Brian Bartoldus appointed artistic director and conductor of Handel Choir

Handel Choir of Baltimore appointed Dr. Brian Bartoldus to the position of artistic director and conductor on a permanent basis, effective July 1, 2018. “We have enjoyed working with Brian this season as our interim director and look forward to continuing our relationship with him on a permanent basis. We received applications for the position from many qualified candidates and were honored by that,” said Cindy Levering, president of the Choir’s board of trustees, who also served on the search committee. “In the end, we felt that Brian was the best fit to continue the progress the Choir made under the leadership of both Melinda O’Neal and Arian Khaefi.”

Dr. Bartoldus has been serving as the Choir’s interim artistic director and conductor since last summer, after Dr. Arian Khaefi stepped down from the role to accept a position at Fullerton College in Orange County, California. Bartoldus’ appointment is the result of a national search Handel Choir undertook for a new permanent artistic director and conductor in the 2017–2018 season.

“Working with the Handel Choir has been an honor beyond measure,” said Bartoldus. “I am humbled and overjoyed to collaborate with such dedicated and talented musicians, and look forward to all of the wonderful repertoire we will explore together!”

Bartoldus completed his undergraduate studies in composition and organ performance at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, where his primary teachers included William Averitt, Robert Shafer, and Steven Cooksey. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from Yale University, where he studied with professors Marguerite Brooks, Simon Carrington, Jeffrey Douma, and Masaaki Suzuki.

Bartoldus is the artistic director of Third Practice, a professional vocal ensemble specializing in the connections between contemporary compositions and the music of the past. The ensemble’s artful Handel Choir / Bartoldus Named Handel Choir Artistic Director & Conductor, Apr. 16, 2018 Page 2 of 3 6200 North Charles Street, Suite 104, Baltimore, MD 21212 667.206.4120 Handel Choir of Baltimore is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. singing has won plaudits from the press, who have commended their “ethereal voices” (Patrick D. McCoy, Washington Life Magazine), “precise timing, careful balance and clear-cut phrasing” (Cecelia Porter, The Washington Post), “evocative heavy lifting” (Anne Midgette, The Washington Post) and “firstrate” musicality (Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times). Bartoldus has served as director of music ministry at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, since the fall of 2014. He is also music director and organist at Frederick Presbyterian Church in Frederick, Maryland.

In addition to conducting, Brian is active as a lecturer and clinician, presenting throughout the U.S. and England on subjects ranging from Gregorian chant to late 20th century masterworks. He has been commissioned by The Washington Chorus, The City Choir of Washington and Ensemble vOkabile (Hamburg, Germany), among others. Brian also performs as an organist, pianist, and chorister.

Dr. Bartoldus’ first performance as conductor of Handel Choir was the Choir’s March 3, 2018, subscription concert performance of the Frank Martin Mass for Double Choir a cappella with other works. Bartoldus and the Choir will present Sérénité: Fauré and Duruflé Requiems at 7:30 p.m. this coming Saturday, April 21, at Second Presbyterian Church in Guilford.

Joining Handel Choir for Sérénité are alto soloist Monica Reinagel, treble soloist Timothy Pepin, baritone soloists Mark McGrath and Christopher Edwards, organist Paul Skevington, Howard County Concert Orchestra, and the Concert Choir of Children’s Chorus of Maryland (CCM). The CCM Concert Choir will also perform two works under the baton of CCM Artistic Director and Conductor Susan Bialek. Sérénité is the Choir’s third and final subscription concert of the 2017–2018 season. Tickets are $37 (premium seating in front and center pews), $27 (standard seating behind and to either side of premium) and $10 for full-time students with I.D. More information and tickets are available at

Handel Choir’s 2018–2019 concert season will include two performances of Handel’s Messiah with period instrument orchestra in December, with two other subscription concerts in mid- to late winter and in spring, along with additional concerts in the community.

Handel Choir of Baltimore is a critically acclaimed auditioned choir that performs choral and choralorchestral music of the highest artistic integrity, specializing in baroque, classical and early-romantic styles, to sustain the art form and enrich the lives of Baltimore area residents through concerts, education programs and community collaborations. Handel Choir maintains an active schedule of performances and projects in the community, performing for civic events, educational programs, concert series and retirement communities.

Founded in 1935, the ensemble brings together excellent singers and players from across the MidAtlantic to perform repertoire ranging from early music to contemporary commissioned works. Auditions are open to the community. The Choir rehearses weekly on Monday nights, September through early May. Handel Choir actively promotes the artistic health and growth of the community, including collaborations with Choir of St. David’s in March 2017, a joint concert with Children’s Chorus of Maryland (The Heart’s Age, spring 2016), Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with Camerata of University of Maryland Baltimore County, and performances with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Baroque Band, Harmonious Blacksmith, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and Peabody Early Music.

Handel Choir of Baltimore has performed Handel’s Messiah every year since 1935, and in 2004 began presenting historically informed performances of Messiah with period instrument orchestra. For more information, interview requests or high-resolution photos, contact Managing Director Anne Wilson at 667.206.4120 or