VINCE PETERSON – FOUNDER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Vince Peterson is a respected choral conductor, composer/arranger, and teacher of music in the United States. His 20-year hybrid career spans the worlds of choral music, theater, sacred music, and music education. He has, however, established himself most prominently in the world of choral music, notably having founded Choral Chameleon in 2008.
Under his leadership, Choral Chameleon has premiered more than 170 works since its nascence and has won critical acclaim in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The New York Concert Review, I Care If You Listen, The Examiner, and other publications. In 2015, the ensemble was awarded the prestigious ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming. In 2017, the group was named the first vocal ensemble artist-in-residence at NYC's undisputed new music hub, National Sawdust.
A native of San Francisco, Peterson began professional work in music at the unusually early age of sixteen when he became the organist and music director of his home parish. He studied piano from age six, and organ from age eleven. In high school, he toured internationally as a choral accompanist, appearing in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, the Philippines, and throughout Italy, where he also appeared before Pope John Paul II and played for mass inside of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. During his college years, he apprenticed under the inimitable Joseph Jennings. A colleague he met through Joe would eventually write of him:
"Already, his brilliance as an arranger, accompanist and conductor were evident. He studied seriously, argued brilliantly, and soaked up all the knowledge and experience imparted by his Bay Area mentors. He also gained an appreciation and understanding of the rare (at that time) 'professional choral musician.' It is little wonder that he would relocate to a place as musically rich, and yet dynamically challenging as New York City (Brooklyn, to be precise) to begin his own musical enterprise: one that focused on the well-being of the choral singer as a professional, the creation of new choral music, and the development of a multi-generational audience ready, willing and able to accept whatever new concoction Vince would throw at them."
In 2003, Peterson earned the BM in Composition from San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of celebrated vocal music composer Conrad Susa. He has also studied composition with David Conte, Elinor Armer, and Philip Lasser. In 2007, he earned a Double MM in Composition and Choral Conducting from Mannes College of Music where he studied under pioneer conductor Mark Shapiro as well as the composer David Loeb. Upon receipt of his Master's Degree, he was also awarded the singular Music Teacher's League Award for 2007.
As a prolific arranger, Peterson has received seven commissions to date from the multi-Grammy® Award-winning ensemble Chanticleer, whose YouTube videos of his work have garnered over half a million views. Several of his choral arrangements and original compositions have become staples for choirs across the United States. Distinguished performance venues include Chicago Symphony Hall, San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, Bartok National Concert Hall in Budapest, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Carnegie Hall, among others.
A recognized thought-leader in the music world, The New York Times called Peterson "authoritative beyond his… years," and The Brooklyn Eagle praised his work as "a stunning symphony of the spiritual and secular," while hailing him as a solo performer "with depth and vigor" who "provided a universal context which resonated with his audience.”
In 2018, Vince Peterson was awarded the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal by Chorus America, a lifetime distinction he shares with only fourteen of the most influential choral musicians in the United States. When endorsing his candidacy for this award, another cherished colleague wrote:
"Vince Peterson’s record speaks more eloquently for him than I can ever do. I will conclude by saying that after my many years now as a choral conductor, singer, and teacher of some accomplishment, I have been running low on sources of inspiration and hope; but when I look to Vince Peterson, I am always refreshed again. That is the impact of his work on me. He is clearly the artist this award is meant to recognize and support. It has been my privilege to nominate him today."
Vince also joyfully serves Empire City Men's Chorus as Artistic Director. Learn more about his work at www.vincepeterson.com.
NICOLE BELMONT – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Nicole Belmont joined Choral Chameleon’s Chorus in 2013 as a soprano and soon after joined the Board in 2014 on the cusp of its 7th Season.
During her 2-term tenure as Board President, with the Board still operating as staff, her main goal was to establish processes that could be set in place to allow the organization to absorb growth in both awareness and support. These included the introduction of integrated donor relations and ticketing software, annual reporting, annual strategic planning review, archive-building, and a concerted focus on grant writing and crowdfunding.
Alongside her capacity as Board leader, she also quickly developed an effective partnership with Founding Artistic Director Vince Peterson as a producer and content developer.
As marketer, she has helped to tell the organization’s story, to gain recognition of its pioneering artistic and educational work to date, to improve the reach and impact of this work on the broader choral and new music communities, and to attract an international student pool for the Summer Institute.
In November 2019, in line with the strategic plan to delineate Board stewardship from staff operations, the Board formally appointed Nicole as Executive Director, to lead the organization into its next chapter, which now also encompasses touring and recording.
Nicole’s career outside of, and in parallel with Choral Chameleon, has included a broad range of media-related business development, content development and consumer-driven communications strategy roles, in both London and New York. She has worked for media owners MTV and AOL, and within agency networks MDC Partners and Dentsu, where she has advised clients such as Procter & Gamble, Diageo, Moët Hennessy, General Motors, BBC America and E*Trade.
Nicole has a bachelor’s degree from Oxford University in Politics, Philosophy & Economics and credits the privilege of having Westminster Abbey as her High School’s chapel as the deciding factor in guaranteeing a life-long love of choral music.
- Vince Peterson, Founding Artistic Director
- David Dabbon, President
- David Murray, Vice-President
- Eddie Maddalena, Treasurer
- Kathryn Squitieri, Secretary
- Karen Beluso
- Brian Rosen
- Boreta Singleton
- Michael Squitieri (President 2018-2020)
- Stephanie Tuck
- Nicole Belmont - Executive Director (ex-officio)
- Matthew Finkel - Professional Singer Representative (ex-officio)
- Sandra Garner - Chorus Singer Representative (ex-officio)
ARTISTIC ADVISORY BOARD
- Vance George - Symphony Chorus Conductor Emeritus, San Francisco Symphony
- Matthew Oltman - Music Director Emeritus, Chanticleer
- Mark Shapiro - Artistic Director, Cantori New York; Conductor, Cecilia Chorus of New York
- Bruce MacIntyre - Musicologist; Director: Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music
- Emily Keeler - Artistic Director, San Francisco Arts Education Project
- Stephen Goldstine - Photographer; Consultant
- David Conte - Composer; San Francisco Conservatory of Music
- Conrad Susa (in Memoriam) - Composer; San Francisco Conservatory of Music
- Vince Peterson, Artistic Director
- Alyssa Venora, Derek Weagle, Assistant Conductors
- Hee Sung Kim, Principal Pianist
- Annie Beliveau, Assistant to the Artistic Director
ALYSSA VENORA - ASSISTANT CONDUCTOR
Alyssa Venora is Brooklyn-based choral and jazz soprano and a graduate of the Neag School of Education of The University of Connecticut. She currently holds an M.A. in Music Education and teaches elementary general music in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Alyssa is honored to be the Assistant Conductor of Choral Chameleon and delighted to work in collaboration with such fine musicians.
DEREK WEAGLE - ASSISTANT CONDUCTOR
Composer/Conductor/Wearer-of-Many-Hats Derek Weagle is a Brooklyn-based artist invested in the disruption of social and academic barriers around classical music, as well as the preservation of music-making as a joyful act of humanness. As Assistant Conductor with Choral Chameleon, he is privileged to work with so many amazing artists and collaborators and is excited to push the boundaries of what is possible in music. Derek holds a B.M. in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and an M.M. in Composition with a minor in Choral Conducting from The New England Conservatory; he is currently pursuing a certificate in Sound Healing from the Sage Academic of Sound.
HEE SUNG KIM – PRINCIPAL PIANIST
Hee Sung Kim is a versatile pianist and collaborative artist. A native of Seoul, she began her musical training at the Juilliard School Pre-College division. She holds a B.M. from Seoul National University, M.M. from Yonsei University, and Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music. Her extensive performing career has led her to major venues throughout New York and Korea, including Weill Hall at Carnegie, Steinway Hall, and Alice Tully Hall. She collaborates with various instrumentalists, vocalists, and choral groups throughout the city. She serves as music director and organist at Central Korean United Methodist Church and maintains a private piano studio in Brooklyn.
- Nicole Belmont, Executive Director and Marketing
- Derek Weagle/Zachary Ritter, Operations
- Eddie Maddalena, Finance
- Sandra Garner/Dylan Robinson, Chorus Membership
- Ariel Estrada, Grant Writer and Graphic Designer
- Kathryn Squitieri, Database Manager
- Sydney Hess, Librarian & Concert Program Coordination
- Kelly Baxter Golding, Concert Program Design
- Molly Rabuffo, Donor Relations
- Elise Caves, Social Chair