Philip Brunelle / Vocalessence
Philip Brunelle, artistic director and founder of VocalEssence, is an internationally renowned conductor, choral scholar and performer. Believing that listeners and musicians alike must experience a variety of music, he works enthusiastically—and tirelessly—to expand audiences for rarely heard works of the past as well as worthwhile music of the present. His conducting engagements have taken him across the United States, South America and Europe. Recently he has conducted the Seattle Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, and the Berkshire Choral Festival.Over the past decade Philip has been deeply involved with the International Federation of Choral Music (IFCM). He served as president of the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music, held in Minneapolis (2002), on the Artistic Committee for the Eighth Symposium, held in Denmark (2008), and is currently active in planning the Ninth Symposium, to be held in Argentina in 2011. In 2009 he was elected Vice President/Treasurer of the IFCM Board.
In 2006, Philip served as artistic director for the NEA initiative, American Masterpieces: Choral Music. He serves on the boards of Chorus America and Musica, and previously served on the St. Olaf College Board of Regents. He is also in his 42nd year as Organist-Choirmaster at Plymouth Congregational Church.
Among his many awards are honorary doctorates from St. Olaf College, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. John’s University and United Theological Seminary. Chorus America honored Philip with its most prestigious award, the Michael Korn Founder’s Award for Development of the Choral Art, and he has also been recognized with the F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award by the Minnesota chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, its highest honor. In December 2005, Philip was invested as an Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire in recognition for his service as an “ambassador for the United Kingdom within the music world.”
The American Composers Forum named Philip Brunelle “2007 Champion of New Music” and in December 2007 he was invested as a Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for his promotion of Norwegian music in the United States. In January, 2010 Philip was honored with a “Local Legend” award at the 20th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast.