After seven seasons, Robert Page Music Director Matthew Mehaffey will end his tenure with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (MCP) at the conclusion of the 2022-2023 season. During his seven seasons with the choir, Mehaffey expanded its reach through compelling storytelling, unconventional collaborations and impactful community partnerships. Mehaffey’s farewell concert will be The Notebooks of Leonardo DaVinci on May 20, 2023, by his friend, composer Jocelyn Hagen, which will take place at the Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center.
Mehaffey, a native Pittsburgher, became MCP’s music director in 2016. During his time with the choir, he has engaged singers and audiences in dramatic choral storytelling, such as the re-telling of the story of Anne Frank in Annelies and the Underground Railroad in Let My People Go. He has also challenged the organization to explore new forms of relevancy by working with composers such as Steven Hackman and Stewart Copeland to bring their visions to life on the stages of rock venues. These types of performances gave MCP greater visibility beyond its traditional classical music base and built a reputation of innovative risk-taking for the centenarian organization.
By embracing partnerships with a wide range of arts and civic organizations, from City of Asylum, to VocalEssence of Minnesota, to Mr. Smalls to Ebenezer Baptist Church, Mehaffey sought to introduce choral music to new audiences. At the same time, he continued to cultivate the standard of excellence for which MCP is known, particularly in its performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra – including a Grammy-nominated recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
“My work with the Mendelssohn Choir has been one of the great joys of my personal and professional life,” said Mehaffey. “As a Pittsburgh native, I’m delighted to have had the chance to come back to my hometown and create music here. It’s been a dream come true. The singers, the members of our board, our partners at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra—they are the best of the best. It’s been an honor to collaborate with them.”
Mehaffey is stepping down from the position of Music Director of the Mendelssohn Choir to assume the role of Director of Choral Activities at the University of Minnesota. There he will lead a comprehensive program of six choirs and lead a studio of graduate students pursuing Master’s and Doctoral degrees in conducting.