Conductors Matthew Harden and John Flanery Share their “Fabulous Experience” Performing in Vienna

Conductors Matthew Harden and John Flanery Share their “Fabulous Experience” Performing in Vienna

On June 20, 2017, Matthew Harden and John Flanery conducted works by Haydn and James Mulholland respectively in the Minoritenkirche in Vienna, Austria as part of MidAm International’s Gala Concert featuring American Choirs. We asked both Harden and Flanery to share their experience conducting with MidAmerica Productions in Vienna:

Matthew Harden: “My Singers… Rose to the Occasion”

Matthew Harden conducting in Vienna Austria

Matthew Harden is founder and artistic director of the adult chamber ensemble Madrigali et al., which is the fourth choral ensemble he has built over his career. In addition, he is Music Minister at St. Cecilia Roman Church in Kearny, New Jersey. His collegiate teaching experience includes being Director of Choral Activities at three different universities, The University of Nebraska at Omaha, The University of South Dakota and East Carolina University. Dr. Harden earned his doctoral degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Choral Music Education) from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, his master’s degree from Portland State University, and two bachelor’s degrees (Performance and Education) from Southern Oregon State College. Harden founded the North Coast Chorale, now celebrating its twenty-eighth year. An active member of the ACDA, Chorus America, NAfME, NCCO, and IFCM, he served as President of the Nebraska Choral Directors’ Association from 2011-2013. Here’s what he had to say about his experience with MidAm International in Vienna:

MAP: What were your early thoughts in considering the music tour and
residency?

Matthew: Vienna is a wonderful city for making music in. I know that the location and history would be inspiring for any singers that I could convince to come and sing for me. It was a little harder sell than I thought it would be and we changed the literature from Mozart Coronation Mass to Haydn Te Deum in C major, XXIIIc:2, but still within importance to being in Vienna.

MAP: Now that you have completed the residency, and upon reflection, what were the main musical outcomes?

Matthew: We had an excellent orchestra, the collaboration with Martin Sedek’s choir was very good, and my singers as well as those from Cascade Choir really rose to the occasion and sang well.

MAP: What were the main tour/educational outcomes?

Matthew: The group had a wonderful set of tours that let them experience the history of Vienna and Salzburg. All of the singers came to me to say they would enjoy coming again and singing for me.  Having extra days in Salzburg were great. We had time to really absorb a culture different from Vienna. Even though these singers came well prepared, they realized that this was an advantage and will be better prepared for future music making.

MAP: What was the most memorable part of your participation?

Matthew: Having the chance to make music with my daughter in Vienna and see her experience her first ever trip to Europe. That and the opportunity to conduct Haydn in Austria for locals that let me know I did it justice.

John Flanery: “The Audiences Were Overflowing and the Music Was Spectacular.”

John Flanery conducting in Vienna Austria

John Flanery is the Director of Choral Activities at New Mexico State University. At NMSU he supervises the master’s degree in choral conducting, teaches choral literature and choral conducting, and conducts the University Singers, the Statesmen, and the Masterworks Chorus. Prior to his arrival at NMSU in 2015, John spent nine years as associate choral director at the University of Southern Mississippi. His Doctor of Musical Arts and Master’s degrees are in Choral Conducting from the University of Kentucky. He holds a Bachelor’s of Music Education degree from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. John has served ACDA in various positions including as the Mississippi president. For the national ACDA, John has been on the poster selection committee for the conferences in Dallas (2013) and Salt Lake City (2015). He has served as church choir director at churches in Iowa, Kentucky, and Mississippi. John and his wife, Juliane, have five children – Elias, Cecelia, Josephine, Lucinda, and William. Here are his thoughts on conducting in the Minoritenkirche in Vienna:

MAP: What were you early thoughts in considering the music tour and
residency?

John: I was most intrigued by the opportunity to sing and conduct a Viennese orchestra.  So many tour companies put together a cappella concerts, but this was an opportunity of a lifetime that I haven’t seen paralleled by other companies.

MAP: Now that you have completed the residency, and upon reflection, what were the main musical outcomes?

John: The venues were superb, the orchestra was precise, the audiences were overflowing and the music was spectacular. The detail all choirs were able to attain was quite masterful.

MAP: What were the main tour/educational outcomes?

John: My choir enjoyed every aspect of the tour. The motor coaches were first class, the hotels were wonderful, the tour guides were knowledgeable and kind and the sights were all included. Truly a fabulous experience for all our singers and their families!

MAP: What was the most memorable part of your participation?

John: The opportunity to conduct a Viennese orchestra with the New Mexico State University choirs will linger in my mind forever.  What a glorious and fulfilling musical experience!

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Over the past 34 years, MidAmerica Productions has produced over 1300 concerts in Carnegie Hall and at historic halls all over the world. To have your ensemble perform in Carnegie Hall or internationally, call us at 212-239-0205 or visit us at www.midamerica-music.com.

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