Cornell University Chorus


Founded in 1921, the Cornell University Chorus is Cornell’s premier treble voice ensemble. Under the direction of Professor Scott Tucker from 1995 – 2012, the ensemble has gained a reputation as one of the nation’s outstanding women’s choirs. Comprising fifty women from a variety of backgrounds, the Chorus performs a repertoire spanning eight centuries and ten languages, including masses, motets, spirituals, folk, and a variety of other classical and contemporary pieces. Since 2001, the Chorus has made a special point of commissioning new works from women composers with the goal of expanding the contemporary repertoire for treble voices.

The Chorus performs annually during Convocation, First-Year Family Weekend, Senior Week, Commencement, and Reunions Weekend. In addition, the Chorus boasts extensive experience in professional settings, working under the direction of Nadia Boulanger, Eugene Ormandy, Erich

Leinsdorf, Michael Tilson Thomas, Julius Rudel, and Karel Husa on the stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Philadelphia Academy of Music, and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The Chorus regularly joins with the Cornell University Glee Club to perform major works, including Verdi’s Requiem, Bach’s Mass in B minor, Bernstein’s MASS, and Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem.

The ensemble has made numerous successful tours of New England, the Midwest, the Southeastern United States, California, and Canada. The Chorus also travels to other universities for competitions and festivals; the women have performed at Harvard for the Centennial Celebration of the Radcliffe Choral Society, and with the Toronto Women’s Chorus, the Penn State Glee Club, and the Wellesley Chorus. The Chorus has also toured abroad, with trips to Taiwan in 1998 and Italy in 2005, and joint tours with the Glee Club to Venezuela in 2001 and China in 2008.


John Rowehl, Interim Director

John Rowehl is the Interim Director of Choral Music at Cornell University, and a doctoral student in the Performance Practice program within Cornell’s Department of Music. He first joined the Glee Club in 2002, as Assistant Conductor, and in the decade since has conducted the ensemble at such venues as Alice Tully Hall and the Kennedy Center, as well as on international tours to Brazil and China. John was recognized with an Otto R. Stahl award for Choral Music in 2008 and with the Dean’s Prize for Distinguished Teaching in 2009.

Trained in classical piano from the age of 7, and a competition-winning pianist as a teenager, John originally came to Cornell as a Ph.D. student in Philosophy (and still has philosophical tendencies). His performance focus is on choral conducting, and his dissertation – a project in applied biomusicology – examines how our ideas about performance change when we take seriously the latest findings in the neurophysiology of music and the growing body of evidence that music is hard-wired into us humans, in part because of the role it plays in creating and nurturing community.

John has been heard as a baritone soloist in the Fingerlakes Bach Festival and with NewYork State Baroque. He also enjoys working with singers from the keyboard, as a vocal coach and collaborative pianist. When not in the library or at a choral rehearsal, John learns Ghanaian music with the World Drum and Dance Ensemble, practices yoga, and indulges his love of beach volleyball as often as Ithaca’s weather permits.

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