August 23, 2011 — Michael Slon, a professor on the music faculty in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences and conductor of the University Singers and Chamber Singers, will serve as interim music director for The Oratorio Society of Virginia for the upcoming season.
Slon will lead the chorus while it searches for a permanent music director to be named for the 2012-13 season.
According to longtime Oratorio chorus member Kirk Dunklee, himself a choral director, "Michael Slon has proven to be an outstanding choral director in his work with the U.Va. choral ensembles. His polished performances demonstrate great attention to diction, musical nuance, projection and tonal quality. This attention to detail creates an audience appeal that is not always experienced in today's concert world."
Slon said, "I am looking forward to making music with the Oratorio Society and to connecting with singers across our community."
He encouraged anyone who might be interested in choral singing to audition at the Charlottesville Municipal Arts Center, 1119 5th St. Southwest, on Sept. 7 and Sept. 15, from 7 to 10 p.m. both days.
Slon is no stranger to the group; he gave a pre-concert lecture for the most recent concert in May when the Oratorio Society performed "The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace." He has also served as guest conductor for the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra, and as conductor for "South Pacific" and "The Magic Flute" with the Ash Lawn Opera Festival and the Heritage Theater Festival's "The Light in the Piazza" by Guettel and Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park with George."
Oratorio Society President Marc Johnson noted, "We feel very fortunate to have someone of Michael Slon's stature on board for the coming season and are excited about the enthusiasm he demonstrates and that he is inspiring in so many of our singers."
As visiting conducting faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory and assistant conductor of Cincinnati's May Festival Chorus, Slon has prepared choruses for concerts with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. His ensembles have worked with artists including Moses Hogan, Bobby McFerrin, Meredith Wonk and Franz Welser-Möst. In 2006-07, he was named a member of U.Va.'s Mead Honored Faculty, an award recognizing outstanding faculty mentors.
Slon holds degrees from the Indiana University School of Music and Cornell University, where he was named a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Recently, he participated in the Oregon Bach Festival, conducting a master class where he studied with Helmuth Rilling and other distinguished musicians. He is a pianist as well as conductor.
His first book, "Songs from the Hill: A History of the Cornell University Glee Club" was published in 1998 and he is currently at work on a Leonard Bernstein project.
The Oratorio Society of Virginia, founded in 1968, is affiliated with U.Va.'s McIntire Department of Music and is a member of the Piedmont Council for the Arts, Chorus America and the Center for Nonprofit Excellence. Concerts are supported by the singers, audiences and by donations from both businesses and individuals. For information about the Oratorio Society, visit www.oratoriosociety.org.