In the 60-plus years since it was founded, Boston’s Chorus pro Musica has only had a handful rise to the rank of leader. Recently Dr. Jamie Kirsch joined the elite group when he was named the chorus’ music director.
Kirsch, a Medford resident since 2009, was named Chorus pro Musica’s sixth music director this past May and has spent the past six months getting settled in his new role. He is “humbled” to join the chorus and become a part of the next chapter in its storied history.
“When a job like this comes about you hope to have a chance of getting it,” said Kirsch. “It’s a special job and a real honor.”
Chorus pro Musica has built a reputation as one of the great choruses of New England. Known for innovative programming and high quality performances, it has collaborated with such famed organizations as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic, Boston Ballet and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Despite this, the decision to accept the coveted position was not an easy one for Kirsch because it meant leaving a job he loved. He spent five years as music director of the Cambridge Community Chorus and is very proud of the work he did there.
“I was extremely torn,” said Kirsch. “It was very difficult to leave.”
Since joining Chorus pro Musica, Kirsch has been overwhelmed by the warm wishes and sense of welcome. He is thoroughly impressed with the level of talent and commitment within the chorus.
“They look to me for leadership, but the truth is the leadership comes from within the group,” said Kirsch. “It’s been a joy.”
It still hits Kirsch every time he walks into the Old South Church, where the chorus practices.
“You kind of pinch yourself after a while…‘this is what you do for a living,’” he said.
Looking ahead, Kirsch said he would like to see the chorus continue to raise money to fund the commission of new works. He would like to see the chorus commission a new work each year.
“Not every chorus is able to commission new pieces,” said Kirsch. “That’s definitely part of our mission we want to continue.”
Celebrating its 65-year anniversary this year, Chorus pro Musica consists of more than 80 highly talented musicians selected by audition. Repertoire consists of choral music from the Renaissance to the present, with emphasis on new and rarely performed choral music, as well as major works in collaboration with other music organizations.
In addition to serving as Chorus pro Musica’s music director, Kirsch is also director of choral activities at Tufts University, where he conducts the Tufts Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and teaches music theory and conducting.
Kirsch believes most people are capable of being taught music, but added for some it’s just innate.
“I think most people are moved by some kind of music,” he said. “I feel lucky to be able to mke my living in music.”
Behind the music
Kirsch’s history with music goes back a long way. Growing up on Long Island, his parents always had music playing in their house. Then, when Kirsch started Kindergarten he had an amazing teacher who urged him to get involved with the chorus.
“I thought he was the coolest thing ever and I wanted to be like him,” he said of the teacher. “(Singing in the chorus) was my favorite thing to do.”
Kirsch got away from the chorus in his later elementary school years and began playing the violin and viola in the school’s orchestra. He also learned to play piano.
When Kirsch got to high school, he joined the chorus.
Kirsch continued to pursue music after high school, too. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in music from Yale University School of Music and his doctorate of music in choral conducting from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
Music was also what brought Kirsch and his future wife, Diana Lemly, MD together after meeting while singing in the choir at Yale. And their daughter, Amelia, 1 1/2, is already showing signs of following in their musical footsteps.
“Our daughter is already musical,” said Kirsch. “She loves music and we have music playing in the house all the time.”
The couple set their sights on Medford when they began the search for their first house. The couple had been living in Somerville’s Davis Square, but wanted a little more room as well as a yard.
The city’s West Medford neighborhood was perfect for them.
Kirsch said they love that Medford is close to Boston and that attractions are within walking distance.
“We lucked out,” he said of finding a house in Medford. “I think we’ll stay in Medford. Our child will guide our decision, but right now we’re very happy.”
IF YOU GO…
Chorus pro Musica will present “Candlelight Christmas at Old South” at Old South Church, 645 Boylston St. in Boston, on Friday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $25, $35 or $45 dollars.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.choruspromusic.org or call 800-658-4276.
Article source: http://www.wickedlocal.com/medford/news/x1467738496/THE-MUSIC-MAN-Medford-resident-Dr-Jamie-Kirsh-named-as-Chorus-pro-Musicas-new-director