choral conductor ~ voice teacher ~ singer ~ lecturer
My Jewish heritage on my father’s side cultivated intellectual and cultural curiosity and and my Swedish background on my mother’s side has found outlet in my love of nature. Both led to a commitment to progressive politics and social justice.
I was born and raised in Menlo Park, California, where I attended Peninsula School, an alternative elementary school that cultivates a love of learning, expression, freedom of thought in its students that often leads to a lifelong pursuit of curiosity and expression. Many Peninsula students become educators and artists, and I have done both.
I entered the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1988, where I studied voice with Patrice Maginnis. My involvement in the Chamber Singers, under the direction of Nicole Paiement, for all four years of my undergraduate work, inspired a love of passionate, informed, and collaborative music making. After completing my BA in Music in 1992, focusing on vocal performance and receiving honors for my senior recital, I returned to UCSC in the fall of 1993 to pursue a master’s in Performance Practice and Conducting under Dr. Paiement. I wrote my master’s thesis on Swedish music for women’s choir.
In the summer of 1998, I enrolled in a summer course in Sweden with Eric Ericson, the world’s premier choral conductor. Ericson showed me a new way to think about the choral art, which I have worked to realize since. In the fall of 1998, I enrolled in the Doctor of Musical Arts program in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. While at U Iowa, I studied choral conducting with William Hatcher and Timothy Stalter, choral literature with Richard Bloesch, orchestral conducting with William Jones, and voice with Susan Jones. My assistantships included directing the opera chorus and the University of Iowa Women’s Chorale. I completed my dissertation, Feminist Musical Aesthetic in the Choral Music of Karin Rehnqvist, in December of 2002.
I returned to UCSC as a faculty member from the fall of 2000 through the spring of 2002, primarily as the conductor of the Concert Choir and also as instructor of music fundamentals and conductor of the Chamber Singers. During this time, I directed the choir at Saint Ignatius Church of San Francisco, a semi-professional ensemble that sang advanced repertoire in one of San Francisco’s most famous churches.
I began teaching at the University of San Francisco in 2001, where I established the first classical choir in many years at USF. The University Classical Choral Ensembles now includes the University Choir, the Treble Choir, and an advanced primarily a cappella ensemble, the Chamber Singers. I have also directed the Orchestra and Chamber Music Program. In addition to ensemble work at USF, I teach private voice and several academic courses, including Conducting, Advanced Musicianship, Theory I (for music majors), Fundamentals of Music Theory, and Music Appreciation. I was awarded the Distinguished Adjunct Teacher Award in 2012.
I accepted the position of Conductor and Artistic Director of Sacred and Profane Chamber Chorus in 2004. Formed in 1973, Sacred and Profane is an advanced amateur choir of singers that are enthusiastic about singing a wide range of high quality choral repertoire. I have been able to program several of my favorite works, often difficult pieces, which have been eagerly and beautifully sung by the choir.
My personal interests include gardening and urban farming, hiking, camping, and travel, arts and culture, especially film, theater, and live musical performance of all kinds, meditation, and time with my partner Pete, our dogs Laila (pictured) and Curry, and cats Jeoffry and Pangur.
©2020 Rebecca Petra Naomi Seeman