ALLED “ONE OF THE FINEST conductors of his generation” by maestro Robert Shaw, Alfred Calabrese enjoys a diverse career as conductor, educator, composer, scholar, and church musician. He has been director of choral activities at Southern Methodist University, Emory University, and Brevard College, Visiting Professor at Indiana University, and guest lecturer at the University of Notre Dame, the University of South Carolina, and the Conservatoire de Versailles. Since 2007 he has been Director of Music at Saint Rita Catholic Church in Dallas, TX, where he oversees a music program with six choirs including the newly established St. Rita Choral Academy, professional singers and organists, and six full and part-time staff members.
Calabrese holds the Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees in Conducting from the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He has prepared choirs for several prominent conductors including John Nelson and Sir David Willcocks, and in the early 1990’s was an assistant conductor to Robert Shaw and the Grammy © Award winning Atlanta Symphony Chorus. He worked in close collaboration with Maestro Shaw for three years, rehearsing the ASOC in works as diverse as Mahler Symphony #2, #3, and #8; Berlioz Romeo et Juliette; Janáček Glagolitic Mass, Verdi Quattro Pezzi Sacri, and the annual Christmas with Robert Shaw concerts.
Possessing an affinity for compositions for orchestra and choir, his repertoire includes, among others, major works of Bach, Brahms, Britten, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, Handel, Haydn, Stravinsky, Fauré, Duruflé, Poulenc, and Pärt, and well over 500 smaller pieces for choir alone. In 2005 he led performances of I Pagliacci and Cavalleria Rusticanafor the Atlantic Coast Opera Company. His orchestral repertoire includes symphonies and concerti of Beethoven, Mozart, Poulenc, Handel, Weber, Dvorak among others.
Calabrese has been a guest conductor and clinician in America and abroad. As a clinician, he has conducted All-State and honor choirs and has participated in numerous festivals and clinics throughout the United States. He was a guest conductor at the Conservatoire de Versailles in both 2013 and 2019 and in concerts with l’Ensemble Polyphonique de Versailles. He is presently a guest conductor with the festivals of the American Federation Pueri Cantores.
Dr. Calabrese has been composing and arranging intermittently since 1990 and self publishes. His compositions since 2007 are primarily for the liturgy, including a nearly completed three-year cycle of Responsorial Psalms for the church year. These have been performed across the country in recent years. Presently, he is at work setting the ad libitum Communion propers as Latin motets for SAB Choir.
Dr. Calabrese was born and raised in upstate New York, in the small town of Waterford. A cradle Catholic, his youth was colored and influenced by his strong Italian-American heritage, the Catholic culture of his family and the upstate area, and the beauty of his boyhood parish, St. Mary of the Assumption, Waterford, known affectionately as “the little Cathedral on the hill,” where he sang in the choir beginning at age 15. He is married to Cynthia Calabrese, a musician and development executive. They have two grown children who both work for Catholic-based organizations.
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