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Young Women's Choral Projects Founding Director Susan McMane To Retire

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Artistic and Executive Director Susan McMane is a world-renowned choral conductor specializing in treble choral music.

Young Women's Choral Projects Founding Director Susan McMane To Retire

Ahead of its 10th anniversary season, the Young Women's Choral Projects of San Francisco (YWCP) announced today that Founding Director Susan McMane will retire in July 2022. At the end of the forthcoming season, Dr. McMane will conduct her final concerts with the Young Women's Chorus in San Francisco on Wednesday, June 23, 2022, and in Paris on Saturday, July 3, 2022.

The world-renowned choral conductor has dedicated her last two decades in San Francisco transforming the lives of young women through music. She launched YWCP in 2012 as artistic director and conductor of Young Women's Chorus, YWCP's leading ensemble. With Dr. McMane at the helm, YWCP grew to six ensembles of more than 100 young women, ages 4 to 18.

"Through my 50 years working in choral music, I have had the pleasure of conducting adults and children in church choirs, young voices in elementary schools, men and women in university choirs, and community ensembles. But nothing compares to my time at YWCP, where young women of diverse backgrounds evolve as artists through high-quality music education and choral performance," says McMane. "YWCP has become a nurturing environment for singers and audiences alike thanks to the terrific staff and Board of Directors, the families and of course, our amazing choristers. I am proud that together, we have been able to share music with the world that celebrates hope, builds a voice for social justice, and empowers young women."


"With an unparalleled artistic vision, coupled with a passion for fostering young women through music, Susan has had an immense impact on the lives of hundreds of young singers, as well as audience members, during her time at YWCP," says Martha Daetwyler, President of the YWCP Board of Directors. "Under her leadership, Susan has established YWCP as a prestigious choral organization with a bright future. We look forward to celebrating her legacy with the 10th anniversary season."

The Board of Directors will appoint an interim director for YWCP's 2022-2023 season when it will launch an international search for the next artistic director.

"Susan encourages the girls to seek excellence and she teaches them so much more than just singing," says Frederica von Stade, world-renowned opera singer. "She assures these kids the most wonderful confidence and other values that will go on forever in their lives. Additionally, some of the repertoire they sing is extremely complex. The fact that they are able to learn this, perform it so brilliantly and accurately, and with such natural ebullience, leaves me amazed at how accomplished they are."

Since its founding, YWCP has been on the cutting edge of programming in choral music, resulting in 10 commissions and premieres, including Aleksandra Vrebalov's full-length opera, Abraham in Flames at Z Space in 2019 (World Premiere), the Dale Warland Singers Commission of "A Singer's Path," by Karen P. Thomas in May 2016 (World Premiere), and "Qui creavit coelum" by Frank La Rocca in 2015 (World Premiere); and four awards, including 2020 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from Chorus America, the Adventurous Programming Award from ASCAP/Chorus America (2017), and the American Prize in Choral Performance (2014). Dr. McMane has led the Young Women's Chorus through annual tours, including international tours in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, and South Africa, and regional tours in the Pacific Northwest and the East Coast. YWCP has also shared the stage with renowned organizations, including San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Philharmonia Orchestra of London, and the Kronos Quartet.

"YWCP has provided me with an incomparable role model in Susan McMane," said Maxine Rosenfeld, YWCP alumna. "Thanks to her influence and guidance, I have learned what it means to lead with grace and kindness while remaining unwavering in values and uncompromising in pursuit of excellence."

Artistic and Executive Director Susan McMane is a world-renowned choral conductor specializing in treble choral music. In 2012, she became the founding director of the Young Women's Choral Projects of San Francisco, where she conducts the auditioned chorus of young women from grades 7-12 and oversees a training chorus program for younger girls. From June 2001- March 2012, Dr. McMane was the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus where she achieved national and international acclaim for its concert, recording, and touring chorus. She has served on college music faculties of Saint Louis University, the University of North Dakota and San Francisco State, and was Founding Artistic Director and Conductor of the St. Louis Women's Chorale.

Dr. McMane has prepared her choirs for performances with many leading symphonic conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Helmut Rilling, Robert Spano, Charles Dutoit, Nicholas McGegan, and Kurt Masur. In addition, she personally has conducted ensembles on tour nationally and internationally throughout Europe and Asia including France, Spain, Italy, England, Wales, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Japan, South Korea, and China. In 2011, she was invited to bring her chorus to Cuba, on a cultural exchange mission granted by the U.S. and Cuban governments.

Dr. McMane has won many awards for her work including three GRAMMY Awards with the San Francisco Symphony and the 2007 "Symphony of Excellence Arts Award" from the Pacific Musical Society. In addition she won honors at the International Eisteddfod competition in Llangollen, Wales, in 1998 and that year was also named the "Music Educator of the Year" by the St. Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

To promote and advance choral music for treble voices, Dr. McMane is responsible for commissioning over 20 new works from prominent composers such as Chen Yi, Tania Leon, Augusta Read Thomas, Frank La Rocca, David Conte, Alberto Grau, and many more. She is a two-time recipient of the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. She earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and holds two degrees in Vocal Performance.

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