Robert Shafer


Robert Shafer, recognized as one of America's major choral conductors, is celebrating his 35th anniversary season as music director of The Washington Chorus. In February of 2000, he was honored by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences with a GRAMMY® Award for Best Choral Performance of the Year for the Chorus’ live-performance recording of Britten’s War Requiem. In addition to that award-winning recording, Maestro Shafer prepared The Washington Chorus for the GRAMMY® Award-nominated compact disc and film soundtrack recording of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov with Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Shafer conducts The Washington Chorus’ subscription series concerts and has prepared the Chorus for many of the world's leading conductors including Sir Neville Marriner, Seiji Ozawa, Zdenek Macal, Christopher Warren-Green, Charles Dutoit, Kent Nagano, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Leonard Slatkin. He has guest-conducted the National Symphony Orchestra on several occasions and has conducted choral performances for NBC national television. A student of the distinguished Nadia Boulanger, Maestro Shafer has also been noted for his compositions. He won first prize in composition at the Conservatoire Americain in 1969, and his works have been performed throughout the United States and Europe. When he served as music director of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, he composed and conducted a setting of Tu es Petrus in honor of Pope John Paul's 1979 visit to Washington. Another setting of Tu es Petrus, which he wrote for the Children’s Chorus of Washington, was published by Boosey & Hawkes. He also composed and conducted a setting of Nunc Dimittis for the funeral of the Honorable Elliot Richardson which was held in Washington's National Cathedral. Active as a teacher, Maestro Shafer taught at James Madison High School from 1968-1975, producing one of the finest madrigal groups in the country, and has been Artist-in-Residence and Professor of Music at the Shenandoah Conservatory of the Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia since 1983. In 1989, he was honored by the Virginia Council on Higher Education with an Outstanding Faculty Award for his outstanding public service, research, and teaching - the first teacher in the arts to receive this award.
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