We’ve been hard at work in the search for our new Artistic Director, and we are excited to announce that our top three candidates will be featured as Guest Conductors in our Fall 2022 concerts, coordinated by Interim Artistic Director Dr. Kim Childs.
We’re pleased to introduce Zachary Malavolti, Artistic Director of the Bartlesville Chorale and Associate Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Tulsa; Ben Spalding, Founder and Artistic Director of Kansas City’s Spire Chamber Ensemble and Baroque Orchestra; and Jeffery Wall, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at Northeastern State University and Artistic Director of Vox Solaris. Read their full bios below.
Stay tuned for details on our 2022-2023 concert season coming soon! You won’t want to miss these performances and the opportunity to see the future of Tulsa Chorale take shape.
Zachary Malavolti is the Artistic Director of the Bartlesville Chorale and the Associate Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Tulsa. Since 2014, he has directed and prepared musicians throughout Oklahoma for performances with the Tulsa Chorale, Tulsa Symphony, OKC Philharmonic, OK Mozart Festival, and The University of Oklahoma. Before returning to Tulsa, he was the Assistant Conductor for The Collegiate Chorale in New York City where he assisted in preparing the symphonic chorus for performances around the world with esteemed conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Charles Dutoit, and Alan Gilbert.
Malavolti is a graduate of The University of Tulsa (BM) where he was a prize-winning composition student under Joseph Rivers and Roger Price, the Bard Conservatory of Music (MM) where he studied both choral and orchestral conducting with James Bagwell and Harold Farberman, and completed his doctorate at The University of Oklahoma (DMA) under the supervision of Richard Zielinski and David Howard. His research is on colonial American choral music and its later use by the twentieth-century American composer Henry Cowell.
Ben A. Spalding is one of the most exciting professional choral conductors of his generation and has established himself as an exemplary conductor, creative programmer, composer, arranger, keyboard artist, and arts entrepreneur whose skills are increasingly in demand. Hailed for creating “exceptional sonic painting” (Kansas City Star) and “fresh and fiery, grand and grave” (Kansas City Public Radio) concert programs, Spalding is the Founder and Artistic Director of Kansas City’s Spire Chamber Ensemble and Baroque Orchestra, which has quickly gained a national reputation for excellence in choral performances receiving rave reviews for his work with the music of contemporary American composers as well as historically-informed interpretations of Baroque and Classical repertoire. He consistently works with the best choral artists and early music specialists in North America and was recently honored to lead Spire in riveting featured performances at the 2019 National American Choral Directors Convention and 2018 American Guild of Organists National Convention.
A champion of new music, Spalding has a deep commitment to honoring the talents and contributions of contemporary composers by being a catalyst for the creation of new compositions. He has recently directed commissioning projects with Spire giving world-premiere performances of new works by Jake Runestad, Zachary Wadsworth, John Muehleisen, and Sir James MacMillan.
Spalding is also active as a composer, regularly accepting commissions and is known for his creative keyboard and vocal improvisations. His oratorio The Great War Requiem was featured for the opening performance at the 2018 National American Guild of Organists Convention, commissioned in honor of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. He recently recorded the Frank Martin Mass for Double Choir along with his original works, and the music Jake Runestad, Stephen Paulus, and Sir John Tavener to acclaimed success.
He has a particular interest in promoting the music of Johann Sebastian Bach who was the consummate master of polyphony or ‘many voices’ — and this serves as the catalyst for all his musical explorations. He is an established early music leader with a thorough knowledge of performance practices for both modern and period instruments. He recently conducted and produced half of Bach’s sacred cantatas (approximately 100!!!) in one of the first Midwest performance series of its kind featuring the Trinity Chamber Artists, which he also founded. His multiple performances of Bach’s choral-orchestral masterworks, including the Easter Oratorio, B-minor Mass, St. Matthew, and St. John Passions have been lauded for scrupulous attention to detail.
Spalding received undergraduate degrees in voice and piano from Emporia State University and a Master’s Degrees in choral conducting with additional studies in composition from Rowan University. He was a student of renowned conductor and composer Z. Randall Stroope and has also studied conducting and church music with the late Sir David Willcocks in Cambridge, England.
Dr. Jeffery Wall serves as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma where he also served as Chair of the Department of Music for six years. He conducts the University Singers and the University/Community Chorus and supervises the Harmony Hawks, a contemporary a cappella ensemble. He teaches undergraduate conducting among other courses. He was selected as a part of the President’s Ambassadors Network by his colleagues and as a Top-10 RiverHawk by the Student Government Association in 2018.
He came to NSU from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas where he was the Elmer F. Pierson Distinguished Professor of Music. He served as Co-Chair of the Department of Music and Director of Choral/Vocal Activities at Bethany. He conducted several student choirs, and the Bethany Oratorio Society and Orchestra for the annual Messiah Festival of the Arts. Dr. Wall conducted Handel’s Messiah and J.S. Bach’s Passion According to St. Matthew annually. Additionally, he taught choral pedagogy and conducting, applied voice, and other vocal music classes.
Wall has presented interest sessions for the Kansas Choral Directors Association, Oklahoma Music Educators Association, Oklahoma Choral Directors Association, Arkansas Music Educators Association, the College Music Society, and the Southwestern Division of the American Choral Directors Association. He has served as guest conductor and clinician for choirs of all types in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia. He has served the Southwestern Division of ACDA in several capacities: 2020 Performing Group Liaison, 2022 Interest Session Chair, and 2024 Conference Chair. Recently, Dr. Wall led an international tour for the American Celebration of Music in Ireland where his choir was presented with an Outstanding Performance Award. His next major international engagement will be conducting in the Baltic Nations in 2023. Upon invitation, he has twice conducted the NSU choirs as prelude performance for the North Texas Metroplex Children’s Choir at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.
Dr. Wall is in demand as a conductor, teacher, clinician, and adjudicator. He is conductor of the professional-level chamber choir called Vox Solaris, headquartered in Broken Arrow/Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has experience in collegiate, high school, professional, community, and church settings. He has served as a faculty member at Georgia State University in Atlanta and New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, New Mexico. He has also taught public school, grades 7-12 in Lubbock, Texas. He frequently sings with the semi-professional chorus, the Ken Davis Chorale, based out of the Dallas area. Dr. Wall is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, the College Music Society, and several other professional choral and music education organizations.
He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Music Education from Texas Tech University. Dr. Wall received his Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Tennessee. His Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting was earned at the University of South Carolina.