Ira Spaulding, who has performed in more than 60 countries, will present a concert in Munger Chapel on Feb. 21.

The concert, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in Raymond Munger Memorial Chapel.

Spaulding's program will feature arrangements of African-American spirituals, including Roland Hayes' cycle of spirituals, "The Life of Christ." Spaulding will be accompanied by U of O Walton Professor of Music and University Organist Dr. Sharon Gorman, who was a classmate and former accompanist of Spaulding's at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J., in the 1970s.  The University Chamber Singers will also join Spaulding for four choral arrangements: "Wade in the Water," "Lazarus," "I Wanna Be Ready,"  and "Precious Lord, Take My Hand."

Spaulding is currently on the faculty at City College of New York where he teaches voice and conducting and leads vocal ensembles and choirs.  He has spent his career spreading a passion and appreciation for American jazz and traditional African-American spiritual songs, whose harmonies influenced both jazz and pop music.

Born in New York, Spaulding studied with Robert Simpson at Westminster Choir College and also holds a master's degree in voice and choral conducting from Eastern Kentucky University. He has performed numerous recitals in America; taught voice, conducting, vocal pedagogy and literature at several colleges; and conducted various vocal ensembles, including community oratorio choirs, church choirs, boys choirs and jazz vocal ensembles.

As part of "American Voices" Spaulding has performed in more than 60 countries since 1998.  During the 2000-2001 season alone he appeared in Saudi Arabia, Malta, Tunesia, Greece, Bahrain, Lithuania, Albania, Russia, Bosnia, and made his first appearances in Asia. In January 2007 Spaulding returned to Moscow at the invitation of Maestro Boris Tevlin to conduct his Moscow State Conservatory Chorus in the great hall of the conservatory as part of his anniversary program. He has also conducted choirs from the conservatories of  Saigon, Almaty, Kiev, Vilnius, Baku, Banja Luka, Guadalajara, and Minsk, among others.  Besides appearing in recital as part of "American Voices," he has also sung with orchestras in Argentina,  Bolivia, Albania, and El Salvador.  In 2008 he taught for the third time in Taipei, Taiwan, and the summer academy, which "American Voices" presents there.

Living in Europe from 1981 to 2008, Spaulding worked as a choral conductor, soloist, and teacher. Jessye Norman asked him to sing the baritone role in a production and recording in Paris of "Great Day in the Morning" and in the following year, 1983, he made his debut as a concert singer in the Concertgebouw, singing the solos in Handel's Messiah with the Amsterdam Philharmonisch Orkest. As a concert singer, he has been heard in such works as the Passions of J. S. Bach and the requiems of Brahms, Faure, Mozart, and Verdi, the Elijah and St. Paul oratorios of Mendelssohn, in addition to Porgy and Bess and the musicals Showboat and Oklahoma.