Saint James Parish Choir Schedule 2016-2017
Dr. Stephen Black organist | conductor
Dr. Stephen Black, Director of Music Ministry, joined the staff of Saint James Church in July 2016. He was previously the Director of Music at St. Gregory the Great Church in Harrison, NY. For eleven years Dr. Black was the Director of Music at St. Joseph’s Church Yorkville, New York City’s German national parish on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. In April 2008 he led the church’s choral ensembles in a concert of music by Arvo Pärt, Aaron Jay Kernis, and J. S. Bach on the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI’s internationally televised visit to the historic parish.
Dr. Black enjoys an active career as a choral conductor, and has conducted numerous choirs in over fifty concerts in New York City and Los Angeles. He has served as Artistic Director of the Amuse women’s chamber choir, the Central City Chorus, the Brearley Singers, and the St. Joseph’s Singers, all in New York City. Dr. Black has conducted large choral/orchestral works from the standard canon such as the Requiems of Brahms, Fauré and Duruflé, the Christmas Oratorio of J. S. Bach, and the Solemn Vespers of Mozart. He has also conducted more eclectic repertoire such as the Requiem of Frederick Delius and the New York City premiere of Carol Barnett’s The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass.
Dr. Black has prepared choruses for performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at Riverside Church with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Astoria Symphony, and William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the Empire State Youth Orchestra. He has been a guest conductor for the Empire City Men’s Chorus, St. George’s Choral Society, the West Village Chorale, the Association of Connecticut Choruses, the American Opera Project, the National Association of Composers East Coast Chapter, Lincoln Center Theater and HarlemStage. Dr. Black is continually involved in the performance of new choral music. He commissioned composers Elliot Levine and Kristin Kuster to write works for the Central City Chorus, and has conducted New York City premieres of compositions by Emma Lou Diemer, Kirke Mechem, Steven Stucky, and Emmy Award-winning composer Steve Heitzeg.
Dr. Black is also active as a concert organist and professional singer. In 1999 he was one of six finalists in the American Guild of Organists Young Artist Competition, and is a winner of the Charles Ives Prize from the Yale University School of Music. Dr. Black has played recitals on the great organs of Washington National Cathedral; St. Patrick’s Cathedral and St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York City, and Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. He was a featured organ performer at the 2012 American Choral Directors Association Western Division conference in Reno, NV. As a professional singer specializing in contemporary music, Dr. Black has sung in premieres of new works in Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. He has performed and recorded new music with the New York Virtuoso Singers, the Gregg Smith Singers, the Society for Universal Sacred Music and the Vedantic Arts Ensemble. He has sung in vocal ensembles in concert performances by Barry Manilow and Sarah Brightman in Los Angeles.
Dr. Black holds degrees from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, the Yale School of Music and the University of Louisville. He is a native of Kentucky.