Executive Director Patrick Owens Resigns From New York Choral Society After 65th Anniversary Season

During his tenure, Owens has been instrumental in guiding NYCHORAL through a period of unprecedented growth and innovation.

By: Feb. 20, 2024
Executive Director Patrick Owens Resigns From New York Choral Society After 65th Anniversary Season
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The New York Choral Society has announced the resignation of Patrick (“Pat”) Owens from his position as Executive Director after their spring concert The Unicorn on May 30 at NYU Skirball Center. Owens, who was appointed to the role in 2017 as the organization's first professional Executive Director, has been instrumental in guiding NYCHORAL through a period of unprecedented growth and innovation.

During his tenure, Owens transformed the operations and  governance structure of NYCHORAL, transitioning the organization from a fully volunteer-run entity to a professionally managed institution. His efforts significantly expanded the Board of Trustees, bringing in diverse voices from the community to strengthen the organization's leadership.  Under his leadership the organization saw new relationships with governmental and foundation supporters and the introduction of many development initiatives including monthly and planned giving campaigns. 

Owens navigated NYCHORAL through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic with resilience and creativity. Under his leadership, the chorus launched the Our Voices digital short films, a groundbreaking initiative that showcased chorus music through collaboration with sculptors, dancers, and visual artists. This innovative approach not only sustained NYCHORAL during difficult times but also positioned the organization as a leader in reimagining the presentation of choral music while continuing its tradition of showcasing exciting young, diverse vocal soloists, many who were on the brink of launching major careers such as Ben Bliss, Cierra Byrd, Brandon Cedel, Bernard Holcomb, Jarrett Ott, Kenneth Overton, Hera Hyesang Park, Zoie Reams, and Gabriella Reyes - as well as spotlighting composers such as Adolphus Hailstork, Jennifer Higdon, Undine Smith Moore, Rosephanye Powell, Ned Rorem, Kevin Siegfried, Joel Thompson, and Frank Ticheli. Additionally, Owens spearheaded the launch of NYCHORAL's community outreach program, forging new connections and partnerships with high schools, advocacy groups, and arts organizations. His dedication to expanding the organization's network of collaborators has enriched NYCHORAL's artistic offerings and broadened its impact, including groundbreaking projects with leading contemporary artists Brendan Fernandes, Kia LaBeija Gordon Hall, James Little, Rev. Joyce McDonald, Saya Woolfalk and visionary choreographers Francesca Harper, Claudia Schreier, and Tiffany Rea Fisher.

Reflecting on his time with NYCHORAL, Owens expressed immense pride in the chorus's accomplishments. "I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished. Our chorus has seen an unprecedented period of organizational and artistic growth over the past seven years. We reimagined what is possible for choral music and embarked on a new era of creativity with a truly exceptional group of artists, musicians, choreographers, filmmakers, and storytellers” he remarks. “We are featuring the music of more underrepresented voices and tackling issues important to the community in which we perform expanding what is possible for choral music performance.  Our Voices, born out of the limitations of the pandemic, is now the cornerstone of our commitment to innovation and experimentation,” he adds. “The passion, dedication, and sheer talent that fuel this legendary chorus is truly extraordinary, and I am so very grateful to have contributed to its success.  Having established a strong foundation for future organizational and artistic achievement, it is the right time for me to explore new challenges and opportunities.”

Gary Pai, Chair of NYCHORAL's Board of Trustees, praised Owens for his transformative leadership. I am enormously grateful for Pat's incredible contributions to NYCHORAL and to the choral art," he notes. "He has transformed our governance and operations and prepared us to handle any challenge that lies ahead while helping us discover innovative ways to present choral music that distinguishes us from our peers. Pat has set us up for tremendous success and we will dearly miss him.

As NYCHORAL begins the search for a new Executive Director, the Board of Trustees has retained Aspen Leadership Group to conduct the search.


Founded in 1959, the NY Choral Society is hailed as one of the mainstays of the city's music scene, known for its adventurous repertoire. Committed to presenting a diverse repertoire that spans from well-known choral masterworks, great compositions rarely heard in concert halls, and newer culturally significant choral works, innovative collaborations and exceptional artistry highlight the essential joy and power of live choral music for New York patrons each season. Made up of more than 150 voices, ages 19-90, the chorus is led by Music Director David Hayes and has performed at prestigious venues throughout the New York metropolitan area such as Carnegie Hall, and partnered with major arts institutions like American Ballet Theatre, Lincoln Center, the New York City Ballet and Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and many others. From their debut concert at the David Geffen Hall, formerly known as Philharmonic Hall with just over a dozen singers in 1965, the New York Choral Society continues to expand its artistic mission, educational commitment, and legacy, bringing choral music into the twenty-first century and beyond.

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