Jonathan Wall – Choir
Jonathan Wall is the director of choral & vocal studies at Southwestern Adventist University. Since arriving at Southwestern in 2009, Mr. Wall has developed the Southwestern University Singers into an elite international touring ensemble. Over the past five years the Singers have earned an international reputation as a premier choral ensemble, known for their variety filled programs, exquisite harmonies and expressive interpretation of text. The Singers have performed throughout the United States, with tours in Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland and Washington D.C. Internationally the Singers have performed throughout Puerto Rico, Canada, Slovakia, Austria and the Czech Republic. While on tour the Singers have been featured performers for the American Spring Festival (Prague), the 20th Anniversary of U.S. and Slovakian Diplomatic Relations (Bratislava), the U.S. Senate Bible Study (Washington D.C.), featured choir at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Denver), and guests of U.S. Ambassador Theodore Sedgwick, Rear Admiral Barry Black and NAD President Dan Jackson. This past March, the Singers were featured in the guest choir concert series at the Basilique Notre-Dame in Montréal, Canada and in the guest choir recital series at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, two of the most prestigious venues in North America. This fall the Singers were sponsored by Senator Brian Birdwell to present a special concert in the State Capitol rotunda in Austin, TX and also presented an evening concert in the historical St. Joseph's Parish in San Antonio. This May 2015, the Singers will travel to Italy, France & Switzerland representing Southwestern and sharing their passion for sacred choral music. The Singers perform every year at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX.
A leading baritone soloist, Mr. Wall maintains an active solo performance schedule that takes him around the country. As a choral clinician, Mr. Wall is an established and sought after festival conductor. He has has recently directed the Northern New England Music Clinic (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), the Tennessee/Kentucky Music Festival (2010) and the Southwestern Music Festival (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), the Florida Festival for the Arts (2013) and the Atlantic Union Music Festival (2013) in Brooklyn, NY.
In addition to his responsibilities as director of choral & vocal studies, Mr. Wall is the founder and director of the Southwestern Recital Series, a concert series designed to feature students, faculty and guest musicians hosted on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University. The series has produced over 50 concerts since its premier. Mr. Wall is also the director of the Southwestern Music Festival that features a full Symphonic Band, Symphony Orchestra and a 400 member Festival Choir. Each year they perform at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas, home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Since 2011, Jonathan Wall has served as the chairman of the Department of Music at Southwestern Adventist University.
Rudyard Dennis – Band
Rudyard Dennis is the Director of Instrumental Studies at Southwestern Adventist University, where he conducts the Wind Symphony, coaches the Southwestern Brass Ensemble and teaches conducting, music technology, and music education courses. Before coming to Southwestern, he served as Director of Instrumental Studies at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. A clarinetist, Dennis has performed extensively in California, the Northwest and the Midwest.
In 1995, as a Chapel artist, he released a commercially-produced album, titled Hymns and Classics, featuring him as a performer on clarinet, flute and recorder. It sold out. The release of a second commercial album featuring Dennis on the clarinet, titled The Lord Bless You and Keep You, is slated for release in June, 2013.
In 2001, Dennis completed an M.Mus. in Clarinet Performance at the University of Washington, where he studied with noted clarinet historian William McColl and served as principal clarinetist in the UW Symphony Orchestra. During that time he was a finalist in two UW Concerto Competitions. Dennis completed a DMA in Instrumental Conducting at UW in 2003. While finishing his doctorate in music at UW, he won the prestigious Beech Memorial Conducting Scholarship.
Dennis has directed both instrumental and choral programs. He has taught privately at all levels and served as an adjunct performance instructor at Pacific Union College and at Columbia College in Columbia, California. He has been twice nominated for Who's Who Among American Teachers. A sought-after clinician, Dennis conducts band clinics throughout the country. He and his wife Diem, Associate Director of Admissions at Southwestern Adventist University, make their home in Cleburne, Texas.
Marc Élysée – Orchestra
Dr. Marc Élysée is Assistant Professor at Southwestern Adventist University. As Director of Orchestral Studies, he conducts the Southwestern Symphony Orchestra, teaches applied violin lessons and coaches chamber music. As music professor, his other teaching assignments include Instrumental Conducting, Musical Form & Analysis, Music Composition, Orchestration & Arranging, and String Methods & Pedagogy.
Born in northern France, he is next to the youngest of four sons of José Élysée and Elisabeth Matton. His father, a minister, and his mother, an amateur pianist, had an interest in music and provided music opportunities for their sons. The sons played together frequently on an informal basis in the home, joined occasionally by guests who played instruments or would sing along with them.
Marc started violin lessons at age seven in Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, where his parents were serving as missionaries. After six months he stopped taking lessons because the teacher's approach traumatized him. At age nine he resumed study with another teacher, who renewed his interest in the instrument, and in 1992 he won first prize for contestants in violin under age 14 in Radio France's National Competition, Les tournois du royaume de la musique.
Following completion of a music degree at the Marc Bloch University in Strasbourg, where he studied musicology, and study on violin at the conservatories in Strasbourg and Nantes, France, Élysée moved to Montreal, Canada, in 1999, where he studied violin under Richard Roberts, concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He was a finalist in the concerto competition at the university in 2003, playing the second violin concerto by Dmitri Shostakovich. He graduated from McGill University that year with a B.Mus. in violin, cited for outstanding achievement in violin performance.
While in Montreal he was a member of a professional string quartet that was very active in promoting appreciation for music to children and teenagers in public schools and concert venues. Having given over 150 performances in the Eastern and Northern provinces of Canada, the group was nominated for the Opus Prize by the Arts Council of Quebec as having the best outreach program in 2003 and 2004 and was compensated by Jeunesses Musicales International for its work.
During his time at McGill, he also pursued conducting studies under Viennese maestro Alexis Hauser and then in 2005 studied at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestral Musicians. In 2007 he completed an M.Mus. in Instrumental Conducting at Andrews University, where he studied with Venezuelan conductor Claudio Gonzalez, taught violin and viola for the pre-college string program, and served as assistant conductor of the AU orchestra during the 2006-2007 school year.
Upon graduating from AU, Élysée accepted a position at Shenandoah Valley Academy, where in the next five years he developed a successful string and orchestra program that grew to include a sixty-piece symphony orchestra whose membership included only SVA students and faculty. They played major orchestral and choral works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and other classical music composers as well as lighter works.
While teaching at SVA, he also served as assistant orchestra conductor at James Madison University, completing a D.M.A. in Orchestral Conducting, Music Pedagogy and Literature in July 2010. He was also invited to join Pi Kappa Lambda, national music honor society, at the time of his graduation. Following completion of his degree he was hired to teach instrumental conducting at JMU and direct its opera and musical theater orchestra in staged productions of Carmen, Don Giovanni, Die Fledermaus and Sweeney Todd among other works.
A passionate music educator and dynamic conductor, Mr. Élysée is regularly invited to give clinics in high school music festivals, to direct orchestras and adjudicate music competitions. Recent engagements gave him the opportunity to work with students from the D.C. area, Maryland and Virginia, as well as Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Mr. Élysée looks forward to working with the students from the Southwestern Music Festival Orchestra and hope to inspire them once again to give their best and fill the Meyerson Symphony Center with glorious sounds.