Gretchen Kuhrmann, Artistic Director
Artistic Director Gretchen Kuhrmann is the founder and visionary of Choralis. A true advocate for choral music in all schools and communities, she has spent her career honing choral ensembles into musically sensitive performers and encouraging young singers to develop their skills.
The daughter of a diplomat, Ms. Kuhrmann has traveled and lived around the world, including an extended stay in Hamburg, Germany, where she spent her formative years. Before leaving Europe, she toured and performed with her own ensemble throughout Western Europe. In addition to being a sought-after conducting and choral clinician, Kuhrmann has shown great success with building choral organizations and is in demand as a speaker and consultant on the topic at choral conventions and workshops around the world.
Audiences and critics alike have recognized Choralis for its musical excellence. Ms. Kuhrmann’s detailed preparation and skillful conducting have earned Choralis ensembles acclaim throughout the United States and Europe. Critics observed “…Kuhrmann has trained this big group to sing with the delicacy and transparency of a chamber chorus, and it does this very well” and “…Conductor Gretchen Kuhrmann drew a clear and beautifully blended sound from the group, which was maintained when the music pulled down to only a handful of voices.” (The Washington Post)
In 2014, Choralis and the Choralis Cantus Primo youth choir were selected to be featured performing ensembles for the Chorus America national conference held in Washington, DC in June. Ensembles under Ms. Kuhrmann’s direction have also been selected to perform for both ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) and VMEA (Virginia Music Educators Association) conventions.
Ms. Kuhrmann also has prepared choruses for many notable U.S. and international conductors as well as numerous area diplomatic and political events. She is the Director of Music for Fairfax Presbyterian Church and holds performance degrees in conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and George Mason University.
Todd Fickley, Associate Director and Keyboard Artist
Todd Fickley is the Associate Director and Keyboard Artist for Choralis. He also is Organist at The National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC and previously held the positions of Acting Director of the Washington Bach Consort and Associate Music Director and Chorus Master of the Cathedral Choral Society.
A native Washingtonian, Mr. Fickley began his organ studies at the Washington National Cathedral under Bruce Neswick. At the age of 23, Mr. Fickley was made a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists (AGO). He also holds the AGO Choirmaster Diploma and the M.A. in Organ Performance with High Distinction from the University of Wales.
A prize-winning organist, Mr. Fickley has been featured numerous times on NPR and PRI, and has performed and conducted across the United States, Israel, and Europe. In 2014, he launched “The Bach Project,” a cycle of concerts performing and recording all of Bach’s organ works — the first time in almost a quarter of a century that such a project has been undertaken in the DC area. The first volume of this cycle was recently released on the MSR Classics label and was praised in Fanfare Magazine as “some of the most enthralling Bach organ playing you are likely to hear anywhere by anyone.”
Mr. Fickley also has extensive experience teaching and preparing choirs of all ages using the Royal School of Church Music system for performances of repertoire such as Bach’s Passions and Cantatas, Handel’s Messiah, and annual Nine Lessons and Carols programs. He is frequently seen as conductor, soloist, accompanist, and speaker in the area.
Our singers come from across the Metro DC area and from all walks of life. Many of our singers are professional musicians and music educators, while others have developed their choral music performance abilities as dedicated amateurs. Singers are admitted to our ensembles only after passing an audition, and re-auditions are required to return for a subsequent season. This ensures that the high quality of Choralis performances is maintained.