About

Festival Choir of Madison, in a shimmering performance
alongside the Wisconsin Chamber orchestra, imparted a light of its own…
the first to bring a tear to this critic’s eye in a very long time.

The Capital Times, March 2006

Festival Choir of Madison is an auditioned mixed-voice choir of 40 to 50 experienced singers who come from all walks of life to make music together. This dedicated group of singers, some of whom travel from far outside of Madison, gather every week to rehearse the varied music you hear during our regular season concerts.

Festival Choir of Madison has long championed living composers by commissioning and performing new works. Recent Composers-in-Residence have included Stephen Paulus, Elizabeth Alexander, Paul Carey, Eric Whitacre, and Scott Gendel.

In addition to its regular subscription season, the Choir has performed live broadcasts from the Chazen Museum for Wisconsin Public Radio, appeared as part of Overture Center's Grand Opening Festival, and toured across the state and abroad. In 1999, the Choir traveled by invitation to Austria as the first choral ensemble ever asked to participate in the prestigious Ost-West Musikfest.

Founded in 1973 by Vernon Sell, Festival Choir was led by David Lewis Crosby from 1975 to 1993, Eric Townell from 1993 to 2006, Drew Collins from 2007 to 2008, Dr. Bruce Gladstone from 2009 through 2011, and Dr. Bryson Mortensen from 2011 through 2015.

Artistic Director

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Sergei Pavlov

Sergei Pavlov is the Artistic Director of the Festival Choir of Madison and Director of Choral Activities at Edgewood College.

Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Sergei Pavlov studied choral and orchestral conducting at the Pancho Vladigerov National Conservatory of Music under the renowned Bulgarian professors Vassil Kazandjiev, Miroslav Popsavov, and Boris Spassov; and in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under Donald Schleicher and Fred Stoltzfus. From 1996 until 2004 Sergei worked for Classic FM radio, where he created and hosted a popular Bulgarian radio talk show, Morning Coffee. His many radio guests included such musical stars as Montserrat Caballé, Anton Guadagno, Andrei Konchalovsky, Ghena Dimitrova, and José Cura.

Sergei Pavlov’s professional conducting debut came in Sofia, with the Orchestra of Classic FM radio, as part of the European music festival in May 2002. In 2004 he was appointed Music Director of the Illinois String Orchestra and assistant conductor of the Quad City Symphony. In 2010 he worked as assistant conductor and chorus master of Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and this same year made his first appearance with the orchestra of The Spoleto Festival USA. In 2011, also in Spoleto USA, he conducted a performance of the anniversary production of the opera The Medium, celebrating 100 years from the birth of its composer, Giancarlo Menotti. From 2006 to 2011 Sergei was associate conductor of the University of Illinois Opera Theatre. Since late 2011 he maintains close artistic connections with Teatro Nacional Sucre, The National Opera Theatre of Ecuador. Sergei Pavlov has worked with internationally renowned opera artists such as Grace Bumbry, Willard White, Barbara Dever, Maurizio Barbacini, Stefano Vizioli, and Daniel Catán.

Artistic Advisor

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Scott Foss

Mr. Scott Foss, known throughout the United States as a conductor and clinician of both sacred and secular choral music, is the classical and concert choral editor for Hal Leonard Publishing, the worlds largest music publisher. In that role, he manages choral publications for G.Schirmer, Boosey & Hawkes and Mark Foster Publishing. Prior to this position, he was executive editor for Roger Dean Publishing Company for more than twenty years. Roger Dean is the branch of The Lorenz Corporation that specializes in serious choral repertoire, as well as sophisticated keyboard literature, challenging instrumental solos and ensembles, and music textbooks.

Mr. Foss has directed more than 30 musical theatre productions for Four Seasons Theatre, CTM-Madison Family Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre and The University of Wisconsin Theatre Dept.

Mr. Foss learned the music industry end of the music profession at Ward Brodt Music Company where he was choral music manager and general manager of the sheet music department for 11 years. In that role, he nurtured the sheet music department into one of the largest and most respected operations in the country.

In 1988, Mr. Foss co-founded and directed "Performing Arts Unlimited," a performing arts academy for outstanding high school students from southern Wisconsin.

Mr. Foss was the Director of the Wisconsin Singers, the vocal jazz and show choir at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1977-1988. Under his direction, the Singers performed throughout the United States and Mexico.

Mr. Foss's most important and demanding duties take place in Madison where he and his wife, acclaimed mezzo-soprano and voice teacher Kitt Reuter-Foss, live and support their two daughters, Alli and Erika who are both Broadway singer/dancers.

Accompanist

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Ted Reinke

Ted Reinke has been a Madison area musician for 40 years, having arrived for graduate school in 1972 after graduating from University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

In addition to Festival Choir, his current organist and accompanist positions include St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Middleton, St. Francis House Student Episcopal Center, and Temple Beth-El.