Faculty & Staff

Dr. James Morrow

Director of Choral Studies
Conductor, Chamber Singers; Head of Graduate Choral Conducting Program

professor james morrowDr. James Morrow is Director of Choral Activities at The University of Texas at Austin where he conducts the Chamber Singers and directs the graduate program in choral conducting. He is Founder and Artistic Director of the popular Bach Cantata Project and is also Founder and Artistic Director of Ensemble VIII, a professional early music ensemble devoted to historically informed performances of Renaissance and Baroque vocal works.

Under Dr. Morrow’s direction, the UT Chamber Singers have recorded two compact disks of American choral music on the Naxos label, and on the Koch International Classics label they recorded Sweet Music of Christmas , as well as Great Hymns of Faith with organist Gerre Hancock. He led the Chamber Singers in a modern-day premiere and recording of Brazilian composer José Maurício Nunes Garcia’s Missa de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao of 1810, and their latest disc of American folksongs is in post-production.

Dr. Morrow and the Chamber Singers recently performed Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers with period instruments in celebration of the works 400th anniversary, as well as the complete Tenebrae Responsories of Tomás Luis de Victoria. Dr. Morrow’s choirs have toured internationally, singing for audiences in England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. The UT Chamber Singers’ most recent international concert tour was to Brazil where they performed with the University of São Paolo Chamber Orchestra in historic venues in São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, and they toured the Northeastern U.S. in spring 2011, performing in major venues in Boston, New Haven, New York City, and Washington DC.

Dr. Morrow performed as a choral singer with Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers in France and in the United States, participating in several recordings for TELARC, as well as performing in concert as baritone soloist under Mr. Shaw’s direction. He is a featured soloist on a TELARC compact disc with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus. A student of the late Gérard Souzay, he has also performed as a baritone soloist with orchestras in a variety of repertoire, including Stravinsky’s Pulcinella , Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs , Arvo Pärt’s Passio , and the passions of J. S. Bach. He was twice selected as an Artist/Fellow at the Bach Aria Festival and Institute in Stony Brook, New York. Prior to his appointment at UT, he served as Director of Choral Activities at the University of Florida and at Hope College in Michigan.

Contact Dr. Morrow at morrowj@austin.utexas.edu

Dr. Suzanne Pence

Associate Professor of Music and Human Learning/Choral Conducting
Conductor, Concert Chorale

professor suzanne penceDr. Suzanne Pence joined the UT faculty in 1996. Along with her teaching assignment in choral music she serves as Director of Admissions for the Butler School of Music. Dr. Pence conducts the Concert Chorale, teaches undergraduate conducting, secondary choral methods, and supervises graduate students in Music and Human Learning with a choral emphasis. Dr. Pence previously held the position of Director of Choral Activities at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina. She received the DMA in Choral Conducting from The University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1993 where she studied with Drs. Eph Ehly and Charles Robinson. She holds a Masters of Music Education degree from Wichita State University and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Dr. Pence was the Choral Director at Neosho High School in Neosho, Missouri from 1983-1989. She is active in ACDA, has chaired the Southern Division Youth and Student Activities Committee, and the SW Missouri High School Division in 1987-1989. She is also a member of MENC, NATS, and Pi Kappa Lamda. Dr. Pence is the Music Minister at Highland Park Baptist Church. She is active as an adjudicator, and clinician/festival conductor in the midwest and the southeast.

Contact Dr. Pence at pence@austin.utexas.edu

Dr. B. Glenn Chandler

Choral Literature and Graduate Mentor

Glenn Chandler

B. Glenn Chandler is Professor of Music Theory and Fellow to the Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Fine Arts. He holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal music education from Samford University, a master’s in sacred music from the Baptist Seminary in Louisville, and a PhD in music theory from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He held a Post-doctoral Fellowship in the Department of Music at Yale University and was appointed a Visiting Scholar in the School of Music at Cambridge University.

In 1972 he was appointed to the faculty of Central Connecticut State University and served as Chair of the Department of Music from 1981 to 1993. From 1994 to 2001 he was Professor of Music and Director of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at The University of Memphis. In 2001 he was named Director of the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin, where he is also held the Florence Thelma Hall Centennial Chair in Music from 2001 to 2012. Under his leadership the Butler School has expanded its curriculum, created new centers of excellence, established an extensive international exchange programs, raised the school’s profile both nationally and internationally, and developed the largest endowment of any public university school of music in America.

Chandler is a Jean-Philippe Rameau scholar having translated his second treatise,Nouveau système de musique théorique and published in numerous journals. Throughout his career he has presented at regional, national and international conferences, such as the Society for Music Theory, NASM Annual Conference, and the Association of European Conservatories. Last May he was invited to deliver a paper on Rameau at a conference in Athens, Greece and recently was selected to give a paper at a conference in Istanbul in May 2016.

He has conducted choral groups throughout his career, including regional and all-state festival in different states. He has served as adjudicator, guest conductor, consultant and guest speaker for various organizations and events throughout his career.  He was elected President of Connecticut Music Educators Association and was appointed to the Executive Committee of the national Music Educators National Conference. In Tennessee he served as President of the Tennessee Association of Music Administrator and In Texas he served on the Executive Board of the Texas Association of Music Schools where he chaired the General Music Commission. He is an accreditation evaluator for the National Association of Schools of Music, having chaired the accreditation evaluation committee for dozens of music schools across the country. He was twice elected to the Commission of the National Association of Schools of Music.

Contact Dr. Chandler at bgchandler@austin.utexas.edu

Cristian Cantu

DMA in Choral Conducting
Administrative Assistant to the Director
High School Events Coordinator

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A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Cristian Cantu began his professional music studies at the Baltimore School for the Arts prior to earning his Bachelor of the Arts degree from Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia, graduating cum laude, where he studied under Constantina Tsolainou and performed in the school’s top collegiate large and chamber ensembles as a horn player and tenor participating in national and regional conferences such as GMEA and CBDNA. Cristian is currently earning his Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Texas at Austin, under the instruction of Dr. James Morrow, where he performs in the UT Chamber Singers, and The Bach Cantata Project.

Cristian has held conducting and organ scholarships with St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Columbus, GA under the instruction of Choirmaster–Organist Rick McKnight, and is the Artistic Director and Founder of Austin Cantorum, a new chamber choir based in Austin, Texas that focuses on bringing new European choral compositions and those works underrepresented by Western music history into the traditional choir performance, while constructing an organic and effective musical narrative.

In addition to directing Austin Cantorum, Cristian is also a vocal artist with the San Antonio Chamber ChoirAustin Baroque Orchestra, Texas Early Music Project, Texas Bach Festival, and St. David’s Episcopal Church Choirs. Additionally, Cristian is on the board of the Central Texas Choral Consortium as Webmaster and Secretary. Outside of rehearsal, you can catch Cristian enjoying a latte at one of his favorite local coffee shops, or having a glass of wine and good food with friends.

Contact Cristian at cristiancan2@utexas.edu

Rachel Davis

MM in Choral Conducting

Rachel Davis is currently pursuing the Masters of Music degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Texas at Austin, under the instruction of Dr. James Morrow. Originally from New Orleans, Ms. Davis began her musical career studying piano before entering the world of vocal music. She has since acquired almost a decade of private vocal study under many instructors including Dr. Alissa Rowe, Kay Schepker, Dr. Stephen Rushing, and master class instructor Gwyneth Walker. with more than fifteen years of piano performance under her belt, as well as extended vocal study, Ms. Davis now starts her journey towards becoming a choral director. She received her Bachelors of Music degree in Music Education from Southeastern Louisiana University, graduating summa cum laude. During her time at the university, Ms. Davis served as the Choral Librarian for the vocal department. In 2016, Ms. Davis had the privilege of directing a portion of the Southeastern Concert Choir performance “Angels and Demons”. She has also served as guest conductor to many local events in southern Louisiana, including Southeastern’s annual Honor Choir day, where high school students from around the state come to learn and perfect audition pieces for LMEA and LA-ACDA conferences. Ms Davis primarily studied conducting with Dr. Alissa Rowe, Dr. Kenneth Fulton, Amy Prats, and Chuck Effler.

In recent years, Ms. Davis has spent much of her time performing professionally with Southeastern Louisiana University’s Opera Program, as well as the Vonnie Borden Theatre Program. She has been involved in productions such as Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, Offenbach’s La Perichole, Mozart’s Le Nozza di Figaro, and Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. In 2015, Ms. Davis performed one of the lead roles in the premiere of High and Mighty, a new musical written by Donna Gay Anderson for the Southeastern Louisiana University theatre program. Most recently, Ms. Davis took on the lead role of Desiree Armfeldt in Southeastern Opera Program’s production of A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim.

Although she thoroughly enjoys performing, Ms. Davis is ready to devote her time fully to her conducting career. She is excited to continue her musical journey at the University of Texas at Austin, and cannot wait to explore more of this Beautiful city!

Contact Rachel at rachel.davis@utexas.edu

Steven J. Knell

DMA in Choral Conducting
Graduate Assistant Conductor, Chamber Singers


Conductor and composer Steven J. Knell is pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Texas at Austin and is the founder and artistic director of echo, a professional chamber choir based in Salt Lake City and Atlanta. He most recently served as the Emerging Artist in Residence in Choral Directing at the Pennsylvania State University-Altoona, as well as on the faculty of the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. Mr. Knell received his Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Georgia and his Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Utah. A versatile choral and orchestral conductor, Steve has also conducted the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the orchestra of the Conductor’s Retreat at Medomak. Mr. Knell, exercising his passionate advocacy for new music, has led premieres of several new choral and instrumental pieces. Mr. Knell also has a background in the education of young musicians, and has served as music director for numerous productions at the University of Utah’s Youth Theatre as well as a music instructor and teacher during the organization’s summer program.

Contact Steve at stevejknell@gmail.com

Iain Sturrock

DMA in Choral Conducting

Iain Sturrock has been performing and composing music since childhood. He has been grateful to pursue these passions across the United States as a guest clinician and conductor, commissioned composer, and vocalist, as well as throughout South American and Europe as conductor and performer. Iain’s conducting background is colorful and diverse, having led children’s choirs, professional chamber groups, collegiate choirs, full orchestras, and everything in between. Iain has been privileged to receive several awards and honors both for his compositions and performances, and has had the honor of working with renowned conductors in masterclass and workshop settings. Iain holds degrees in voice performance and choral conducting from Temple University, Philadelphia, where he conducted several choirs, taught conducting, and performed regularly with many of Philadelphia’s prestigious ensembles. Iain hopes to continue to use the power of music as an agent for social change.

Contact Iain at iain.sturrock@gmail.com