Phoenix Chorale to Conduct Nationwide Search to Replace Longtime President & CEO
Joel Rinsema, who served as President & CEO of the Phoenix Chorale for 15 years, has resigned to focus his full attention on responsibilities as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Denver-based choral ensemble Kantorei.
Rinsema was named to the Kantorei position at the start of the 2014/15 Season and has been splitting his time with the Phoenix Chorale.
To ensure a smooth transition, the Phoenix Chorale Board of Directors has appointed Jen Rogers as Interim President & CEO. Rogers also will continue handling responsibilities as Vice President of Marketing and Communications. The Phoenix Chorale board plans to conduct a national search for a permanent replacement.
"Joel Rinsema dedicated nearly a quarter of a century to the Phoenix Chorale, first as a singer, as Assistant Conductor, and for nearly 15 years as the leader of the organization," said Phoenix Chorale Board Chair April Jones. "He is a passionate advocate for both the professional choral art form and for the Phoenix Chorale. We wish him great success in his new venture."
During Rinsema's 23-year tenure, he served in nearly every capacity from singer to CEO. Under his leadership, the Phoenix Chorale experienced significant artistic and organizational successes including winning two Grammy Awards and receiving eight Grammy nominations.
"Joel has given his heart to our organization and we are all very grateful for his dedication and meaningful contributions on both administrative and artistic levels," said Phoenix Chorale Artistic Director Charles Bruffy. "And while we will really miss his exceptional spirit, the Chorale will continue to strive for our goals of perfection and providing our audiences the highest artistic experience."
Among Rinsema's accomplishments were negotiating the first contract for a North American choir to sign with Chandos Records of the United Kingdom; producing three albums that received eight Grammy Award nominations and two Grammy wins; leading the Phoenix Chorale to its Lincoln Center debut with its sister choir, the Kansas City Chorale; and critical acclaim from Gramophone magazine, Fanfare Magazine, International Record Review, American Record Guide, The Choral Journal and BBC Music Magazine, among others.
"It is with very mixed emotions that I leave the Phoenix Chorale, but I am very excited about my future and new opportunities with Kantorei of Denver," Rinsema said. "Having spent more than 23 years with the Phoenix Chorale, it holds a very special place in my heart and I am proud to have been a part of the artistic and organizational successes the ensemble has achieved. It has been a privilege and honor to work with the incredibly talented singers in the Chorale and under the artistic leadership of Charles Bruffy."
Jen Rogers' affiliation with the Phoenix Chorale began in 2006 as a public relations consultant. During her tenure with the organization, the patron experience has been overhauled with new box office practices and improvements to front of house production, and ticket sales have increased 75%. With over a decade in arts management experience, she has worked with a variety of musical ensembles and record labels from jazz to classical. Prior to joining the Phoenix Chorale, she managed public relations and marketing for The Phoenix Symphony - Arizona's largest performing arts organization. She currently also serves as an Associate Director on the board for Jazz in AZ and volunteers for Rosie's House: A Music Academy for Children.
"Joel was instrumental in positioning the Phoenix Chorale among the nation's most-respected choral ensembles, and we will continue that tradition during the coming season," Rogers said. "As we move forward, we are incredibly excited about our concert series for 2015/16 and in bringing another memorable season of diverse, moving, compelling, and entertaining programs to our audiences."
The 2015/16 Season begins Oct. 16-18 with a grand masterwork, Brahms Requiem, also known as Ein deutsches Requiem or "A German Requiem," and using the composer's own transcription for piano four hands. Three performances will follow: A Chorale Christmas with music by John Tavener, Javier Busto, Eriks Ešenvalds, and more, Dec. 18-22; American Folk featuring songs from Aaron Copland to Dolly Parton and James Taylor to Simon & Garfunkel, March 4-6; and Big|Brave Blue Marble, an experience of the elements of life through the music of Samuel Barber, Frank Ticheli Eric Whitacre, and more. Tickets go on sale in early September.
For more information, visit www.phoenixchorale.org.