Regarded as a leading conductor and pedagogue in the US and abroad, Professor Mark Stover shares his passion for people and building community through pursuing the highest levels of artistry. Beginning in September 2018, he will commence an appointment as associate director of choirs at the University of Michigan where he will conduct the Men’s Glee Club and the University Choir, teach undergraduate conducting, and serve as the conductor of the Michigan Youth Chamber Singers.
Professor Stover comes to Ann Arbor from Northfield, Minnesota, home of Saint Olaf College, where he has served on the music faculty as conductor of the St. Olaf Chapel Choir (SATB) and Viking Chorus (TTBB) while teaching conducting and a new course he designed titled, Music and Social Justice. Both of these choirs regularly appear in the annual St. Olaf Christmas Festival, a tradition held for over a century and regarded around the world as one of the great music festivals of the season. Recently, Prof. Stover led the Chapel Choir, Viking Chorus, and the Festival Mass Choir of over 400 voices in the St. Olaf Christmas Festival presented at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis at the 2017 National Convention of the American Choral Conductors Association (ACDA). Additionally, Stover served for multiple seasons as the artistic director of Magnum Chorum, a semi-professional choral ensemble of over 60 voices based in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Magnum Chorum was a featured ensemble in the 2017 ACDA National Conference in the Raymond C. Brock Commission performance under the baton of Robert Spano.
Notable performances and collaborations under Stover’s leadership with Magnum Chorum include the commissioning and world premiere of Paul Rudoi’s concert length musical drama, Sermon on the Mount; a collage concert creation with composer Jake Runestad addressing gun violence in the United States; and major works by Rheinberger and Gjeilo. Additionally Prof. Stover has conducted the annual oratorio concert with the St. Olaf Orchestra and Chapel Choir, performing Francis Poulenc’s Gloria, Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living, Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna and a new work by Charles Forsberg, titled, Cantica in Laude Sacri. In spring 2018, Prof. Stover's Chapel Choir will be collaborating with the St. Olaf Choir and Orchestra to bring an original Buddhist oratorio to Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis for the world premiere of The Path by composer Justin Merritt. Among his most meaningful musical partnerships is the creation of a residency between the singers of Magnum Chorum and Voices of Hope, a choir made up of women incarcerated at the Shakopee Women’s Prison (MN), directed by Amanda Weber.
Prof. Stover has been featured as a conductor and pedagogue throughout the United States and abroad and has led ensembles in Ukraine and France. In 2014, Stover guest conducted the famed St. Olaf Choir and led the ensemble in performances throughout the Midwest. Upcoming guest engagements include the 2018 Together In Hope Project, a professional touring choral ensemble from the Twin Cities who will travel to perform several concerts in Rome and the 2019 Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools in Singapore.
Stover’s leadership has been a bridge between the academy and the broader community. He has served as the Director of Worship at Colonial Church in Edina (MN) for over a decade, overseeing multiple choral and instrumental ensembles, conducting the Colonial Chorale and founding the Colonial Chamber Singers. Prior to Colonial, he was the Director of Worship, Music and Arts at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church in the San Francisco Bay Area where he also taught choral music and contemporary a cappella ensembles at Campolindo High School. Mark is the former R&R Chair of Music in Worship for ACDA of Minnesota, and this summer, he will act as lead faculty coordinator for the biennial St. Olaf Conference on Worship, Theology and the Arts.
Prof. Stover holds degrees from St. Olaf College and Luther Seminary where he studied conducting and choral repertoire under the mentorship of Dr. Anton Armstrong and Dr. Paul Westermeyer.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Japanese-American conductor Shohei Kobayashi aspires to synthesize his varied insights as singer/songwriter, multi-genre bandmate, choral musician and art song interpreter to inspire deeply personal musical experiences. Following two years of assistant conducting at his alma mater, Lewis & Clark College, and at First Presbyterian Church of Portland, Shohei moved to Ann Arbor in 2015 to begin his graduate choral conducting studies at the University of Michigan with Jerry Blackstone. Now a second-year doctoral student, Shohei continues his conducting studies with Eugene Rogers and currently serves as assistant conductor of the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club, co-conductor of the Orpheus Singers, assistant conductor for UMS Choral Union, and Chancel Choir Director at First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor. At the university, Shohei’s previous posts include director of the Residential College Singers, guest conductor of the University Choir, chorus master for U-M opera productions, and assistant conductor for Chamber Choir, University Choir, Women’s Glee Club, and Arts Chorale.
This past summer, Shohei attended the 9th Ithaca International Conducting Masterclass, the inaugural Choral Conducting Institute at Interlochen, University of Illinois’s Choral Conducting Symposium in Urbana-Champaign, the Adult Choir Camp at Interlochen as a choral apprentice, Chorus America’s 2018 Conducting Academy in Fullerton as one of 12 conducting fellows, and Helmuth Rilling’s Fifth Weimar Bach Academy. In previous years, Shohei was one of five MCP Conducting Fellows at the National Collegiate Choral Organization’s 2017 conference, conducting apprentice at the 2017 Hot Springs Music Festival, recipient of Berkshire Choral International’s Robert Page Conducting Fellowship, and a conducting fellow at the 2016 Norfolk Choral Festival. In addition to his primary mentors at Michigan, Shohei has worked with Larry Rachleff, Kathy Romey, David Hayes, Andrew Megill, Lucinda Carver, Simon Carrington, Joseph Flummerfelt, Martin Katz, Peter Bay, Ann Howard Jones, Jan Harrington, Katherine FitzGibbon, and Kenneth Kiesler.
Shohei earned a Master of Music degree in Conducting from the University of Michigan in 2017 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music (focus in composition and minor in math) from Lewis & Clark College in 2013.
Joshua Marzan is a freelance pianist in the Southeast Michigan area. He currently works for the University of Michigan as a staff pianist, playing with instrumentalists and coaching singers. He plays for various auditions, competitions, and concerts, including recitals with DSO members. Before coming to Michigan, Joshua received a BM in Piano Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University and a MM and GD in Collaborative Piano from the New England Conservatory. He recently graduated with a DMA in Collaborative Piano from the University of Michigan under Martin Katz.