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CCM Village on the University of Cincinnati campus.

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Earl Rivers

Title: Professor of Music; Director of Choral Studies
Office: 113 Dieterle Vocal Arts Cntr
Tel: 513-556-9419

Director of Choral Studies and Conducting and Professor of Music at the UC’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), Earl Rivers’ graduate conducting program has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the U.S.A.’s leading programs. He has conducted CCM’s forces in acclaimed regional premieres of John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls and El Niño, J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion as staged productions and Mass in B Minor with Bastian Clevé’s film The Sound of Eternity, Tan Dun’s Water Passion after St. Matthew, Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 5 - Requiem, Bardo and Nirmanakaya, and Krzysztof Penderecki’s Credo. Rivers served for 20 seasons, 1998-2008, as Music Director and Conductor of Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble, championing new works, hosting visiting composers, and developing artistic partnerships with Cincinnati arts organizations and children’s and youth choirs. In the recent 2014-15 season Rivers celebrated 40 years as Director of Music at Cincinnati’s Knox Presbyterian Church and premiered at Knox three newly commissioned works by Robert Beaser (sponsored by Soli Dei Gloria’s Psalm’s Project), Stephen Cleobury and Dale Warland.

At CCM in 2015-16 Rivers leads productions of Best of the Baroque featuring Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Mondonville’s Dominus Regnavit and J.S. Bach’s Magnificat, in addition to the Cincinnati premiere of a staged production of Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake. He inaugurated The Shakespeare Quadricentennial, a two-year CCM commemoration of the playwright's legacy through choral music – honoring his 450th birthday (April 23, 2014) and culminating on April 23, 2016, the 400th anniversary of his death. Rivers and the CCM Chamber Choir will premiere four newly commissioned choral works on Shakespeare texts in 2015-16 by composers Judith Bingham, Dominick DiOrio, Ola Gjeilo and Jake Runestad.

Recent guest conducting includes the Mozart Requiem in Vienna; J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor with South Korea’s Chang Won City Chorale and Orchestra; the Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece; Arvo Pärt’s Berliner Mass with South Korea's Inchon City Chorale; Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and John Rutter’s Requiem in Carnegie Hall; and a residency and concert at the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China. Rivers served as Artistic Director USA for the World Choir Games Cincinnati 2012. He leads the Beethoven Mass in C in Florence, Italy at the June 2016 Festival Annuale dei Grandi Cori Americani Città di Firenze.

Rivers received in 2004 Choral America’s Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Choral Art, honoring a lifetime of significant contributions to the professional choral art, and in 2015 Chorus America’s Director Laureate Award, an honorary title recognizing an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and has had significant impact on the choral field.


  • BME and MM, Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, IN.
  • DMA, CCM.