Artistic Staff

Artistic Director — Joan Szymko

Joan SyzmkoJoan Szymko has directed Community Choruses in the Pacific NW for over 30 years and has served as Artistic Director of Aurora Chorus since 1993. She brings to Aurora, extensive experience with women’s voices, expert composing and arranging skills, and a wide exposure to peace and justice repertoire. As with her conducting—Joan’s dedication to craft and artistry, her understanding and respect for the singer, and her insistence on quality texts are all reflected in her choral writing. With over 70 choral octavos in print publication, her choral music is sung by distinguished ensembles across North America and abroad; enjoying performances at international competitions and festivals, at state and regional conferences, and at five consecutive National Conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). The ACDA has recognized Szymko’s lasting contribution to the choral arts by awarding her the prestigious Raymond W. Brock Memorial Commission in 2010. Visit Joan’s website to read more

Accompanist — Kira Whiting

Currently based in Portland, Oregon, collaborative pianist Kira Whiting graduated from Manhattan School of Music in May 2014 with a Master’s in Classical Accompanying with a Vocal Emphasis. Ms. Whiting has participated in masterclasses with Thomas Quasthoff, Martin Katz, Thomas Hampson, Craig Rutenberg, and Roger Vignoles. She has performed several art song recitals in Scandinavia, including a program of American art songs with Norwegian soprano Margrethe Fredheim for a balcony concert at the Oslo Opera House. Ms. Whiting was a semi-finalist in collaboration with Dashon Burton, Bass-Baritone, at the Wigmore Hall International Art Song Competition 2015 in London, UK.


Photo credits: Joan Szymko, © Jeanne Giles; Signe Lusk, © Jacquie Jones