Bio

Joshua Harper is associate professor of Choral Music and Director of Choral Activities at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. At Yavapai, Joshua directs the Chamber Singers, Master Chorale, Vocal Ensemble, and Community Chorale. Joshua also serves as Music Director for musical productions such as Phantom of the Opera (2019) and Chicago (2020). At the college, he teaches courses in Advanced Integrated Theory, Music Appreciation and Class Voice while also maintaining a private voice studio. He is a sought after clinician and guest conductor, and regularly brings the Yavapai Ensembles out into the community of the greater Prescott area. During July 2020, Joshua will travel to New Zealand to attend The World Symposium on Choral Music as a featured performer. 

Joshua comes to YC by way of Bloomington, Indiana and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he was the conductor of the University Chorale and All Campus Chorus, as well as Assistant Conductor for NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble and Associate Chorus Master for IU Opera Theater.  While at IU, Harper assisted and prepared choruses for conductors such as Franz Welser-Möst, Arthur Fagen, Michael Christie, Betsy Burleigh, and Dominick DiOrio. He also assisted in preparing the 170-member Oratorio Chorus for Krzysztof Penderecki's "St. Luke Passion" which was attended by the composer. Harper also taught courses in Conducting to undergraduate students. During his time in Indiana, Harper gave the world premiere of four new works and regional premiers of six other works. Harper can be found on Parma Recordings 2019 release Preach, Sister, Preach featuring soprano Kathryn Jolly, where he conducted the premiere recording of Kathryn Bodor’s Absent an Adjustment. He is in the final stages of completing his D.Mus in Choral Conducting, where he studied with Dominick DiOrio, Betsy Burleigh, Walter Huff, and Carolann Buff. 

In January 2016, he made his Canadian debut as one of the five conductors in North America invited to participate in the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir's "Emerging Conductor Symposium" where he conducted the Grammy nominated Elora Festival Singers and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, studying under Noel Edison. Joshua was selected as a Conducting Fellow at the Yale University Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in 2015 studying with Simon Carrington, where he also sang as a tenor. He previously sang with the ensemble the summer before in 2014, being awarded an Ellen Battell-Stoeckel Fellowship.

Prior academic appointments include his 2013-2016 tenure as Director of Choirs at the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts where he held the George E. Gregory and Catherine B. Gregory Instructorship. At Williston, Joshua doubled the size of the choral program in just three years, overseeing five choirs of 140 students. He brought in ensembles ranging from Roomful of Teeth to The Whiffenpoofs. From 2014-2019 Harper served on the faculty of The Putney School's Summer Arts Program where he conducted the Vocal Ensemble and taught songwriting and composition workshops alongside working with the school's a capella group and musical theater evening workshop. 

In May 2013 Joshua completed his Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting on a full scholarship under Tony Thornton at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. At UMass, Joshua nearly doubled the size of the Women's Choir over his first year thanks to innovative programming, exciting concert experiences, and collaborative rehearsal techniques. He also conducted the Recital Choir and University Chorale. Joshua led the UMass Lab Orchestra in Spring 2013 and in the same semester was selected to be the Assistant Conductor for the University Opera program under Maestra Teresa Cheung and Professor Amy Johnson. 

Trained first as a singer, Joshua has sung an extensive range of vocal literature and appeared as a soloist with NOTUS, Lipscomb A Cappella Singers and the UMass Chamber Choir. Previously, he sang with the Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble based in the Pioneer Valley and Novi Cantori of Greater Springfield. Joshua sang with the Grammy award-winning Nashville Symphony Chorus for three seasons and has been featured as a soloist with the ensemble. He has sung under conductors such as Sir Neville Marriner, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Hollingworth, Eamonn Dougan, Giancarlo Guerrero, and George Mabry.

As a composer, his pieces have been performed by the Williston Male Concert Choir, Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts Chorale, Lipscomb A Cappella Singers, the Lipscomb Chamber Choir, the Lipscomb New Music Ensemble, Hartsbrook High School A Cappella, as well as the TGSFTA Faculty Artists. His scholarly edition of Franz Schubert's "Die Ensiedelei" is published by Colla Voce Music, LLC and was featured on the company's reading session at the 2015 National ACDA Conference in Salt Lake City.

A powerful advocate for new music, Joshua commissioned and premiered works of new composers for both orchestra and chorus while at UMass and continues to commission and program new music in each of his concerts. He premiered an original work by 2017 American Prize Winner Matthew Recio on his first Doctoral Recital in September 2017, along with regional premiers of five other works in the 2017-2018 season. He has presented at MMEA State Conference, both in 2014, 2015, and 2016, leading the conference's High School Choral Reading Session. 

Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, Joshua completed his Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude) with a double major in Vocal Performance and Music Composition/Theory at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he held the Irma Lee Batey Voice Scholarship all four years. He studied with Jerome Reed, Gary Wilson, and Patricia Roberts.


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