The Mendelssohn Choir Appoints Daniel Singer as Music Director

The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh is delighted to announce that Daniel Singer has joined the organization as the new Robert Page Music Director, succeeding Matthew Mehaffey after his seven-season tenure. Daniel brings a wealth of experience, creativity, and passion for choral music to this role. 

Get to Know Daniel

Daniel has been conducting with the Cleveland Orchestra since 2012, where he serves as Assistant Director of Choruses and Director of the Youth Chorus. He has prepared choruses to perform under the batons of acclaimed orchestral conductors and alongside world-renowned musicians. As Chorus Director for Cleveland’s Contemporary Youth Orchestra, he readied singers to perform alongside rock icons Melissa Etheridge and Tommy Shaw. Daniel has a passion for music education, having taught high school as well as college students. He has performed professionally with Quire Cleveland, Apollo’s Fire (Cleveland), The Lakeside Singers (Chicago), and as a baritone soloist in recitals and orchestral performances. He is also an arranger and composer, having written for choral and instrumental groups throughout the United States. 

No stranger to Pittsburgh, Daniel has visited our city frequently over the past decade. “My husband is a violinist, and he lived in Pittsburgh and performed here often before we met,” Daniel shares. “I’ve come into town to visit friends and see the PSO, and I’ve become enamored with the city.” Daniel notes that former Mendelssohn Choir Music Directors Betsy Burleigh and the late Robert Page also conducted with the Cleveland Orchestra Choruses. “There’s a lot of shared tradition between the two cities, and I’m excited to see not only what I can bring from my experience, but also what I can learn here in Pittsburgh.” 

A Career Built on a Lifelong Love of Music

Daniel says music was “always” present in his house growing up. “Not in a professional sense,” Daniel clarifies, adding with a laugh, “My father can’t carry a tune, but he loves to sing. Both of my parents fostered a love of artists like Neil Young, the Beatles, and Carole King, who put care and artistry into their words. I think that’s why to this day, I gravitate toward music with meaningful text.” 

He credits family and teachers with cultivating his skill for music at a young age, sparking early enthusiasm that led to his career as a choral conductor. He took piano lessons, sang in student choirs, and in high school, he was a drum major and even started learning to conduct. “One day, my high school chorus director told me confidently, ‘It’s great that you love all of these different ways of making music, but you’re a choral director.’ She saw that I cared deeply about text, harmony, and the connection that happens in ensemble singing, even before I saw those things in myself. We still keep in touch, and I’ve thanked her gratuitously for that moment.” 

A Sneak Peek at Daniel’s First Season

As he dives into his first season with the Mendelssohn Choir, Daniel says he is excited to explore new artistic possibilities. “It was clear during my audition process that this chorus is open to seeing where we can go next,” he shares. “In an organization with such a rich history, it’s encouraging that the tone is not, ‘Stick to the way it’s always been,’ but rather, ‘Take the reins and see what happens.’” 

He’ll soon begin preparing our singers for 2023-24 performances with Manfred Honeck and the PSO, including Brahms’ Requiem and Beethoven’s Ninth. “I can’t think of a better piece to start with than Brahms’ Requiem. From a vocal perspective, it has technical depth I’m excited for us to work on, but it’s also so deeply moving,” he says. “And Beethoven’s Ninth has an uplifting quality that is especially poignant coming out of the pandemic. These are great pieces to help me get to know the chorus and our partnership with the PSO.” Additionally, he’s looking forward to the Mendelssohn Choir’s spring self-produced concert, with repertoire he hopes will “future-proof” the chorus. “These are incredibly talented singers, so I’m selecting works that will expand their boundaries even further and prepare them for any challenges our artistic partners could bring to the table,” he says.

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