Artistic Director & Conductor Matthew Mehaffey
Artistic Director Matthew Mehaffey is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Minnesota, where he conducts the University Singers and Men’s Chorus and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Conducting and Choral Literature. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr. Mehaffey holds degrees from Bucknell University (B.M.), Westminster Choir College (M.M.), and the University of Arizona (D.M.A).
Recent professional conducting engagements include work with Washington National Opera, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, VocalEssence, Minnesota Chorale, Air America Radio, and Turner Network Television. He is in frequent demand as a lecturer on rehearsal technique and as a guest conductor. An advocate for the education of young singers, Dr. Mehaffey leads the Oratorio Society’s Viva Coro! program, which provides opportunities for young singers to sing choral masterpieces with professional orchestra. He has edited three volumes of the series Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir for GIA Publications. He is co-author of a chapter on American choral music for the forthcoming book, The Cambridge Companion to Choral Music.
Additionally, Dr. Mehaffey serves as Director of Music at Hamline United Methodist Church in St. Paul. An avid sports fan, he enjoys golf, baseball, and curling in his spare time. He lives with his wife Libby, daughters Veda, Colette, and Summer, and their dog Bettis.
Accompanist Helen Jensen
Helen Jensen is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and Union Theological Seminary School of Music in New York. Her teachers included Bernhard Weiser, Edward Berryman, Alec Wyton, and Robert Baker. She was interim organist at St. Marks Cathedral, and has been accompanist for the Oratorio Society since 1993.
Conductor Laureate George S.T. Chu
George Chu founded the Oratorio Society in 1980 and served as its Artistic Director until May 2008, when he was named its first Conductor Laureate.
As professor of music and choral activities at Hamline University, Dr. Chu directs the A Cappella Choir, an ensemble which gives students — most are non-music majors — an opportunity to sing the finest choral music and tour internationally.
Dr. Chu's love of teaching resulted in a unique expansion of the Oratorio Society's activities — Viva Coro! high school choral workshops, with an emphasis on leadership.
His musical training includes a bachelor's degree from Yale University (1969) and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Indiana University (1979), where he studied with Julius Herford.