About Albany Pro Musica
Albany Pro Musica (APM) is the preeminent choral ensemble in New York’s vibrant Capital Region and is renowned for its distinctive artistic style and mastery of a wide range of musical genres. Critically acclaimed for its performances of intimate a cappella pieces and large-scale choral works alike, APM is led by Opalka Family Artistic Director Dr. José Daniel Flores-Caraballo and is Chorus-in-Residence at the historic Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Maestro Flores-Caraballo has led APM since 2014 and has elevated the ensemble through ambitious programming, prestigious national and international collaborations, a renewed commitment to civic and educational engagement, and a bold vision for the future.
Locally and Internationally Celebrated
Albany Pro Musica’s reputation as a world-class chorus attracts large, diverse audiences who encourage newer, bolder projects to satisfy their growing desire for exposure to a rich choral repertoire. It’s also a draw for distinguished guest conductors, soloists, and composers, including composers-in-residence Bradley Ellingboe (2020-22 seasons) and Ola Gjeilo (2017-2020 seasons) who partner with APM for concerts, premieres, and commissioned works. In addition to long-standing hometown collaborations with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Musicians of Ma’alwyck, the Capital District Youth Chorale, and others, APM has developed exciting new relationships with numerous internationally renowned musicians and ensembles, including Canadian Brass, the American String Quartet, The Philadelphia Orchestra, New York City Ballet, Vienna Boys Choir, the Escher String Quartet, and The King’s Singers.
Voices Capturing the Human Spirit at the Intersection of Creativity and Excellence
Albany Pro Musica is now in its fourth decade as a driving musical force in the Capital Region, the Northeast, and beyond. At the heart of Albany Pro Musica is the vital realization that choral music at its best is not merely entertainment but rather a transformational and emotional experience for performers and audiences alike. This perspective is reflected in Opalka Family Artistic Director Dr. Flores-Caraballo’s vision for APM, which balances exceptional technical competency, exquisite artistry, and purposeful programming that is relevant and meaningful in today’s society.
Under the leadership of Dr. Flores-Caraballo, APM is continuing to push the boundaries of choral performance in the area, embracing challenging musical programming and innovative new partnerships that elevate the ensemble to new heights. Dr. Flores-Caraballo has laid out a bold plan for APM’s future that includes the premieres of commissioned works; concerts across the northeast; new civic events and partnerships; and the inaugural Pro Musica International Choral Festival, which will be offered in Summer 2023 in partnership with the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.
Albany Pro Musica’s Concert Chorus is composed of 64 auditioned volunteer singers from several counties and states. For large choral and orchestral masterworks, the group expands to more than 100 singers as the Albany Pro Musica Masterworks Chorus, and is often joined by the instrumentalists of Orchestra Pro Musica. Albany Pro Musica offers four series concerts each season, including “Artist Series” concerts which bring world-renowned artists and ensembles to share the stage with APM; “Masterworks Series” performances of oratorios and other large-scale choral works with orchestra; and an annual Christmas program, which has become a wonderful holiday tradition in the region. Each season is deliberately curated to include classical masterpieces from the choral canon, new compositions from modern and contemporary composers, and popular selections from the worlds of Broadway, traditional and folk music, and more.
Following a fully virtual 40th anniversary season, Albany Pro Musica is programing an exhilarating return to live performances. During the 2021-2022 season, APM’s Concert Chorus will present “Let’s Talk About Love” (Oct. 24, 2021); “The Many Moods of Christmas” with Orchestra Pro Musica (Dec. 19, 2021); “Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil,” featuring guest artists Elizabeth Eschen (mezzo soprano), David Vanderwal (tenor), and Elizabeth Pitcairn (violin) (Mar. 6, 2022); and the Masterworks Series concert “Braham’s Human Requiem,” featuring Michael Chioldi (baritone), Laquita Mitchell (soprano), and Marcos Daniel Flores-Caraballo (piano) and dedicated to those lost in the Covid-19 pandemic (May 8, 2022). In addition to the four subscription concerts that make up APM’s regular season, the group will offer several special performances during the season, including “Broadway Pro Musica” with the Pro Musica Pops at Washington Park (Aug. 8, 2021); the “Cabaret: Uncorked” season kick-off fundraiser (Sep. 25, 2021); the annual High School Choral Festival with guest conductor Dr. Michael Lister (Feb. 5, 2022); an elegant Spring Gala “Gala Bel Canto” (Apr. 16, 2022), and the highly anticipated collaboration with the Albany Symphony featuring the world premiere of George Tsontakis’ Requiem (Apr. 23 & 24, 2022).
Our Commitment to Education
Music education is one of APM’s pillars, and the organization’s educational programs have made a mark on the lives of more than 3,500 young students in the Capital Region and beyond. APM’s annual High School Choral Festival will bring together gifted musicians from high schools across the region for an intensive day of rehearsal and performance with Maestro Flores-Caraballo as well as a guest conductor and clinicians. The festival culminates with a fun-filled concert in which all the students join the voices of Albany Pro Musica’s Concert Chorus on stage for a festival chorus performance. New this season, Albany Pro Musica is pleased to partner with the University at Albany to host the festival on campus.
APM will partner with the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen’s University in Ontario and the University at Albany to offer the inaugural Pro Musica International Choral Festival in summer 2023. The festival represents APM’s largest educational offering to-date and will be an opportunity for students from across the United States and Canada to study and perform with distinguished faculty and world-class musicians. Generous funding from Bader Philanthropies, Inc. provides full fellowships to all participating students, allowing the Pro Musica International Choral Festival to waive the tuition and room & board fees for every attending student.
As we continue to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, APM is strategically bringing back addtionally education programs. APM’s instrumental masterclasses, offered in collaboration with the Empire State Youth Orchestra, as well as our highly selective youth apprenticeships, will not be offered. We look forward to presenting them again next season.
Albany Pro Musica was founded in 1981 by University at Albany Distinguished Professor Dr. David Griggs-Janower, who created a community chorus capable of performing at a professional level. He remained the group’s Artistic Director until his passing in August 2013. After an extensive national search, Dr. José Daniel Flores-Caraballo succeeded Griggs-Janower as Artistic and Executive Director in August 2014. Dr. Flores-Caraballo came to Albany Pro Musica with an ambitious vision to build upon the group’s impressive and cherished legacy and elevate APM to be among the best choirs in the nation.
APM has made numerous recordings and was one of only 16 choruses selected for inclusion on the 2005 National Public Radio (NPR) CD Christmas Around the Country. In 2004 APM collaborated with the Albany Symphony Orchestra and composer Michael Torke to record the opera Strawberry Fields for mass distribution. The group has toured nationally and internationally, including to France in honor of the 60th anniversary of D-Day at Omaha Beach, and to the Czech Republic, Spain, and Ireland.
Albany Pro Musica has commissioned numerous works from American composers and performed local and regional premieres of masterpieces such as Bristow’s Oratorio of Daniel and Handel’s Oratorio of Esther. Under the composer-in-residence program launched by Dr. Flores-Caraballo, APM has expanded the group’s library of commissioned works, sponsoring new compositions by celebrated local, national, and international composers including Steven Murray, Donald McCullough, Ola Gjeilo, and Bradley Ellingboe. APM is frequently invited to sing at high-profile events such as gubernatorial inaugurations, civic celebrations, and on stage with visiting artists, including Judy Collins, Kenny Rogers, and Andrea Bocelli. APM continues to introduce local audiences to challenging and bold choral repertoire, including Frank Martin’s a cappella Mass for Double Choir, the New York State premiere of Requiem by Raymond Torres, entire concerts devoted to musical theater, innovative programs including art forms such as visual arts and dance, and a powerful multimedia presentation of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace.