Student lands summer internship in London with renowned conductor
For many people, the phrase “music in England” brings to mind images of the Beatles, One Direction, or Elton John. When Tucker Moore ’15 hears the phrase, however, he thinks of one thing: opportunity.
This summer Moore will travel to the United Kingdom for a once-in-a-lifetime internship with Simon Halsey, conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, the London Symphony Chorus, and the Rundfunkchor Berlin (Berlin Radio Choir, which works closely with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra). Halsey is also a professor at the University of Birmingham.
“I’ve always looked up to the British choral tradition,” Moore says. “There is a wealth of choral literature and scholarship from the United Kingdom. I’m excited to experience it for myself.”
The opportunity stems from conversations with St. Olaf Choir Conductor Anton Armstrong ’78, VocalEssence Artistic Director and Founder Philip Brunelle, and composer and conductor Dale Warland ’54. Moore will also receive funding from the St. Olaf Piper Center for Vocation and Career to help finance the experience.
Over the course of the summer, Moore will observe all of Halsey’s rehearsals and will work one-on-one with the conductor to create meaningful interpretations of the great works that Halsey and his choirs will tackle. Moore may also have opportunities to work with singers in smaller groups and plans to meet with some notable composers and conductors based in Britain.
Moore will also work with Halsey to prepare the Birmingham Symphony Chorus for the City of London Festival, at which they will perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (a complicated piece that musical Oles will remember from the cross-ensemble rendition recently performed on campus and broadcast live on Minnesota Public Radio). Halsey will also be working with the BBC Proms Youth Choir, an opportunity Moore is especially excited about as an avid fan of classical music and the Proms themselves.
“[Halsey] asked me to prepare a write-up for each piece, and has asked me to consider how I myself would go about instructing a choir should I be in his position,” Moore says. “I look forward to a lot of back and forth with him and the potential to learn more about how a conductor prepares for group rehearsal.”
Last August Moore sat down with Armstrong and asked him for advice.
“I said I wanted to be as productive as I could be with my summer and wanted to grow musically as much as possible,” Moore says.
Armstrong pointed Moore to several well-connected professionals, including Brunelle and Warland, who sent messages to their colleagues on his behalf. Moore heard back from a few conductors, but once Halsey’s name appeared in his email inbox, Moore says, “my jaw just dropped.”
After conversations with Warland, Moore decided to take the leap. Warland, in turn, offered Moore this tidbit of advice: “There are a lot of other people making beautiful music around the world. Go watch them work.”
Moore has already developed a substantial musical career at St.Olaf. He plays piano and organ and was the president of Viking Chorus during his first year. Now he is a member of the Early Music Singers and the St. Olaf Choir. His summer internship with Halsey will begin following the St. Olaf Choir’s current three-week tour of Norway.
“This opportunity, to make music with people just as passionate as I am, is unbelievably surreal,” Moore says.