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 served on the faculty of Calvin University and conducted the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus. He is a graduate of St. Olaf College and earned advanced degrees at the University of Illinois (MM) and Michigan State University (DMA). 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.
Active as a guest conductor in the United States and abroad, Dr. Armstrong has conducted All-State choirs and choral festivals in nearly all 50 states. Additionally, he has served as guest conductor at international choral festivals and with luminary ensembles including the World Youth Choir, the Indonesia Youth Choir, the Ansan City Choir (South Korea), the Formosa Singers (Taiwan), the Houston Chamber Choir, the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, the Phoenix Chorale, the Westminster Choir and the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.
His honors and awards include the 2006 Baylor University Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching; the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University; the 2013 Saltzman Award from the Oregon Bach Festival; and a 2014 Regional Emmy for the PBS television program Christmas in Norway with The St. Olaf Choir.
Emilie Amrein (she/they) is a cultural strategist, a community music practitioner, and an advocate for justice-centered choral practice. She is executive producer of The Choral Commons, and co-artistic director of Common Ground Voices / La Frontera, a bi-national community music project that aims to build relationships and understanding across political, demographic, and perceptual borders as an exercise of non-violence. She is also founder of Peregrine Music, an arts and education organization committed to engaging communities in meaningful dialogue about the most pressing social issues facing the world with creative, youth-driven performance projects. Emilie has presented her work for several distinguished professional organizations, including Chorus America, the American Choral Directors Association, the College Music Society, and the National Youth Leadership Council. Emilie is Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at the University of San Diego where she teaches courses on the intersection of music and social justice movements, community music, and changemaking.
André de Quadros is a conductor, ethnomusicologist, music educator, writer, and human rights activist who has conducted and undertaken research in over forty countries. His professional work has taken him to the most diverse settings, spanning professional ensembles, and projects with prisons, psychosocial rehabilitation, refugees and asylum-seekers, poverty locations, and victims of torture, sexual violence, and trauma. He leads the following choirs: Common Ground Voices (Israeli-Palestinian-international), the Manado State University Choir (Indonesia), the Muslim Choral Ensemble (Sri Lanka), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Countries Youth Choir, and Boston’s VOICES 21C. He co-leads Common Ground Voices / La Frontera (Mexico-US) and is creative director of The Choral Commons. André de Quadros is a professor of music at Boston University, where he also holds affiliate faculty positions in the African Studies Center, Center for Antiracist Research, Center for the Study of Asia, Initiative on Cities, Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, and the Prison Education Program. He is the 2021 recipient of Chorus America’s Brazeal Wayne Dennard Award.
The Choral Commons is a media platform that provides a space for singing communities to realize the liberatory potential of the ensemble as a site of radical imagining. We promote equitable artistic and organizational practices that harness the positive social impacts of participatory music making for the common good and confront racism, poverty, ableism, LGBTQ+ discrimination, displacement, and much more. We produce podcasts and community events, offer educational resources on justice-centered praxis, and incubate creative, artistic, and compassionate projects that empower choirs and singing communities to work for a just and peaceful world.