Mel Kirby, Artistic Director & Conductor
Mel Kirby brings to The Festival Chorus over 30 years of professional experience as a performer, teacher, conductor and highly respected member of the Calgary music community. He has served as Artistic Director of The Festival Chorus since 1991, conducting performances of major works with orchestra by J.S. Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and Brahms. Under his leadership the Chorus, now in its 53rd season, has assumed a role as a major choral force in the city and displayed what the Calgary Herald described as “a new professionalism in programming”. His experience also includes five seasons as Conductor of the Calgary Bach Festival Society and two seasons at the helm of the Civic Symphony. He has been on the staffs of the University of Calgary Music Department, the Banff Centre’s Music Theatre Program, and Mount Royal University.
At the present time, he is Coordinator of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Development Program, overseeing the post-graduate training and transition to a professional working career of young Canadian singers. Mel Kirby is a Bachelor’s graduate of the University of Calgary and a Master’s graduate of the University of Illinois. Described by the Calgary Herald as the “always excellent” recital accompanist, he has performed with vocal and instrumental soloists in Western Canada, the United States, and Germany, and recorded for the C.B.C.
Colleen Athparia, Chorus Accompanist & Assistant Conductor