NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble

Dominick DiOrio

Assistant Professor of Music and Conductor, NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble

Meet the Full Choral Faculty

notus - IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble

Meeting Times: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 2:30-3:50 p.m.

Conductor: Dominick DiOrio
Associate Conductor: Michaella Calzaretta (DM) 
Assistant Conductor:
Charles Snell (DM)

Auditions: Required

NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble is comprised of 26 of the finest singers from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Conducted by Dominick DiOrio since 2012, NOTUS has performed at both regional and national conferences of ACDA and as an invited ensemble on the Distinguished Concerts International New York Artist Series at Carnegie Hall.

Noted for adventurous and innovative programming, the ensemble is dedicated to performing works of living composers, including recent commissions and premieres by Claude Baker, John Gibson, P.Q. Phan, Sven-David Sandström, Aaron Travers, and Zachary Wadsworth. In 2013, NOTUS was honored to host both guest conductor and former King's Singer Simon Carrington and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw. 

Specializing in a varied and ever-changing repertoire of contemporary vocal music, NOTUS has performed an eclectic combination of works by composers such as Dominick Argento, John Cage, Chen Yi, Melissa Dunphy, Eriks Esenvalds, Don Freund, Sofia Gubaidulina, Sydney Guillaume, Ted Hearne, Moses Hogan, Texu Kim, James MacMillan, Paul Mealor, Nico Muhly, Per Nørgård, Tawnie Olson, Veljo Tormis, Robert Vuichard, and Zachary Wadsworth. 

NOTUS has a special dedication to performing works of IU student composers, annually sponsoring a contest for new student choral works. Many of these works have gone on to receive national recognition, including works by Corey Rubin, Matthew Recio, and others. NOTUS member and IU student composer Alex Berko was named the winner of the ACDA Raymond W. Brock Memorial Student Composition Prize in 2016 for his work Forgiven Tears, which NOTUS had the honor of premiering at the ACDA Central Division Conference in Chicago that same year.

Highlights of the 2015-2016 academic year include:

  • Travel and performance at the ACDA Central Division Conference in Chicago, Illinois in February, as an invited performing choir
  • World premiere compositions by IU faculty members John Gibson and Sven-David Sandström.  
  • Collaboration with the Latin American Music Center for Alberto Ginastera's 100th Birthday Celebration, where NOTUS will sing his Lamentaciones de Jeremias Propheta.
  • Performance of Arvo Pärt's watershed work for chorus, string ensemble, prepared piano, and tape - Te Deum. 
  • Premieres and readings of student works, including prize-winning composers Alex BerkoChristopher LaRosa, and Matthew Recio
  • Performance of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony and Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony with the Oratorio Chorus.
  • Solo opportunities for experienced singers on every voice part, typically drawn from the membership of NOTUS.

NOTUS is run as a professional chorus and its members are expected to consistently demonstrate the highest levels of musicianship and vocal ability. That being said, the student membership in NOTUS is academically diverse, with representative majors across the Jacobs School including composition, conducting, piano, organ, harpsichord, early music, music education, guitar, and other disciplines in addition to voice. Excellent sight-singing skills are required, as the thorny nature of pitching in contemporary music makes quick reading ability essential. Singers are expected to come to rehearsal prepared on their parts. Those singers with perfect pitch are especially desirable.

Founded in 1980, the Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble has had only three previous directors: Alan Harler (1980-1981), Jan Harrington (1981-1992), and Carmen-Helena Téllez (1992-2012). Inspired by Notos, the Greek god of the south wind known as the "storm-bringer" and responsible for the winds of change from Summer to Autumn,Dominick DiOrio rebranded the group as NOTUS in 2013.