Since 1994, William Weinert has served as Professor of Conducting and Director of Choral Activities at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, where he conducts the Eastman Chorale and the Eastman-Rochester Chorus and supervises the masters and doctoral programs in choral conducting. He has conducted throughout Europe, United States, and the Far East, and has served throughout the country as a clinician and an adjudicator, as well as giving conducting master classes in North America, Europe and Asia. Ensembles under Weinert’s direction have performed at conferences of the American Choral Directors’ Association, National Collegiate Choral Organization, and Music Educators’ National Conference, and he has conducted master classes and honor choruses at these conferences as well.
The Eastman Chorale has established a strong tradition of performing both standard and innovative music. Their acclaimed 2008 performance at the National Collegiate Choral Organization Conference in Cincinnati featured a performance of the Messa da Requiem of Ildebrando Pizzetti—a rarely heard tour-de-force of a cappella choral music. Recent years have brought premieres of works by Samuel Adler, Jacob Avshalomov, Daniel Shapiro, Michaela Eremiasova, and others. Their performance of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s Hiob with the The Rochester Philharmonic was hailed by critic Paloma Capanna as “absolutely fantastic.” Chorale also regularly prepares and records works by Eastman composition students.
Recent performances of the Eastman-Rochester chorus have included the premiere of Dominick Argento’s Four Seascapes, the Britten War Requiem, the Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony, Requiems of Mozart, Verdi and Brahms, Schumann’s Scenes from Faust, Lili Boulanger’s Psalm 130, and the Beethoven Missa Solemnis. Critic John Pitcher wrote that the Beethoven performance “was terrific in every respect…the chorus sang full-throttle, sending vocal sparks throughout the concert hall.” Pitcher’s review of the chorus’s performance of Alexander Nevsky stated that “the Eastman-Rochester Chorus performance of the of the Prokofiev cantata is the most powerful and satisfying thing I’ve heard in the city all year…The Chorus sang with unforgettable emotion.” The 2011 ERC performance of the Brahms Requiem was reviewed by Stuart Low: “The Eastman-Rochester Chorus sounded well-blended and meticulously rehearsed by director William Weinert, with spot-on intonation and diction. Not even the intricate double fugue concluding Brahms’ Judgment Day portrait poised any terrors for the 150-plus singers.”
Weinert has also frequently conducted opera and symphonic repertoire, and has performed extensively as a recitalist and oratorio soloist. He has published articles on the music of Brahms, Bruckner, and Georg Schumann, as well as Geistliche Gesäng und Melodeyen: a Critical Edition with Commentary, an edition of twenty-four motets by the prominent baroque composer Melchior Franck. Between 1998 and 2011 he was editor of The American Choral Review, the journal of the American Choral Foundation.
Weinert is also founder and music director of Voices, Rochester’s only professional chamber chorus. This ensemble has performed repertoire from the Baroque period to contemporary compositions to critical acclaim since 2007. Voices performed the Bach St. John Passion in the 2010-11 season, and the current 2011-12 season has featured a complete cycle of all the Bach motets.
As Director of Music at Asbury First United Methodist Church in Rochester since 2010, Weinert has conducted significant extended works of Bach, Mozart, Finzi and others, and has commissioned significant additions to the repertoire of sacred music.
The graduate programs in conducting at Eastman have repeatedly been ranked by US News and World Report as the finest in the country. A small number of students are admitted to these degree programs, and they are given significant podium experience with regular Eastman ensembles. In recent years Weinert’s Eastman choral conducting students have won first place in the ACDA national student conducting competitions in both the graduate and undergraduate divisions. IN the past ten years, two Eastman doctoral graduates in choral conducting have won the Julius Herford Prize, the American Choral Directors Association annual award for the best doctoral research project in choral conducting.
Weinert holds the A. B. in history and B.Mus. in music education from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music; the M.M. in conducting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; and both the M.M. in music history and D.M.A. in conducting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied with Robert Fountain, and then taught for five years as Fountain’s assistant. He has also studied with Daniel Moe, Geoffrey Simon, Karlos Moser, and Robert Porter. His vocal training has included study with Yolanda Marculescu, Dale Moore and Ilona Kombrink. He was the founder and director of the Schütz Ensemble of Madison (1984-90), and musical director of the Madison Savoyards (1983 and 1987).
He has previously served on the faculties of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (1982-84), University of Wisconsin-Madison (1984-89), and the University of Southern Mississippi (1989-94), and has served for three summers as guest professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany.