Phoenix Chorale's Charles Bruffy to Step Down in October
Bruffy holds artistic leadership positions in his hometown of Kansas City including the Kansas City Chorale, Director of Music at Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church, and Artistic Director of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus. The decision was prompted by Bruffy's desire to pursue other artistic opportunities and to focus more time in Kansas City.
"I originally agreed to be in Phoenix for one season, but then one day I turned around and my first season had turned into 18 years," said Artistic Director Charles Bruffy. "From where we started to where we are now, it's been quite a journey and I am so proud of what we have accomplished together. It's been an incredible experience working with these singers all this time... it's going to be very difficult to not be here each week. I'm very grateful to everyone in Phoenix that has helped make my home away from home so warm and welcome all these years. I really feel like our singers, patrons, and supporters are one big family."
One of the leading choral conductors in North America, Charles Bruffy began working with the then named Phoenix Bach Choir in 1999. The organization changed its name to the Phoenix Chorale in 2008, and Bruffy embarked on a journey to increase the organization's profile nationally and internationally. Soon the Phoenix Chorale was signed to the Chandos record label and Bruffy developed major recording projects for the Phoenix Chorale including Shakespeare in Song, Spotless Rose, and Northern Lights. His recordings with the Phoenix Chorale and Kansas City Chorale received a total of ten Grammy Award nominations and three Grammy wins including the recording of Rachmaninoff's All-night Vigil, which won the Grammy for "Best Choral Performance" in 2016.
"We are saddened by his departure, but understand Charles' decision," said April Jones, Chair of the Phoenix Chorale's Board of Directors. "During his tenure, the Phoenix Chorale reached new pinnacles of artistry and acclaim, performing over 200 concerts in the Valley and across Arizona. He has brought the Phoenix Chorale to tremendous heights, taking it from a little-known regional group, to now its status as one of the most respected choirs in the world. We've been so fortunate to have him with us in Phoenix for so long - his lasting impact on our community will be felt for years to come."
The 2017/18 Season will begin a transition year with Bruffy overseeing summer auditions to fill singer vacancies, fine-tuning programs he selected for the upcoming season, and serving as counsel for the Chorale as it begins the search for the new Artistic Director. As part of the search process, guest conductors will be brought in to work and interact with the singers and audiences during the season.
"As a singer, working with Charles has been a true joy. He has such an innate ability to interpret music in new and powerful ways. He pushes the human voice to produce an ethereal blend that propels the choir to jaw-dropping heights. And as a person, his charming manner, friendship and camaraderie with the audience and the artists has promoted such goodwill within and for the organization. It's been a great privilege to make music with him," said Alison Chaney, Phoenix Chorale Soprano and Singer Representative to the Phoenix Chorale Board of Directors.
"I'm sure this was a very tough decision for Charles. Knowing how grueling his schedule had become, we all understood this day would inevitably come. He has give so much to the Chorale - the endless hours on the road and years of dedication to our singers, patrons, and our Phoenix community. I know I speak for everyone when I say we wish we could have him with us forever," said Jen Rogers, Phoenix Chorale President and CEO. "Over the years, he has built such a solid foundation, a choir with an impeccable reputation for creating musical art of the highest caliber. He's confident we are ready for the next chapter, and I know he will make sure that when he hands over the baton to his successor, it will be an exciting time for all of us as we move forward to the next stage."
BRUFFY'S BEST - October 27-29, 2017 "Bruffy's Best" opens our 2017/18 Season and will be a celebration of Artistic Director Charles Bruffy's tenure and accomplishments with the Phoenix Chorale. The concerts will feature some of the signature choral works Bruffy has conducted in Phoenix, including Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir. Performances will be held across the Valley October 27-29, 2017. About the Phoenix Chorale: The GRAMMY Award-winning Phoenix Chorale, under the direction of Artistic Director Charles Bruffy, is regarded as one of the finest choral ensembles in North America.
What began in 1958 as a small study group of singers became a fully professional choir in 1992 made up of Arizona residents: highly educated and trained singers, teachers and professionals. In 2004, the Phoenix Chorale became the first North American choir to record for the U.K.'s prestigious Chandos Records and since then, the Chorale's recordings have earned a total of eight GRAMMY nominations and two GRAMMY wins. The Phoenix Chorale aims to be the preeminent model for American choral music by redefining the standards of excellence, and its mission to enrich life through excellence and distinction in choral artistry.