Kenneth Nafziger, artistic director and conductor, is professor of music at Eastern Mennonite University. He is a graduate of Goshen College, received a doctor of musical arts from the University of Oregon, and was a post-doctoral conducting student with Helmuth Rilling in Stuttgart, Germany.
At EMU his teaching responsibilities include the EMU Chamber Singers, courses in conducting, interdisciplinary humanities studies, the honors program and world music. Mr. Nafziger is also music director and conductor of the chamber choir Voce in Reston, Virginia, and the chamber choir Winchester Musica Viva in Winchester, Virginia. The Winchester ensemble is marking its 30th year this season. The Reston ensemble performed the North American premiere of José María Vitier’s Ave Maria por Cuba, for choir, soprano, piano, strings and percussion. Mr. Vitier was the piano soloist and also accompanied in another of his works on the same program, Misa Cubana, in November 2010.
As an active musician in Cuba, he has worked with many of Cuba’s premier orchestral and choral ensembles. Nafziger’s work there has included major guest conducting appearances with the country’s leading orchestras and choirs, teaching master classes in a variety of musical topics, and participating with musical colleagues in a number of joint projects. He has taken choirs from Virginia to perform there.
Mr. Nafziger was music editor of Hymnal: A Worship Book (1992) and editor of its Accompaniment Handbook (1993). He was a member of the committee that published Sing the Journey (2005) and Sing the Story (2007) and produced two CD recordings of hymns from each collection. He is the co-author with Marlene Kropf of, Singing: A Mennonite Voice. His work is widely known in many denominations, including Methodist, Lutheran, Church of Christ, and Unitarian-Universalist. A January workshop, which he founded for church music leaders, has run successfully for more than twenty years and draws a large population of church musicians from Mennonite and other denominations across a wide geographic spread. He is sought out as a guest conductor, workshop leader and clinician across the United States and Canada.