Swedish vocal conductor to share skills at BGSU

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Renowned Swedish vocal conductor Erik Westberg will be in residence Thursday and Friday (Oct. 29 and 30) at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts as the first of this year’s Helen McMaster Endowed Professors in Vocal and Choral Studies.

Westberg will attend multiple rehearsals of University vocal ensembles, speaking to students and offering advice on performance technique.

His visit will also include a master class on performance technique that will be open to the public, at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. He will conclude his stay at BGSU that evening by attending “Noobies: The Newcomers’ Show,” featuring new musical arts students, at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall.

He began his career as a student of choir conducting with Eric Ericson at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. From 1976-87, Westberg completed degrees in music pedagogy, choir pedagogy and choir conducting.

In 1993, he founded the Westberg Vocal Ensemble in Sweden. The group consists of 16 performers of varying skill, from teachers of music to those active in local church choirs. The prestigious ensemble has at times worked closely with composers and has premiered numerous original compositions.

In 1996, the choir released its first album, “Musica Sacra.” Since then it has produced two subsequent albums, “Across the Bridge of Hope” and “A Star Is Shining.”

This year, Westberg and well-known coach-accompanist Margo Garrett will share the McMaster Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Performance Studies. Garrett will make her second appearance in the event in February 2010.

Helen McMaster and her late husband, Harold, established the endowed professorship in spring 2000. Helen McMaster, a longtime Perrysburg resident, has supported the arts at Bowling Green for many years. The McMasters have previously donated to BGSU programs in music, business, science and the Center for Photochemical Sciences.

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Image caption: Erik Westberg

(Posted October 27, 2009 )