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Trotter takes the reins in July 2020 from founding artistic director Jonathan Miller


CHICAGO, IL—Chicago a cappella has named Dr. John William Trotter to be the ensemble’s second Artistic Director, beginning in July 2020.  Trotter has served as Chicago a cappella’s Principal Music Director since 2015, having made his first appearance as a guest music director with the ensemble in April 2013.  Since then, he has prepared 11 programs for Chicago a cappella, including Jewish Roots of Broadway, A Cappella en Español, Shakespeare a cappella, and Chicago, Chicago with Geoffrey Baer.  Trotter currently serves as Associate Professor of Music at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in Wheaton, IL, and he was formerly Associate Conductor of the Vancouver Chamber Choir. 


During the 2019-20 season, Dr. Trotter is on sabbatical from Wheaton College. He will be a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge (UK); serve as a visiting teacher at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden; work with ensembles and train conductors in Nairobi, Kenya; and observe leading conductors and ensembles in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and France.  When he returns in 2020, he will lead two concert programs for Chicago a cappella each season, as well as manage artistic operations and take responsibility for overall artistic programming.


Founding Artistic Director Jonathan Miller announced in 2017 his intention to step down, after 25 successful years of artistic leadership.  During his final season in 2019-20, Miller will preside over a concert series with the adventurous repertoire that has been a hallmark of Chicago a cappella from the beginning.  He will become Artistic Director Emeritus following the 2019-20 season, and he will return to program occasional concerts and make special artistic contributions in future years.  The organization will celebrate his achievements at Chicago a cappella’s gala event on May 16, 2020. 


“We could not be more thrilled to have John Trotter coming aboard to lead Chicago a cappella to its next stage,” says Executive Director Matt Greenberg.  “We know from working with John for the last six years what a talented musician he is.  He brings a deep understanding of our ensemble and a true affinity for our breadth of repertoire, along with abundant creativity and passion.  His leadership will be a tremendous gift to our ensemble and our audiences.” 


Founding Artistic Director Jonathan Miller adds, “It’s a wonderful thing for me to be able to hand over the artistic direction of Chicago a cappella to John Trotter a year from now.  John is an intense and brilliant musician who never forgets that the singers’ first responsibility is to communicate emotion. He has the rare gift of being able to bring out the very best in the extraordinary singers who make up Chicago a cappella, not only as individuals but as a finely tuned and unified group. I sang under his direction in our Chicago, Chicago program and had this privilege first-hand. I am excited about John’s leadership and look forward to his many contributions as he guides Chicago a cappella’s artistic team into the future.”


Chicago a cappella is one of the area’s most accomplished and innovative vocal ensembles. Spanning a repertoire from Gregorian chant to the Beatles and beyond, the group launches its 27th season in October 2019.   Chicago a cappella presents an annual Chicago-area subscription series, creates studio recordings and broadcast-media musical content, produces educational outreach programming, and gives performances on tour and in special engagements. Long recognized for vocal virtuosity and innovative programming, the ensemble enjoys a reputation as a leader in the choral field.  With more than 350 performances to its credit, Chicago a cappella has produced more than 200 concerts on its Chicago-based series. On tour, the group has appeared in 13 American states and in Mexico.  The ensemble has been heard frequently on WFMT radio and through broadcasts distributed by American Public Media, including the nationally-syndicated Performance Today. The ensemble has produced nine CD recordings of music ranging from Renaissance masses to contemporary works.  Performing with an ensemble of 10 singers and no conductor, Chicago a cappella has been hailed as “the area’s best unaccompanied group” (Chicago Magazine) and “the city’s liveliest, most versatile vocal ensemble” (Chicago Tribune).



John William Trotter PHOTO

John William Trotter BIO

Chicago a cappella is supported by The MacArthur Funds for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Illinois Arts Council Agency; a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events; and the Oak Park Area Arts Council, in partnership with the Village of Oak Park and the National Endowment for the Arts.







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