Ars Musica is delighted to have engaged Dusty Francis as our new Music Director, following his tenure as Assistant Conductor during the 2012–2013 season. Dusty’s passion for leading community choruses began with his training and work as a music educator in Cincinnati; it grew through his time conducting community, church, and university choruses in the Washington, DC area, while he was earning his Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Maryland. Concurrent with his position as the Music Director of Ars Musica, Dusty serves as Organist/Choirmaster at All Saints Episcopal Church in nearby Leonia, NJ.
Having already gotten to know Ars Musica members in rehearsal and performance, he formed a positive opinion of the group. In his words, “Ars Musica has a distinguished history of artistic excellence spanning nearly fifty years. I’m honored to have been entrusted with the responsibility of promoting and shaping the musical life of the ensemble in my new role as Music Director.”
When not on the conducting podium, Dusty can often be found singing with some of the country’s finest professional choral ensembles, including the Tucson Chamber Artists, the Atlanta-based Skylark Vocal Ensemble, and the Washington Master Chorale. A supporter of both new and American music, Dusty has commissioned, conducted, sung, and recorded new works of many talented American composers and can be heard on two albums of American choral music by the Tucson Chamber Artists and the Washington Master Chorale; both albums will be released this fall. This interest will be on display at Ars Musica’s March concert, American Voices, an evening dedicated exclusively to the works of American composers.
When the Board of Directors asked Dusty why he wanted to be our new conductor, he replied, “One of the things that has most impressed me about Ars Musica is the tangible sense of community at every rehearsal, performance, and event I’ve attended. One can’t help but notice that the ensemble members’ commitment to the music is matched by their commitment to their fellow singers. Not every choir (nor every conductor) is so lucky.”
He added, “After reading Ars Musica’s mission statement, I knew that I had found an excellent match. The organization’s commitment to its audience, its members, and its community through diverse, high-quality programming and education reads like a statement of my personal philosophy. It’s such a treat to find an organization whose goals are one’s own—whose passions are one’s own. I’m very excited to pursue these mutual interests together.”
We look forward to a rewarding experience together with Maestro Dusty Francis and to sharing his joy of choral music.