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Heather Buchanan Event:
Enhancing musical performance for Organists &
Choir Directors through somatic pedagogy
Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church
120 North Easton Road
Glenside, Pa. 19038
Rae Ann Anderson (event host) (215).913.0730
At 7:30 p.m., Heather J. Buchanan, PhD will present Body Mapping at the Console. Body mapping is a form of somatic education that teaches musicians how to attain ease of movement in performance. This workshop will introduce the scientific basis for Body Mapping (including motor & mirror neurons) and the key principles for Body Mapping. The practical focus will be teaching physical alignment to musicians by mapping core balance (seated and standing), thereby cultivating poise when performing. The program will last about two hours. This will held in the sanctuary, presumably around the organ console. The sanctuary seats 250 people and is adjacent to the Great Room.
BIOGRAPHY: Heather J. Buchanan
Australian born conductor Heather J. Buchanan PhD is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA, where she conducts the 170-voice Chorale, 60-voice University Singers, and 24-voice Vocal Accord. Choirs under her direction have won critical acclaim for their “heartfelt conviction,” “new-minted enthusiasm and vibrancy,” being a “marvel of diction, tuning and rhythm”, “impeccable dynamics and diction,” “vibrant sound,” “eloquence”, and for singing with the “crispness and dexterity of a professional choir.” Over the last decade the Montclair State choral program has developed an enviable reputation for artistic excellence, creative programming, and innovative collaborations. Dr. Buchanan’s choirs have collaborated with a variety of renowned artists including Meredith Monk, Mícheál ÓSúílleabháin, Tarik O’Regan, Joseph Flummerfelt, Sarah Hopkins, Chen Yi, members of the Vienna Philharmonic string section, and conductors Neeme Järvi, Jacques LaCombe, and John Maucceri with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO). In past seasons the MSU Chorale has performed with the NJSO for masterwork performances of the Verdi Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mahler Symphony No. 3; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Howard Shore’s Academy Award winning score The Lord of the Rings Symphony. In December 2011 Dr. Buchanan conducted the MSU Chorale and Symphony Orchestra in the East Coast Premiere of the new American symphonic oratorio Parables by Grammy Award winning composer Robert Aldridge, and in April 2012 they performed David Fanshawe’s electrifying African Sanctus in celebration of the composer’s 70th birthday and the 40th anniversary year of the work’s first performance. In November 2013 the MSU Chorale performed Lux Aeterna for composer Morten Lauridsen’s MSU residency, and in April 2014 they will again perform the Verdi Requiem with the NJSO and Jacques Lacombe.
Internationally, University Singers has accepted invitations to perform in prestigious European venues including Rachmaninoff Hall (Moscow), the Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), the Ferenc Liszt Zeneakadémia (Budapest), Church of St. Nicholas (Prague), in addition to guest appearances at festivals in New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall. The University Singers and Dr. Buchanan have established an exciting performance relationship with renowned composer-artist Meredith Monk beginning with their historic collaboration in December 2006 and continuing with the March 2009 performances of Songs of Ascension at the Guggenheim Museum which received outstanding reviews. They also recorded Songs of Ascension with Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble on the prestigious ECM label under legendary producer Manfried Eicher, released May 2011 This collaboration was included in the Producer of the Year section of the 2012 Grammy nominations. In February 2012 University Singers gave their ACDA Eastern Division Convention debut performance in Providence, RI, which featured World Premiere performances of music by composers Chen Yi (Distance Can’t Keep Us Two Apart the ACDA 2012 Raymond Brock Memorial Commission), and Martin A. Sedek (She Walks In Beauty). In June 2012, Vocal Accord, the 24-voice chamber choir of University Singers, toured Europe giving performances in Vienna, Graz, Gleisdorf, Ottendorf, and Venice. This tour is featured in the documentary American Voices (Steve McCarthy, executive producer) that was premiered in February 2013 and subsequently aired on NJTV network. In March 2013 University Singers performed Mozart’s Requiem with the NJSO under the baton of Maestro Jacques Lacombe, and in December 2014 they will collaborate with the NJSO again for performances of Handel’s Messiah.
Dr. Buchanan holds degrees from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University (Australia), Westminster Choir College of Rider University (USA), and the University of New England (Australia). A licensed Andover Educator, she specializes in the teaching of Body Mapping and somatic pedagogy for musicians. Since July 2012 she has served as the Collegiate Repertoire and Standards Chair for Eastern Division ACDA. Guest conducting highlights include the 2007 Dvořák Festival in Prague and Vienna, the World Premiere performance of Madison’s Descent by celebrated Irish composer Mícheál ÓSúílleabháin, two Australian National Seniors’ Choral Festivals (Newcastle and Sydney), preparing the opera chorus for the regional premier of Elmer Gantry (January 2008), and the critically acclaimed US premiere of a new presentation of A Ceremony of Carols with her women’s choir Prima Voce and famed British choreographer Richard Alston in December 2012. In July 2014 she will conduct the USA-Australian choral festival Voices Across the Pacific with performances in the iconic Sydney Opera House and St. John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, Australia. Dr. Buchanan’s publications include co-editing the landmark GIA choral series Teaching Music through Performance in Choir, the DVD Evoking Sound: Body Mapping & Gesture Fundamentals, and octavos in the Evoking Sound Choral Series (GIA). Her chapter “Body Mapping: Enhancing Voice Performance through Somatic Pedagogy” in Teaching Singing in the 21st Century (Springer Publications) will be released in 2014.
A vibrant teacher, dynamic performer, and passionate musicians’ health advocate, Dr. Buchanan is in demand as a guest conductor, somatic educator, and choral clinician in the US and abroad. She resides in Princeton Junction, New Jersey, with her husband Peter and daughter Paige.
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