WCC Artistic Director Robert Gehrenbeck is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, where he conducts the UWW Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, and opera and musical theatre productions. Since 2008 Gehrenbeck has served as Artistic Director of the Madison-based Wisconsin Chamber Choir, leading that ensemble in critically acclaimed performances of choral-orchestral masterworks as well as innovative programs featuring familiar and rarely heard a cappella works. He is a sought-after choral clinician, and his choirs have been invited to perform at state and regional conferences and in Europe.
As a singer, Gehrenbeck has appeared with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, Boston’s Cantata Singers, New York State Baroque, and the Bloomington Early Music Festival. He is recognized as an authority on eighteenth-century performance practice, German Romantic choral music, and contemporary music. A committed advocate on behalf of living composers, he has conducted world premieres by Peter Bloesch, Stephen Chatman, Brent Michael Davids, Christian Ellenwood, Wayne Oquin, Judith Shatin, Giles Swayne, and Yehuda Yannay. Gehrenbeck’s doctoral dissertation on British composer Swayne received the Julius Herford Prize from the American Choral Directors Association in 2007, and his article on Swayne’s Dolorosa appeared in the December, 2012 issue of the Choral Journal.
Gehrenbeck’s teachers have included John Poole, David Hoose, and J. Michele Edwards (conducting); Mary Ann Hart, Costanza Cuccaro, and Emma Small (voice); and J. Peter Burkholder, Don Franklin, and Thomas Mathiesen (musicology). His own teaching was recognized by the College of Arts and Communication Excellence in Teaching Award at UW-Whitewater in 2011. Dr. Gehrenbeck holds degrees from Macalester College, Boston University, and Indiana University, with additional studies at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Conservatory in Leipzig, Germany.
Organist and Rehearsal Pianist Mark Brampton Smith holds degrees in Organ Performance from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan. Currently the organist at Grace Episcopal Church, Mark has served on the music staff of churches in seven states. A prize winner in several national organ competitions, he has given solo concerts in numerous churches and auditoriums, including Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts. As a collaborative pianist, Mark has worked with singers, instrumentalists, and ensembles, including the Ann Arbor Cantata Singers, University of Michigan choirs, Colgate University Chorus, and, since 2012, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir.