Anton Armstrong, Tosdal Professor of Music at St. Olaf College, became the fourth conductor of the St. Olaf Choir in 1990 after ten years in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he had served on the faculty of Calvin College and led the Calvin College Alumni Choir, the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus and the St. Cecilia Youth Chorale.
Dr. Armstrong is a graduate of St. Olaf College and earned advanced degrees at the University of Illinois and Michigan State University. He is editor of a multicultural choral series for Earthsongs Publications and co-editor (with John Ferguson) of the revised St. Olaf Choral Series for Augsburg Fortress Publishers. In June 1998, he began his tenure as founding conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy. A graduate of the American Boychoir School, Dr. Armstrong served for over twenty years on the summer faculty of their summer program ALBEMARLE and held the position of Conductor of the St. Cecilia Youth Chorale, a 75 voice treble chorus based in Grand Rapids, from 1981-1990. He has conducted the Troubadours, a 25-voice boys ensemble of the Northfield Youth Choirs since 1991. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Boychoir School and the Board of Chorus America.
In February 2005, The St. Olaf Choir shared the stage with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in presenting the finale concert for the national conference of the American Choral Director’s Association at the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, California. Active nationally and internationally as a guest conductor and lecturer, Anton Armstrong was honored in June 2003 to serve as the first Peter Godfrey Visiting Professor of Choral Music at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
In the summer of 2001, Dr. Armstrong conducted the World Youth Choir sponsored by the International Federation of Choral Music with concerts in Venezuela and the United States. Recent international engagements include serving as a guest conductor at the 2010 Zimriya-The World Assembly of Choirs and in March 2011 Dr. Armstrong returned to guest conduct the Formosa Singers of Taipei, Taiwan. In the summer of 2011 he was a guest conductor of the Prague Proms International Music Festival sponsored by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. He has been featured as a clinician at the Fourth World Symposium on Choral Music in Sydney, Australia (1996), the Eighth World Symposium in Copenhagen, Denmark (2008) and led a conducting master class at the Ninth World Symposium of Choral Music in Puerto Madryn, Argentina (2011). He served as the Co-Chair of the Artistic Committee for the 10th World Symposium of Choral Music in Seoul, Korea (2014).
Dr. Armstrong has frequently conducted ensembles and appeared before regional, national and international gatherings of the American Choral Directors Association, International Federation of Choral Music, Music Educators National Conference, Choristers Guild, American Guild of Organists, Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, Organization of American Kodaly Educators and the Orff-Schulwerk Association. In recent years he has guest conducted such noted ensembles as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Utah Symphony and Symphony Chorus, the Utah Voices and Salt Lake City Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Westminster Choir and the American Boychoir. In February 2014, Dr. Armstrong served as guest conductor of the TAISM Choral Festival in Muscat, Oman. He has also collaborated in concert with Bobby McFerrin and Garrison Keillor.
During 2014-15, Dr. Armstrong will return twice to The Republic of Korea to serve as guest conductor for two of the premier professional choral ensembles: the Anyan City Civic Chorale, the Ansan City Choir and a lecturer for the Korean Choral Directors Association. Additionally, he will lead choral festivals at Carnegie Hall, New York, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco and serve as a guest lecturer at Yale University. Other guest conducting/lecturing engagements in 2014-15 include appearances in South Dakota, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Utah.
In January 2006, Baylor University selected Anton Armstrong from a field of 118 distinguished nominees to receive the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. The award is designed to honor great teachers, to stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching and to encourage departments and institutions to value their own great teachers. He spent February-June 2007 in residency at Baylor University as a visiting professor. In March 2007 Anton Armstrong was the first recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the American Boychoir School and in October 2009 he received The Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University. In June, 2013 Dr. Armstrong received the Saltzman Award from the Oregon Bach Festival. The festival’s highest honor, the Saltzman Award is bestowed upon individuals who have provided exceptional levels of leadership to the organization.