William Dehning was Chairman of the Choral Music Department in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California from 1992-2007. Under Dehning’s direction, the USC Thornton Chamber Choir, won three prizes at the 1999 Gyorgi Dmitrov Choral Competition in Varna, Bulgaria, including Best Conductor and the Grand Prize. They won four prizes at the 2001 Florilege Vocal in Tours, France, including a prize for Best Renaissance Performance and the Grand Prize. In 1994 they were among five choruses worldwide selected to perform at the biennial World Choral Festival in Seoul, Korea. They also performed at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Western Division Conventions in 1996, 2000 and 2004, as well as at National Conventions in 1997, 2001 and 2005, receiving multiple standing ovations. In 1997 the ensemble toured Poland under the auspices of the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, and toured East Asia in 2006, with concerts in Tokyo, Taipei and Seoul. The ensemble frequently appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestras, conducted by Helmuth Rilling and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Dehning received the first annual Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003, and in 2007 received the Thornton School’s highest honor, the Ramo Music Faculty Award, “in recognition of his outstanding contribution to music and education, to the Thornton School of Music and the University of Southern California, and to humanity.” As guest conductor in Europe and Asia, Dehning has had engagements with the Karlovy Vary Symphony in the Czech Republic, as well as the professional Bucheon City Chorus and National Chorus of Korea, where he has also given week-long conducting masterclasses. He was also a guest conductor for the Pilgrim Chorus of Korea, and the Formosa Singers in Taipei, Taiwan. For ten years, he was the founder-conductor of the California Choral Company, a chamber chorus of professional calibre that acquired a reputation as an excellent and innovative ensemble in Europe as well as the United States. Prior to his appointment at USC, he was Director of Choirs at the University of the Pacific for twenty years, where he was recipient of the university's Distinguished Professor Award and its Commencement speaker in 1991. He earned his doctorate from USC with highest honors in 1971, has done post-doctoral studies in England and Germany, and has lectured at Munich’s Hochschule für Musik.
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A Matter of Choice: Interpreting Choral Music
n a style somewhere between witty and profound, William Dehning walks us through his own interpretive choices of some of the world's greatest choral works, including the "how" and "why" he made those choices. His insights are invaluable to any choral director as they strive to bring music to life with authenticity, accuracy and artistry.
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