Bella Voce performs a variety of existing and newly-commissioned sacred and secular works for women's voices. We have performed numerous selections, some which were commissioned by Bella Voce from Vermont composers Robert De Cormier, Gwyneth Walker, Michael Hopkins, David Feurzeig and others.
Robert De Cormier
Robert De Cormier, a graduate of the Julliard School of Music, has conducted musicians from Broadway to opera, on tour throughout the USA and Canada. He founded the Robert De Cormier Singers, spent 17 years as music director of the New York Choral Society, has been the conductor and arranger for Harry Belafonte, and the music director for the popular folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary for over 30 years. For five years he was associate professor of conducting and ensembles at the Eastman School of Music. In 1993 he helped initiate the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus. In 2000 he founded the professional vocal ensemble Counterpoint. He has written innumerable works, ranging from choral composition to Broadway and ballet scores. He also arranges extensively, from African-American spirituals to American and international folk songs. His recordings appear on the Arabesque, Cox Turnabout, Book of the Month Club, Newport Classics, Centaur, and Musical Heritage Society labels. Television credits include a choral series for the BBC, specials for Thames TV and PBS with Jessye Norman and an Emmy-award-winning special with Harry Belafonte. He has served on the New York State Council on the Arts and been a member of the Choral Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts. He has been honored by the Vermont Arts Council with the 2002 Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 2006, Choral Arts New England singled him out for their prestigious life-time achievement award.
Michael Hopkins is an Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he teaches courses in string education. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Michigan , Hopkins was an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Vermont from 1999-2010 where he was conductor of the UVM Orchestra and taught courses in music education and music technology.
Hopkins has appeared as a guest conductor at orchestra festivals throughout the United States and is the founding director of the Burlington Chamber Orchestra. He is very active as a composer and arranger, with over 30 published works for orchestra. His music is published by Alfred Music Publishing, Grand Mesa Music, Tunbridge Music, and Kendor Music Publishing, Inc. His works have been commissioned by many schools and ensembles throughout the U.S
Hopkins composes pieces in orchestral, chamber, solo, electro-acoustic and popular styles. He has received many commissions to compose new chamber and orchestral works. Recent performances included The University of Vermont Symphony Orchestra premiering his new tone poem The Passing Strange (2006) and the Burlington Choral Society premiering his new large work for choir and orchestra, From Revenge to Forgiveness: Seven Songs of War and Peace. Recent educational releases include a new piece entitled Avalanche from Alfred, Picnic in the Park and The Ash Grove from Kendor, and Moonlight Reflections and Regal Overture from Grand Mesa.
Hopkins received his Bachelor's Degree in music education from Colorado State University and his Masters and Ph.D. in music education from the University of Michigan.
Widely performed throughout the country, the music of American composer Gwyneth Walker is beloved by performers and audiences alike for its energy, beauty, reverence, drama, and humor. Dr. Gwyneth Walker (b. 1947) is a graduate of Brown University and the Hartt School of Music. She holds B.A., M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in Music Composition. A former faculty member of the Oberlin College Conservatory, she resigned from academic employment in 1982 in order to pursue a career as a full-time composer. For nearly 30 years, she lived on a dairy farm in Braintree, Vermont. She now divides her time between her childhood hometown of New Canaan, Connecticut and the musical communities of Sarasota, Florida and Randolph, Vermont.
Gwyneth Walker has been a proud resident of Vermont for many years. She is the recipient of the Year 2000 "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Vermont Arts Council as well as the 2008 "Athenaeum Award for Achievement in the Arts and Humanities" from the St. Johnsbury (VT) Athenaeum. In 2012, she was elected as a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Walker's catalog includes over 300 commissioned works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, chorus, and solo voice. A special interest has been dramatic works that combine music with readings, acting, and movement. The music of Gwyneth Walker is published by E.C. Schirmer (choral/vocal music) and Lauren Keiser Music (orchestral/instrumental music).
The music of David Feurzeig has been performed throughout the United States as well as in New Zealand, Asia, and Europe. He was twice a featured guest (2005/2006) at the International Composer’s Festival in Bangkok. His "Songs of Love and Protest" were selected by the Dresden Chamber Chorus for the city’s 800th jubilee in 2006 and premiered in the fabled Semper Opera House. His work has been awarded the Silver Medal of the Royal Academy of Arts (London), the Hugh MacColl and Thomas Hoopes prizes from Harvard University, an Encore grant of the American Composer’s Forum, the Beebe fellowship, and the John James Blackmore prize.
A pianist as well, he specializes in eclectic lecture-recitals featuring music from the classics to stride piano, jazz, and new music. He is the silver medalist of the 2001 World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest and recipient of the 2003 “Best New Rag” award of the Old-Time Music Preservation Association (OMPA). His research interests range from the playing of James P. Johnson and Thelonious Monk to the music of György Ligeti. Feurzeig received the Doctorate of Musical Arts in Composition from Cornell University, where his teachers included Karel Husa and Steven Stucky, and the AB from Harvard College. In 2008 he joined the faculty of the University of Vermont, with previous positions at Illinois State University and Centre College.