The Kennedy Center

Doreen Rao


Doreen Rao is a distinguished conductor and master teacher committed to the dynamic intersections linking choral artistry and music education. Recipient of the 2019 Robert Shaw lifetime achievement award by the American Choral Director’s Association for her extraordinary contributions to choral music, Doreen’s seminal work has inspired generations of young singers, accomplished choral teachers and celebrated conductors.  During her association with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, she prepared the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus for concerts and recorded performances, winning four Grammy Awards and a Grand Prix du Disque with Sir George Solti, Margaret Hillis, Claudio Abbado and James Levine. Doreen inspired and edited a massive choral repertoire for young treble and SATB choirs, published by Boosey & Hawkes as Choral Music Experience. The first woman to hold an endowed chair in conducting, Doreen carries the prestigious Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting Emeritus in perpetuity at the University of Toronto. She has enjoyed tenures as Artistic Director of the Chicago Chamber Choir and the Buffalo Master Chorale.

Watch Past Performances

Video 7/8/2019: Serenade! Choral Music Festival Grand Finale

Classical Movements’ 9th annual Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival concludes on the Concert Hall stage with a truly grand finale: individual performances by “The Human Journey” ensembles from Iran, Mongolia, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, France and Germany, as well the Serenade! mass choir, led by the 2019 recipient of the Robert Shaw Lifetime Achievement Award, Doreen Rao. Dr. Rao will conduct her second Serenade! mass choir in the world premiere of Refuge—a brand-new work by soprano and composer Patrice Michaels—commissioned by the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program.

This program is part of The Human Journey.

Free general admission tickets will be distributed in the Hall of Nations starting at approximately 4:30 p.m., up to two tickets per person.

Doreen Rao- Guest Conductor © Elliott Mandel