Rodney Wynkoop, founder and director of the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Durham, is also Director of University Choral Music and Director of Chapel Music at Duke University. He conducts the Duke University Chorale and its 24-voice Chamber Choir as well as the Duke Chapel Choir and its smaller Schola Cantorum. He teaches choral conducting in the Music Department, and holds the title of Professor of the Practice of Music.
In addition to his choirs at Duke, Dr. Wynkoop is Conductor of the 150-voice Choral Society of Durham and its 32-voice Chamber Choir. His work with choral groups has earned him critical acclaim for artistic excellence and innovative programming. In 2005 he led the Vocal Arts Ensemble in an invited appearance at the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in Los Angeles. He has also led the Choral Society, the Chapel Choir, and the Vocal Arts Ensemble in invited appearances at several biannual conventions of the Southern Division of ACDA. In 2000, he was honored by the Durham Arts Council with the James L. Nicholson award for his contributions in promoting the careers of local singers and composers. In 2002, he received the Lara Hoggard Award for Distinguished Service in Choral Music in North Carolina, presented by the North Carolina ACDA. In the spring of 2009 Duke University honored him with a Meritorious Service Award for Executive Leadership.
Tours and Workshops
Dr. Wynkoop has led choral tours with the Duke Chapel Choir, the Duke Chorale, the Triangle Choral Exchange to Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Namibia, Russia, mainland China, Greece, Turkey, and numerous European countries. He has led annual domestic tours with the Duke Chorale since 1985, and has been the featured conductor at a variety of choral conducting workshops, and resident guest conductor of a professional civic chorus in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. In 2006 he conducted singers from all of his choirs in a Carnegie Hall performance of Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem, and in 2009 he conducted many of the same singers in a performance in Vienna, Austria, of Haydn’s Mass in Time of War and Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem, as part of the International Haydn Festival.
Recordings and Premieres
Choirs under his direction have released numerous CD recordings, including two commercial recordings on the Arsis/E.C. Schirmer label: John Rutter’s Requiem and Vierne’s Solemn Mass, with the Duke Chapel Choir, and “My Spirit Sang All Day,” with the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Durham, featuring works by Finzi, Barber, Rutter, Locklair, McCullough, Kodály, and other 20th-century composers. Other CD releases include recordings of Orff’s Carmina Burana and the Rachmaninoff Vespers as well as two recordings of Handel’s Messiah. He has conducted the world premieres of many choral works, including music by Mendelssohn, Ives, Sidney Boquiren, and Duke Chapel Organist David Arcus, as well as works commissioned for his choirs from Rene Clausen, Daniel Gawthrop, Steven Sametz, and Imant Raminsh.
Dr. Wynkoop earned a doctoral degree in choral conducting at the Yale School of Music. He received a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied with Robert Fountain, and a bachelor’s degree in music from Yale University.
Before coming to Duke in 1984, Dr. Wynkoop was Director of Choral Music at the University of Chicago, where he conducted the University Chorus and was Director of Music at Rockefeller Chapel. He previously held conducting positions at the Yale School of Music/Institute of Sacred Music, and Mount Holyoke College.