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José Daniel Flores-Caraballo

Opalka Family Artistic Director

 

José Daniel Flores-Caraballo is a widely acclaimed conductor and musical director recognized for his artistry and integrity in stylistic performance of choral literature, his methodical and uncompromising approach to music learning, and his gifts as a patient and inspiring teacher. Dr. Flores-Caraballo brings that unique combination—along with an ambitious and energizing vision—to Albany Pro Musica (APM) as the Opalka Family Artistic Director, a role he has held since 2014.

 

As a trained organist as well as a celebrated orchestral and choral conductor, Dr. Flores-Caraballo brings an instrumentalist’s mentality to choral direction, placing strong emphasis on technical precision as the fundamental seed from which musical artistry can grow. He carried that sensibility to the APM’s behind-the scenes operations as well, working with the board of directors to professionalize the group’s operations through the hiring of two full-time staff and leveraging the administrative staff of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, where APM sits as chorus-in-residence. Dr. Flores-Caraballo joined Albany Pro Musica with the goal of building upon the group’s impressive and cherished legacy and elevating APM to be among the best choirs in the nation. His approach combines determinedly high expectations, unwavering dedication to the integrity of the music—whether it is a beloved classical masterpiece, a new work from a rising composer, or a popular song drawn from the world of Broadway or folk music—and the rare ability to build strong connections with audiences, creating intimate, transformative artistic experiences for performers and listeners alike.

 

Through Dr. Flores-Caraballo’s leadership, APM is pushing the boundaries of choral performance in the area, embracing challenging musical programming and innovative new national and international partnerships with world-renowned ensembles like Canadian Brass, the American String Quartet, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), the Vienna Boys Choir, New York City-based baroque ensemble ACRONYM, the Escher String Quartet, and the King’s Singers. His plan for APM’s upcoming seasons includes concerts across the northeast; new civic events and partnerships; and the inaugural, week-long Pro Musica International Choir Festival in partnership with the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen’s University in Ontario and in collaboration with Skidmore College and the University at Albany.

 

In his tenure at APM, Dr. Flores-Caraballo has introduced local audiences to challenging and bold choral repertoire, including Frank Martin’s a cappella “Mass for Double Choir,” the New York State premiere of the “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.” Through APM’s composer-in-residence program launched in 2015, he 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.

 

Dr. Flores-Caraballo also serves as Conductor-In-Residence at the University at Albany (SUNY) and Chorus Director for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus, following the retirement of its founder, the preeminent composer and director, Maestro Robert DeCormier. He has prepared his choirs for prominent orchestral conductors, including Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Bramwell Tovey, Stéphane Dèneve, and Kensho Watanabe of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Andrews Sill of the New York City Ballet, David Alan Miller of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and Anthony Princiotti of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.

 

Dr. Flores-Caraballo came to the Capital Region from Vero Beach, Florida, where he was a musical force for more than a decade. There, he founded and directed three auditioned, community choral groups that transformed the musical landscape in the Treasure Coast: the Atlantic Symphonic Chorus, an intergenerational chorus that performs major choral works with orchestra; the Atlantic Schola Cantorum, a 24-member choir performing a cappella and accompanied chamber choral literature; and the Atlantic Children’s Chorale, a children’s chorus nationally known for its exceptional quality and mature sound. He also led the church music program at the Community Church of Vero Beach.

 

A native of Puerto Rico, Dr. Flores-Caraballo served as Dean of Academic Affairs at the Conservatory of Music founded by Pablo Casals in San Juan. He led prize-winning choral programs at San Ignacio and Maria Reina private schools as well as prestigious church music programs in Puerto Rico and the USA such as the Union Church of San Juan and the St. John’s United Methodist Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Flores-Caraballo has studied under such highly regarded conductors as Helmuth Rilling, Don Moses, Fred Stoltzfus, Roselyn Pabón, and others. His organ teachers include Michael Farris at the University of Illinois; post-graduate studies and master classes with Anton Pauw at the St. Bravo Cathedral in Haarlem, Netherlands; Mme. Marie-Louise Langlais from the Paris Conservatory; James David Christie from the Oberlin Conservatory; and Todd Wilson from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Dr. Flores-Caraballo’s comprehensive training includes a Doctorate in Sacred Music with an emphasis on Choral and Instrumental Conducting from the Graduate Theological Foundation, a Master’s in Choral Conducting and Organ from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor’s in Music Education and Instrumental Conducting from the Conservatory of Music in San Juan.

 

Dr. Flores-Caraballo is featured as a conductor and organist on numerous recordings, including several world premieres. He is a sought-after lecturer and has taken choral groups on tours throughout the U.S. and Europe. In a departure from his choral conducting career, Dr. Flores-Caraballo periodically joins his brother, Marcos Daniel, in a touring show titled “The Dueling Brothers.” With Flores-Caraballo on organ and Marcos on piano, the music aficionados celebrate a playful rivalry between instruments (and siblings) that evokes laughter while also delivering a challenging repertoire.

 

Dr. Flores-Caraballo and his wife Dharma live in Saratoga Springs with their cocker spaniel, Nala. Their grown children Frances, Carlos, and daughter-in-law Connie are glad to call New York their second home.

 

Noah Palmer

Assistant Music Director and Accompanist

 

Conductor and pianist Noah Palmer is one of the Capital Region’s most in demand collaborators. Palmer was recently appointed Artistic Director of the Battenkill Chorale, following a successful debut with the Chorale in 2019. He is Assistant Director and Accompanist for Albany Pro Musica, the Capital Region’s leading choral ensemble, and Assistant Conductor of the Broad Street Chorale and Orchestra in Kinderhook, NY. Palmer made debuts conducting both Albany Pro Musica and the Broad Street Orchestra in 2018.

 

As a choral conductor he has led, among other groups, the Northern Berkshire Chorale, the Sage Singers, and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Highlights of his tenure with the Northern Berkshire Chorale included performances of the Faure Requiem and Mozart’s Vespers. As a pianist, Palmer has accompanied many of the Capital Region’s finest singers, including Vedrana Kalas, Sylvia Stoner, Irina Petrik, and Kevin Kees. In 2019, he founded the Palmer Quartet, a piano quartet based New York’s Hudson Valley.

 

In 2016, Palmer was an Apprentice Coach and Chorus Master with the Merola Opera Program, the San Francisco Opera’s prestigious young artist program. He spent two seasons on the music staff of the Midwestern Institute of Opera in Illinois, where he made his debut conducting Ravel’s l’Enfant et les Sortileges. He has also worked with regional opera companies including Sarasota Opera, assisting productions of Verdi’s Il Trovatore and Jerusalem, as well as Opera North, where he spent two seasons as the pianist for educational outreach tours, following a summer with the company’s prestigious young artist program.

 

Steve Murray

Honorary Composer in Residence

 

Steve Murray began playing string bass in high school, and while doing graduate studies at Miami University, he studied with Harold Roberts, principal bassist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Over the years, Steve has performed with a variety of notables such as Buddy DiFranco, George Wilson, Gray Sargent and Judy Collins among others. Steve has founded and directed his own jazz bands including the 19-piece Berkshire Big Band which he directed and arranged for two decades, and he has contracted for the likes of Burt Bacharach, Natalie Cole, Willie Nelson, and others.

 

Steve’s formal studies in composition were with Eugene Hill at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio and with Donald Freund at the University of Memphis where he completed his Doctorate in theory and composition with a minor in jazz studies.

 

Steve is also a singer and has performed with the Hartford Chamber Choral. He founded the Memphis State University Jazz Singers, and has been a member of Albany Pro Musica since 2002. He is the Honorary Composer in Residence for APM.

 

As a composer, Steve has been active in a variety of genres. He has written instrumental chamber and orchestral music as well as works for music theatre. For the past decade and a half, he has concentrated on choral and solo vocal music. He is published in the U.S. and Canada, was the recipient of the grand prize in the Harmonia Choir Composition Contest, Ottawa in 2006, the grand prize in the Vaughan Williams Choral Composition Contest, Yorkshire, UK in 2008, and he was co-winner of the 2010 New England Choral Composition Contest, Somerville, MA. He won the grand prize in the 2011 Freudig Singers (Buffalo, NY) Choral Composition Contest. He was a semifinalist in composition for the 2013 American Prize and a finalist for the 2014 American Prize. He was one of four composers chosen to have a work premiered by the Minneapolis based First Reading Project in May of 2014 and by Novi Cantori in March in Simsbury, Ct. in 2015. In May of 2015 the Berkshire Concert Choir (Pittsfield, Mass.) premiered two of his recent compositions. He was the 2015 – 2016 Composer in Residence for Albany (NY) Pro Musica and he won the second prize in the 2016 Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition Contest. Steve teaches music theory, song writing, and computer music notation at Berkshire Community College.

 

Bradley Ellingboe

Bradley Ellingboe

Composer in Residence

 

Bradley Ellingboe has led a wide-ranging career in the world of singing including accomplishments as a choral conductor, soloist, composer, scholar and teacher.  He is a graduate of Saint Olaf College and the Eastman School of Music and has done further study at the Aspen Music Festival, the Bach Aria Festival, the University of Oslo and the Vatican.  For his scholarly work in making the songs of Edvard Grieg more accessible to the English-speaking public, he was knighted by the King of Norway in 1994. As a teacher, the University of New Mexico Alumni Association named him Faculty of the Year in 2008. His music has been performed and recorded by such groups as the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Philip Brunelle’s VocalEssence, the Saint Olaf Choir, the Harvard Glee Club, Craig Hella Johnson’s Conspirare, and the choirs of the University of Michigan and Luther College, among many others.

 

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