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New Dallas Symphony Chorus Director Named

by Jerome Weeks 1 Dec 2010 10:51 AM

It’s Joshua Haberman. He’s currently the director of the Masterchorale of South Florida. He officially takes over as the sixth director of the 200-member DSO Chorus next summer.


It’s Joshua Haberman. He’s currently the director of the Masterchorale of South Florida and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale in New Mexico (where he’s under contract through 2012).  He will complete his teaching duties at the University of Miami through 2011.

Haberman follows David R. Davidson, who died last year. (Terry Price filled in as interim director.) The graduate of UT-Austin officially takes over as the sixth director of the 200-member DSO Chorus next summer.

The full release follows:

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Announces Joshua Habermann as Chorus Director

DALLAS (December 1, 2010) – The Dallas Symphony Orchestra today announces the appointment of Joshua Habermann as Dallas Symphony Chorus Director, beginning in the summer of 2011. The 200-voice Dallas Symphony Chorus is the official vocal ensemble of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Habermann, 42, the sixth director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus, follows the beloved David R. Davidson who led the chorus to great acclaim from 1997-2009.  Habermann’s responsibilities will include preparing the Dallas Symphony Chorus for performances with Music Director Jaap van Zweden and various guest conductors, as well as leading the annual Christmas Celebration and other performances as assigned.

Habermann is currently serving as music director of the Masterchorale of South Florida (Miami, FL) and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale (Santa Fe, NM), where he made his debut in 2009 and is under contract through 2012.  Habermann is also an associate professor and program director of choral studies at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where he conducts the Frost Chorale and other choral ensembles. He will complete the season leading the Miami Master Chorale as well as his teaching duties at University of Miami through the 2010-2011 academic year.

A native of California, Habermann is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Texas at Austin, where he completed doctoral studies in conducting with Craig Hella Johnson. He has also studied under Helmuth Rilling (conducting), Scott Fogelsong (piano) and David Jones (voice).

“Josh Habermann made a wonderful impression during the audition process and received the highest ratings from the Dallas Symphony Chorus,” said Paul Stewart, president of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “We were also extremely impressed when we saw him lead the Desert Chorale in Santa Fe.  Josh is very engaging personally and will be a great ambassador for the Chorus and the DSO.  He was the overwhelming choice of our search committee, and we are delighted that he will be joining the DSO team.”

“Josh is an exceptionally talented musician and had immediate chemistry with our chorus,” said DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden.  “I am looking forward to working with him very much.”

Habermann will be relocating to Dallas with his wife Joanna Habermann, a children’s choir director, during the summer. In addition to his duties as director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus, Habermann will continue as music director of the Santa Fe Desert Chorale.

“I’m thrilled to be working with an ensemble with such a wonderful history of conductors and music-making in one of the finest symphony halls in America,” Habermann said. “I’m looking forward very much to working with the singers, growing the chorus and continuing the wonderful tradition that they’ve had for so many years.”

Habermann has appeared in numerous conferences and festivals, including international engagements in Havana, Cuba (2002 Festival Internacional de Coros), Germany, Czech Republic, China and France.  As a singer (tenor) he performs with the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus (Eugene, Oregon), where he can be heard on the Grammy Award-winning recording of Krzystof Penderecki’s Credo. Other projects include two recordings with Austin-based Conspirare: Through the Green Fuse, and Requiem, a Grammy nominee for best choral recording in 2006.  Habermann also maintains an interest in the Hawaiian choral tradition, and sings periodically with Kawaiolaonapukanileo, an ensemble dedicated to performing and preserving this unique repertoire.

“The Dallas Symphony Chorus had a glorious past under the direction of David Davidson,” said Morton H. Meyerson, namesake of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s home, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, and a long-time supporter of the DSO and former member of the Dallas Symphony Chorus. “It takes a dedicated choral community to be great and when you add a superb leader like Josh Habermann anything is possible. Josh is the best possible leader at the right time to collaborate with Maestro Jaap van Zweden.  I am so happy to see Josh join us!”

Habermann’s other interests include Latin American and Nordic music. His dissertation on the a cappella works of Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara was a Julius Herford Prize finalist for music research in 1997.  From 1996-2006 Habermann was assistant conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and in 2006-2007 served as interim director. In that capacity he prepared the chorus for performances with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas and Charles Dutoit in concerts of Mozart, and Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust.  Recordings as a singer with the SFSC include Christmas by the Bay (Decca Records), and Mahler Symphony No. 2 (London Records), also a Grammy nominee for Best Choral/Orchestral Recording.

The Chorus Director Search Committee included three chorus members (Joe Vetter, Brad Rountree and Sharon King); Dallas Symphony Associate Principal Bassoonist Scott Walzel; Paul Phillips, director of the orchestra program at Southern Methodist University; James Scott, Dean of the School of Music at the University of North Texas; and Dallas Symphony Vice-President of Artistic Operations Mark Melson.


The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of Music Director Jaap van Zweden, presents the finest in classical and pops music, new music and family and holiday concerts at the internationally heralded Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.  As the largest performing arts organization in the Southwest, the DSO is committed to inspiring the broadest possible audience with distinctive classical programs, concerts with popular personalities, and innovative multi-media presentations.  In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the DSO’s involvement with the City of Dallas and the surrounding region includes an award-winning multi-faceted educational program, community concerts, popular parks concerts, complimentary ticket distribution and children’s programming.  The DSO has a tradition dating back to 1900, and it is a cornerstone of the unique, 68 acre Arts District in downtown Dallas that is home to multiple performing arts venues, museums and parks; the largest district of its kind in the nation.