Emmy and Grammy nominated conductor, educator, and choral specialist Judith Clurman is driven by a passion for vocal music in all its forms and styles. Equally at home with repertoire from the classical canon to the American Songbook, musical theater and contemporary compositions, Ms. Clurman’s performances are marked by dynamic interpretations and effortless panache.
As music director for Essential Voices USA (EVUSA) Ms. Clurman collaborates with the New York Pops on their Carnegie Hall subscription series. With the Symphony Singers, she has worked with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center. She served as founding conductor of the New York Concert Singers and Project Youth Chorus, music director of Prism Concerts, the 92nd Street Y’s “Music of the Spirit” program, and as artistic director of the Lincoln Center Tree Lighting.
Ms. Clurman has worked with many of the world’s finest musical organizations including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York City Ballet, Mostly Mozart Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Lincoln Center’s Great Performers and American Songbook Series. She has conducted the Österreich Festival Orchestra and Chorus at the Mozarteum Grosser Saal, in Salzburg, Austria.
A favorite among composers and a tireless advocate for new music. Ms. Clurman has commissioned, premiered and recorded works by over sixty American composers including Milton Babbitt, William Bolcom, Jason Robert Brown, Marvin Hamlisch, Jennifer Higdon, and Nico Muhly. She has been involved with highly praised US Premieres of the music of Philip Glass, Rossini, and Wagner, the World Premiere of a newly-discovered Mozart text for Lincoln Center’s Mozart Bicentennial, and a Leonard Bernstein arrangement of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, performed at Harvard.
Ms. Clurman is familiar to television audiences for her national broadcasts on NBC and PBS with “Music of the Spirit”; as music director of the Singing Tree Float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (2017-); as conductor of the nationally televised July 4th Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular in 2015; and, perhaps most notably for younger listeners, as associate music director of Sesame Street (Season 39). Her work with the Muppets earned her a 2009 Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition. Additionally, three of the songs that she arranged also garnered Emmy nominations for the show.
In the days following September 11th, and moved by leading a chorus in “God Bless America” in a New York City firehouse, Ms. Clurman conceived of the ambitious “Sing Out Mr. President.” With support from the Library of Congress, Ms. Clurman commissioned and premiered 16 American composers to set the words of 16 presidents to music. The piece was performed at the Library of Congress in 2003, was heard on NPR on President’s Day in 2011, was featured in the 2013 inauguration and has been a favorite of school choruses and presidential inaugurations.
The Recording Academy recognized Ms. Clurman’s achievements with a Grammy nomination for her ensemble’s participation in Tania Leon’s In Motion CD. Her two latest recordings, Season of Light: Songs of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, New Year and Holiday Harmonies: Songs of Christmas, with soloists Jamie Barton and Maureen McKay, celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. She has recorded for New World, Sono Luminus, EVUSA Recordings, Albany, and Delos
A member of the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, Ms. Clurman is in demand as an educator and mentor across numerous musical fields. Her current and former students work in major opera companies, musical theater productions, and conducting positions worldwide. She served as Director of Choral Activities at The Juilliard School from 1989-2007; as Co-Director for Harvard University’s “Leonard Bernstein: Boston to Broadway” Festival; and as a faculty member and vocal specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts/Columbia University Institute of Classical Music. Ms. Clurman has been a Visiting Artist/Conductor at Cambridge University, Berlin Universitat Potsdam, the Zimriya in Israel, the Janacek Academy in the Czech Republic, Curtis Institute of Music, and the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.
She is a member of ASCAP, ASCAP’s Special Classification Committee, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Her music and arrangements are published by G. Schirmer, Hal Leonard, and Schott and have been performed by the New York Pops, the Boston Pops, and Houston, National, and Toronto Symphonies.