Dr. Weber, in my mind, is one of the legends of the choral profession due to the contribution of her body of work over many years and at all levels of teaching. I find the combination of her high level of music making, along with her experience in classrooms with young kids and everything in between to be a fascinating model to which we can all aspire. I can’t think of a better person to guide us through our thinking about concepts related to ownership and professionalism within our ensembles.
Is it possible for us as conductors to “let go” of some of the control? What would that look like? Could our choirs actually improve by us getting out of the way? How would our egos handle that…? In this refreshing episode Dr. Weber and I tackle these and many more questions. Be sure to tune in!
Dr. Betsy Cook Weber is a Madison Endowed Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Houston Moores School of Music. She teaches a full load of coursework, oversees the large and varied choral area at the Moores School, and is also highly active internationally as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and lecturer.
The University of Houston Moores School Concert Chorale, which she directs, has established a reputation as one of the world’s finest collegiate choirs and has been a featured choir at multiple state (2002, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2017) and national conventions (ACDA 2007, 2017, NCCO 2017). Internationally, Chorale has received acclaim at six prestigious competitions, winning or placing in every category in which they were entered. These include the Eisteddfod in Wales, Florilége Vocal in Tours, France, International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf, Germany, the Grand Prix of Nations in Magdeburg, Germany, the Bela Bartok International Choral Competition in Hungary, and the European Grand Prix in Arezzo, Italy. Judges’ comments include “de luxe singing, eliciting admiration and gratitude,” “wonderfully elegant and humorous,” “sophisticated choir — expertly prepared and with a finely-tuned corporate ear.” In 2015, Musica mundi, in its ranking of the top 1000 choirs in the world, placed UH Concert Chorale #1 in its age category and #3 among all choirs worldwide.
In addition to her work at the University of Houston, Dr. Weber serves as director of the Houston Symphony Chorus. Under Weber’s leadership, the Houston Symphony Chorus has performed over 200 concerts consisting of repertoire as varied as Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem and Video Games Live. She is privileged to collaborate with some of the world’s best conductors, including Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Jane Glover, Christoph Eschenbach, and Nicholas McKegan. She has led the HSC and HS Chamber Singers on two European tours to the Czech Republic in 2017 and in Poland and Germany in 2019, including a performance at the world-renowned Bachfest in Leipzig.
In the coming year, in addition to her return to work once again with the Arkansas All-State, Dr. Weber looks forward to engagements in California, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, and Germany.
Dr. Weber frequently prepares singers for early music orchestras Ars Lyrica and Mercury Houston and is also routinely called upon to prepare choruses for touring shows, including Josh Groban, Andreas Bocelli, NBC’s Clash of the Choirs, Telemundo’s Latin Grammy’s, Star Wars in Concert, and the Eagles.
In the summer of 2013, Weber became the 13th person and 1st woman to receive the Texas Choral Director Association’s coveted Texas Choirmaster Award.
She holds degrees from the University of North Texas, Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ), and the University of Houston.