New leader for master chorale emphasizes continuity | Music

“Continuity” is the keyword for Master Chorale of Flagstaff’s newly appointed musical director Tom Peterson.

He will follow the one-year tenure of Matthew Myers, who has departed to pursue post graduate studies in choral music in Louisiana.

“Coming into this role, it was obvious to me that there was already a strong community in place – in terms of board leadership, the ensemble’s place in the community, and the musicianship of the ensemble built up by Dr. (Edith) Copley and, last year, Matt,” Peterson said. “In light of that, my approach to programming the first year was to keep it familiar — frankly, to not get in the way of what was already working.”

Like Myers, he recognizes the challenge of filling large shoes, following the nearly two-decade tenure of Copley as leader of the community choral ensemble.

Profiled on the Master Chorale website, Peterson is a conductor, composer, and countertenor currently completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting at the University of Arizona. He has served as music director at Christ Church of the Ascension in Paradise Valley since 2013, and just completed two years as music director of the Green Valley Community Chorus.

When asked about his more recent turn to choral conducting in a career with an initial primary emphasis on composition, he recalled early experiences singing in choirs led by his father. Of equal importance has been the influence of the English/Anglican choral tradition that he experienced during studies at the Royal College of Music in London.

Peterson is an Arizona native, and he earned a bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition from Arizona State University, followed by a master’s degree in composition and conducting from the Royal College of Music. Now, he says, when he’s not behind a keyboard or a music stand, he…

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