Gregory Gentry is the Director of Choral Studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, where he administers the doctoral, masters and undergraduate choral conducting programs, as well as oversees eight choral ensembles, from madrigal to symphonic choirs to vocal jazz. Dr. Gentry is Artistic Director for CU's annual Holiday Festival, the newly appointed "Lynn Whitten Choral Faculty Fellow," and has now joined with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to oversee their medical choir, as part of his newly-proposed wellness program for conductors.
With more than 12 years as a successful public school music teacher (3 years in elementary and 9 years at the high school level) and 19 years as a college educator, Gentry’s career as a conductor has allowed him to work in both professional and academic settings, preparing and performing great choral masterworks. From his 2009 Phoenix Symphony conducting debut to sold-out audiences with Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, to his conducting the Arizona State University Symphony and combined choruses in William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast in 2011, Dr. Gentry has shown his expertise and sincere versatility.
For the 2010 premiere of Tito’s Say by Arizona composer James DeMars, with the ASU Symphony and the ASU Symphonic Chorale, Dr. Gentry was honored by the Mexican Consulate at a reception at Tempe’s Gammage Auditorium. Now in Colorado, he collaborates annually in preparing his choirs for performance with Michael Butterman and the Boulder Philharmonic. In New York, his engagements have included Carnegie Hall appearances conducting Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Schubert’s Mass in G, Schicksalslied by Johannes Brahms, and a new major choral/symphonic commission by composer Kevin Padworski entitled Reflections on a Mexican Garden, to premiere in April 2018.
Under Gentry’s leadership “the Phoenix Symphony Chorus has become one of the gems of Phoenix’s cultural scene.”
—Richard Nilsen, The Arizona Republic
In his capacity as Chorus Master with the Phoenix Symphony (2005–2012), Michael Christie, conductor, Dr. Gentry prepared the Phoenix Symphony Chorus in a wide range of performance repertoire, including Puccini’s Messa di Gloria (2012), the North American premiere of In Principio by Arvo Pärt (2011), On the Transmigration of Souls (a collaboration involving the Arizona State University choirs and the Western Illinois University choirs) and Nixon in China (2009) by John Adams, the world premiere of Mark Grey’s Enemy Slayer: A Navajo Oratorio (2008, [Naxos 2009]) with an English/Navajo libretto by Laura Tohe, and the Arizona premiere of Golijov’s Ainadamar in collaboration with Dawn Upshaw and Kelley O’Connor (2008).
As the former Director of Choral Performance at the Arizona State University School of Music, Dr. Gentry administered the graduate and undergraduate choral conducting programs, taught graduate conducting, literature and score study. Under his artistic direction, the ASU Symphonic Chorale has been featured ‘on tour’ in numerous western cities. Their 2011 performances of Igor Stravinsky’s Mass in Albuquerque, Denver, Fort Collins, and Phoenix were lauded as fresh and daring, while 2012 concert tour to Las Vegas and Reno incorporated a newly commissioned work by Chen Yi. By special invitation, in May 2011 they joined the Lamont Symphony Orchestra for Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana at the University of Denver’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts. In other academic environs, his choirs have provided demonstration performances for the Society for American Music (Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking by Normand Lockwood) and the College Music Society in Venetian polychoral style: cori spezzati (Singet dem Herrn by Heinrich Schütz). Overseeing nine choral ensembles at ASU—from early music to mixed symphonic to vocal jazz—his choral program engaged from 400 to 500 university students each school year.
Dr. Gentry is pleased to be carrying on the legacy of great choral music at the University of Colorado, where Warner Imig conducted the first formal choral concert in 1938, and founded the ground-breaking Modern Choir in 1947. Composer, arranger, choral conductor and educator (and early mentor to Gentry) George Lynn was then director of Modern Choir during the 1950s, before returning to Westminster Choir College. In the late 1970s, Lynn Whitten set new standards in choral research and scholarship that continue with the University of Colorado's graduate choral conducting programs today.
Gregory Gentry's passion for conducting sophisticated contemporary choral music is rivaled by an exceptional affinity for prerevolutionary Russian choral music, particularly of the Russian Synodal School and its performance practice. He is a proponent of the solo voice and emphasizes the use of vocal science as the foundation for his approach to artistic ensemble singing. Dr. Gentry is past president of the Arizona state chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA, 2010-2012), during which time he introduced the electronic format for the state newsletter and the use of QR codes for performance programs. He also takes professional delight in having founded Southwest Liederkranz in 2006, an intimate symposium for select choral professionals, where Kirke Mechem, Morten Lauridsen, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Vance George, Dale Warland, Dennis Keene, Maria Guinand, Eph Ehly and Duain Wolfe have, to date, been invited to share their knowledge, wisdom, inspirations, and sense of humor!