Director of Choral Studies and Professor of Music at The University of Akron, Dr. Samuel Gordon has been actively engaged in both singing and conducting careers in this country and abroad. He was the tenor in the National Gallery of Art Vocal Arts Quartet from 1985 to 2003, also enjoying a choral conducting residency there from 1988 to 1996. He has performed concerts of vocal chamber music with the Vocal Arts Quartet at the Louvre in Paris and at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna.
He is the recipient of the Studio Lauda Award at the International Early Music Festival in Zadar, Yugoslavia and is the first prize winner (in several categories) at the prestigious Concorso Polifonico "Guido d'Arezzo (Italy); the International Musical Eisteddfod (Wales); as well as the Welsh National Eisteddfod. He was the first American to win the Welsh competition and his ensembles sang in Welsh at the festival. Laureate of the Fiat Conducting Prize, he was also given the Trimillenial Medal by the city of Cadiz, Spain and the Bronze Horreo in Orviedo, Spain.
Performances at international festivals have included: The Salzburg Festival; The Rheingau Musik Festival; The Bregenz International Festival; The Llubljana Festival; Mozaik (Yugoslavia); The Flanders Festival; The Holland Festival; the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds (Italy); the Ambler Festival; and The Haydn Festival of a Lifetime at the Kennedy Center. He has performed for the BBC, Eurovision, and National Radio and Television of Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark and Sweden. As guest conductor, he has led the Taipei Philharmonic, The Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, The National Gallery of Art Orchestra, the Perugia Chamber Orchestra, the Canton Symphony, and has been featured soloist with the orchestras of Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, St. Louis, the National Gallery of Art, El Paso, and the National Symphony. During the 2004-05 season he was guest conductor of the internationally acclaimed National Gallery of Art Orchestra where he conducted Benjamin Britten's rarely performed Nocturnes along with his Simple Symphony. He returns next season to the NGA next season to conduct that orchestra and The University of Akron Choir.
He has been guest clinician for The American Guild of Organists, Music Educator's National Conference, and has led workshops and festival choirs in thirty-five states, Europe, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, St. Thomas (Virgin Islands), the Bahamas, Morocco, Taiwan, and the Caribbean. In July of 2006, Dr. Gordon and The University of Akron Choir were finalists in the Seghizzi International Choral Competition in Gorizia, Italy. They returned with a first prize. Also in 2006, he conducted the Mozart Coronation Mass with over 300 singers from 13 countries along with the Salzburg Dom Orchestra at the Salzburg Cathedral as part of the International Mozart Birthday Celebration in that city. During that visit The University of Akron Choir performed at the famed Mozarteum in Salzburg.
In 2001 he founded Corofes Italia, an international choral festival based in Assisi, Italy. Dr. Gordon has been a member of the international jury for the Anglo-International Festival (Coventry, England), Concerts at Sea, and the Festival of the Americas (Nassau, Bahamas) and has been invited to join choral juries in Taiwan and Hongkong in 2007. He is the Artistic Director of The Singer's Company, a professional chamber choir, and VOCI, a community choir based in Canton, Ohio. In 2006 The Santa Fe Women's Ensemble, Santa Fe, NM, premiered his Motets for the Ladymass and in 2007 he will be composer-in-residence for that ensemble. He is Artistic Director of Corofest Italia, a music festival based in Assisi, Italy. The festival will mark its third edition in 2007. Dr. Gordon has also served as a member of the faculty of The Assisi Music Festival. He has recorded for Koch International Classics and Telarc International and has his own choral music series with The National Music Publishers where he has published over 20 of his choral compositions. His works have been premiered at the National Gallery of Art and the Kennedy Center, both in Washington, D.C. The Washington Post cited his Noel as "the highlight of the program" when the Washington Choral Society sang it at the Kennedy Center.
"The choral plenum was well-placed and their ability to handle a wide range of dynamics was amply demonstrated. The chorus obviously enjoyed their sound m'langes which were punctuated by percussive explosions." Felix Powell's Colum (world premiere) The Baltimore Sun
"...Christmas concert a thrilling one!...it was in the glorious choruses that this work really shines...wonderfully powerful praises to God, that nearly overwhelm the listener. In these, the chorus excelled...." Vaughan Williams' Hodie The Mendelssohn Choir and the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, Samuel Gordon, Guest Conductor
The Inquirer, Philadelphia
"The terrific writing for sopranos sounded so easy that it seemed a natural aspect of the symphony. The choir's dynamic range and its flexibility in drooping to a whisper buoyed the whole performance." Beethoven, Symphony No. 9 Choral concert with the Pittsburgh Symphony at the Ambler Festival The Inquirer, Philadelphia
"Seldom have I heard choral singing so homogeneous in sound, so differentiated in expression and so balanced in musicality, nor am I able to name ' at least without some reflection ' a university choir of equal caliber on European soil. We have never experienced anything like this in our church and we hope these singers return one day."
Der Weg and Neue Rhein Zeitung, Wuppertal, Germany
"The choirs sang beautifully, with power, clear diction and secure intonation, and the sopranos, in particular, stayed well in tune even in the highest registers....conductor, players and singers have to sustain a highly charged atmosphere throughout the piece, and the assembled forces had no problem doing this last night...maintained good balances between the chorus and orchestra and infused the score with a sense of drama..."
Symphony No. 9, Beethoven with the Baltimore Symphony The Sun, Baltimore
"The cathedral of Oviedo was the scene of what is now a much celebrated concert...it was their first trip to Spain and we hope it will not be their last!" La nueva Espana, Oviedo, Spain
"Beautiful concert greeted with much enthusiasm...the sonorous applause was present from the first selection to the last and the group was asked to repeat several selections." Diario de Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain
"....a diverse and interesting program was presented...the broad palette of repertoire tested the finest of choirs and this one met every test the repertoire provided...the choir demonstrated exceptional dynamic control over a full range of dynamics which included some of the most opulent, full singing I have ever heard from a choir....the young singers understood the dramatic intent of each selection and sang with wonderful sensitivity...those who attended registered enthusiastic approval by long and warm applause..." Neue Zeitung, Bregenz International Music Festival
"...I was deeply moved, electrified....an unforgettable evening!" Kasler Zeitung Hessishced Allegemeinde, Kassel, Germany
"15th century music brought to life...the singers (Harmonia Sacra Series) were fine in tone, brisk in pacing and properly serious for the First Vespers portion of DuFay's Recollection of the Feasts of the Virgin Mary....that's the 500-year-old forgotten chant recovered in 1985 in dusty Cambrai, France....and restored to today's musical world. The score was surely worth all the trouble...Gordon's conducting moved up and down in fluid, often unbroken motion...the singer's were fine. Gordon cleverly added some of DuFay's other more famous output...and it became an 18-minutes sampling of both the newly found simpler melody recitation and the polyphonic or multi-voiced score."
The Sun, Baltimore
"...the singers made the place feel like an intimate cathedral, with singing of unfailingly beautiful tone and complete charm."
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
"Gordon is one of the great choral conductors..." Sur, Madrid, Spain
"Ensemble's good start with music of Americas....they comprise a highly disciplined, cohesive ensemble that is responsive to words and expressive subtleties. Gordon and his singers breathe as one. They have made a good start. Gordon has established warm blends, true pitch and smoothness of vocal motion. One line in Gordon's text provides a glimmer into his musical philosophy: 'Major, minor, textures pure, tonal language, fragile, sure.'
Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer Music Critic