Cincinnatian Matthew Phelps returns home to run choral/orchestral organization
Collegium Cincinnati and its board of directors announced this week that Matthew Phelps has been named the organization’s new artistic director and chief executive officer. Phelps will take over the organization from founder Christopher Eanes, who left for an administrative position in Washington D.C. prior to the pandemic.
“I am honored to be leading Collegium Cincinnati into a new era of excellence in audience and community engagement,” said Phelps. “The artists that make up the core of Collegium Cincinnati are some of the best musicians in the city. I am grateful for their trust and am excited to return to my hometown and make music with these wonderful friends and colleagues.”
With his appointment, Phelps brings a vision for Collegium that includes core repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, but also contemporary music.
“Whether it is our annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, or our chamber music programs that highlight unique treasures, Collegium Cincinnati is renowned throughout the region for offering our audiences inspiring musical opportunities. We will endeavor to present both old and new music to make the community a better place and enrich the lives of our patrons and supporters.”
A native of Cincinnati, Phelps is currently music director of West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, TN, and the founder and artistic director of the professional chamber choir, Vocal Arts Nashville. He is an award-winning conductor (2015 recipient of the American Award in Choral Conducting) and a sought-after pianist and chamber musician specializing in contemporary music, trio repertoire, and classical improvisation. He received a doctorate in choral conducting from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and is a part-time resident of Over-the-Rhine.
“As a native Cincinnatian, we were excited by his vision to develop diverse local talent and enrich the local cultural scene,” said Michael Unger, one of Collegium Cincinnati’s core musicians and a member of the committee who executed the search. “He is enthusiastic and passionate about a wide variety of repertoire from Baroque standards to recently-composed undiscovered gems. We are deeply excited about his commitment and enthusiasm to bringing Collegium Cincinnati to the next stage of its existence. He promises to be a gift for our organization and the greater Cincinnati artistic community.”
Phelps’s appointment begins immediately with the shaping of Collegium Cincinnati’s 2022-2023 season. His first concert with the ensemble will be the ensemble’s annual performance of Handel’s Messiah on Dec. 4 at Christ Church Cathedral, downtown.