Choral Department


Alfred Calabrese

Alfed Calabrese

Director of Music Ministries and Choirs at Saint Rita Catholic Church in Dallas, TX

Alfred Calabrese enjoys an active and diverse career as a conductor of choruses of all levels and experiences, as conductor of professional opera and symphonic ensembles, and as a full-time church musician. He has served as director of choral activities at Southern Methodist University, Emory University, and Brevard College. His choirs consistently receive the highest praise, and have been selected on three different occasions to perform at conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, each time in their first year of eligibility. In 2006 the Meadows Chorale of SMU was selected to perform at both the national convention of NCCO and at TMEA.

Dr. Calabrese has conducted in Europe and the across the eastern United States, including performances in major venues in France, Poland, the Czech Republic, and in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and in Boston's Symphony Hall. He has led performances of many of the major works for chorus and orchestra, including Bach's B-Minor Mass and St. John Passion; Mendelssohn's Elijah, Handel's Messiah; Requiems of Mozart, Fauré, and Duruflé and Schütz; Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem; and works of Britten, Poulenc, Vivaldi, and Schubert, among others. Calabrese has collaborated with many of the leading conductors of our time including John Nelson, Sir David Willcocks, Yoel Levi, David Stahl, Bryan Balkwill, and Robert Shaw, who stated that Calabrese was "one of the finest conductors of his generation." For Mr. Shaw he prepared the Atlanta Symphony Chorus and the Emory choirs in works ranging from Bach to Mahler. Calabrese has also served on the staff of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, conducting the Symphony Chorus and leading the orchestra in its children's concerts. In 1992 he formed The Britten Choir, a professional chamber choir that achieved critical acclaim throughout the southeastern U.S. through performance and recording. Of this choir the great American composer Ned Rorem said, "Your sound is supple, intelligent, loving, and caring. I couldn't be happier." Fanfare magazine stated that The Britten Choir "compares favorably with The Finzi Choir and The Sixteen." In 2005 Calabrese made his professional opera conducting debut, leading the Atlantic Coast Opera in Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci.

Dr. Calabrese is an active clinician, adjudicator, and author. He has conducted All-State and honor choirs in New Hamphshire, North Carolina, and Texas, judged the Graduate Conducting Competition at the 2005 ACDA National Convention, and has participated in numerous festivals and clinics throughout the country. His dissertation on the early works of Benjamin Britten is in the permanent collection of the Britten-Pears Library in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

Presently, Alfred Calabrese is Director of Music Ministries and Choirs at Saint Rita Catholic Church in Dallas, TX, where he oversees one of the most active Catholic church music programs in the country. At Saint Rita, he conducts the Saint Rita Choir, Schola Cantorum, Jubilate Deo, (children's choir) and is director of liturgy. He earned both the master of music and doctor of music degrees from Indiana University, Bloomington, where he studied conducting with Robert Porco and Jan Harrington. He is married to the former Cynthia Miller, who is director of development at the Dallas Theater Center. They have two children, Adam (16) and Caroline (14).