Daniel Barta is former Professor of Music Theory and Composition and Chair of the Department of Music and Performing Arts at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York. He holds the B.Mus., M.Mus., and D.M.A. from Temple University, where he studied with Clifford Taylor, Maurice Wright, and Matthew Greenbaum. His portfolio includes compositions in all genres, including solo, chamber, choral, and orchestral works. His music has been performed internationally, including God Is Our Refuge and Strength for the International Schools of China Choral Festival in Tianjin, China. In 2019, he composed Ésaïe 61:1-3 for the Roberts Chorale tour of France shortly after the tragic burning of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. The piece was premiered at the American Cathedral in Paris. He has written for Sharon Sweet (soprano), David Kim (Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster), and Ann Martindale-Williams (Pittsburgh Symphony principal cellist). Two of his works for keyboard, Suite for Piano and Toccata Joyeuse, have been recorded and released on the DTR label. Of the toccata, The American Organist review states, “The Toccata Joyeuse by Daniel Barta is a well-structured multi-sectional work for organ, contrasting lyricism with pyrotechnics, tellingly performed here by Michael Stairs (organist, Philadelphia Orchestra).” He is published by Concordia and Choristers Guild. He and his wife Peggy have two grown children.
Originally from British Columbia, Canada, Olivia Cresswell has enjoyed an array of musical influences and experiences and is a musician of diverse interests and pursuits. Her studies began at the Royal Conservatory of Music and culminated with a master’s degree in piano performance. She is a joyful pianist, teacher, adjudicator, composer, pastor’s wife, and mother. As a pianist, she has performed as soloist and accompanist throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Her repertoire spans early music to modern, classical to Broadway. For over twenty-five years, she has maintained an active music studio, and she is a founding teacher of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s American arm (the National Conservatory), preparing students for exams in piano, theory, history, and composition. She also regularly adjudicates regional and statewide piano competitions. She resides in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband, Jonathan, and their five children.
A conductor praised for his “precision and clarity,” and performances hailed as “enlightened,” Christopher Gilliam is the Director of Choral Activities at Wake Forest University, director of the Winston-Salem Symphony Chorus, artistic director and conductor for Winston-Salem Choral Artists, and Director of Music at Highland Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem.
North Carolina native Christopher Gilliam received the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Voice Performance and Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Kansas in 2003. At KU, he studied with conducting professors Simon Carrington, Brian Priestman, James Daugherty, and John Paul Johnson, voice professor John Stephens, and guest conductors Hilary Apfelstadt, Robert Sund, Maurice Casey, Jameson Marvin, Carl Høgset, André Thomas, and Rodney Eichenberger.
Gilliam was a founding member of and soloist for the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers, a professional choral ensemble formerly based in Kansas City, Missouri, and he appears as a soloist on the ensemble’s CD, Juxtapositions. Of his solo performances, critics have written, “magnificent,” “a well-modulated voice with a pleasant timbre,” “…commanding baritone,” and “…marvelous, with strikingly rich tone and impeccable diction.” Gilliam has been a soloist for the Winston-Salem and Memphis Symphonies, and he is currently on the rosters of the Oregon Bach Festival and Charlotte Bach Akademie.
As a choral composer, Gilliam has published music with Alliance Music, Beckenhorst Press, E.C. Schirmer, and Lorenz, and is a current ASCAP member.
Holding a bachelor’s degree in piano performance, Mark Hahn has served churches in the greater Philadelphia area since 1986, and has been in full time music ministry at the Montgomery Evangelical Free Church in Belle Mead, New Jersey since 1992. Additional studies include music theory at Westminster Choir College, composition with Timothy Shaw, and worship studies with Robert E. Webber. He is published by Roger Dean, Lorenz, and Choristers Guild. He enjoys participating in the musical culture of his surrounding communities as accompanist and soloist as well as administrating and directing the many choirs and ensembles of his church community. One of his greatest honors was performing in the Center Hall of the White House.
Peter Hilliard holds degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory and NYU, and he is Music Director of Villanova University’s Graduate Theatre Program. With Matt Boresi, he has written award-winning operas and theatre works, and his choral music has been performed across the country. He is the winner of the 2020 Hoefer Prize. His works have received awards and nominations from the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Turner Classic Movies Young Film Composers Competition, Vocal Essence, The Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, and the Ned Rorem Award. He is music director of Philadelphia’s Savoy Company, the oldest company in the world dedicated to performing Gilbert and Sullivan. He has conducted The Pirates of Penzance and Iolanthe at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Harrogate, UK. With Glen Clugston, Peter restored a new edition of Victor Herbert’s lost 1911 masterpiece Natoma for a New York reading in 2014. OperaNews wrote that Natoma “turns out to be a real piece of buried treasure. Herbert’s score is gorgeous.”
Ryan Kelly is professor of music and Associate Director of Choral Activities at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. His D.M.A. in choral conducting is from Michigan State University. He is an active lecturer and clinician with numerous appearances at national, regional, and state conferences of the National Association for Music Education, the American Choral Directors Association, and the American Guild of Organists. His publications include performance editions and compositions with Augsburg Fortress, Boosey & Hawkes, Carus-Verlag, G. Schirmer, Mark Foster, MusicSpoke, and Shaw Music; articles in Choral Journal; and the books Handel’s Messiah: Warm-Ups for Successful Performance (Hal Leonard, 2016) and Calls to Worship, Invocations, and Benedictions (P&R, 2022). An experienced liturgist and church musician, he is Director of Music and Organist at Proclamation Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
Jeremy Zimmer is a composer, organist, and pianist based in the greater Chicagoland area. He is a graduate of DePaul University, where he earned a Master of Music degree in Composition and studied with Dr. Christopher Jones and Dr. Seung-Won Oh. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music at Concordia University-Chicago, where he studied with Dr. Jonathan Stahlke. He began playing organ professionally in 2011, at Hope Lutheran Church in Hillside, Illinois. He now holds the position of kantor at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit, Elk Grove Village, Illinois, and currently resides in Glen Ellyn, Illinois with his wife Evelyn.