Australian born conductor Heather J. Buchanan is Director of Choral Activities in the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, where she conducts the 170-voice Chorale, 60-voice University Singers, 24-voice Vocal Accord, and teaches Choral Methods and Body Mapping.
A vibrant musician and dynamic pedagogue, choirs under Ms. Buchanan’s direction have consistently received glowing reviews for their performances. Her work with the opera chorus for Elmer Gantry (January 2008), a major ‘role’ in the production, received outstanding recognition in the New York Times and New Jersey Star-Ledger reviews: “the well-rehearsed student chorus sang with heartfelt conviction,” and “the student chorus was a marvel of diction, tuning and rhythm, but is also offered something else that’s harder to find in professionals; new-minted enthusiasm, vibrancy.
Ms. Buchanan’s guest conducting and teaching credits include a week-long residency with the Studiochor of the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Graz, Austria (2010), conducting the 2007 Dvořák Festival in Prague, Zlonice (Czech Republic), and Vienna (May 2007), three collaborations with celebrated American composer and performer Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble, the World Premiere performances of Madison’s Descent by celebrated Irish composer Mícheál ÓSúílleabháin (May 2005), guest conducting The Greater Trenton Symphony Orchestra, the Princeton Society of Musical Amateurs, and preparing choirs for performances with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Bay Atlantic Symphony, and Pottstown Symphony.
Ms. Buchanan presents regularly at conferences and festivals and is in demand as a guest conductor and clinician for choral festivals and Body Mapping workshops in the USA and abroad. A recipient of a prestigious Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship (1996-97), Ms Buchanan is a twice honored Paul Harris Fellow (1997 & 2003) and received a Rotary Foundation Education Award in 1998. She is a member of Phi Beta Delta, the national honor society for international and U.S. students; a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honor society; an Honorary Member of the Delta Delta chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota; and a member of the academic honor society Phi Kappa Phi. She resides in Princeton Junction, New Jersey with her husband Peter and daughter Paige.